Iranian composer Mehdi Rajabian is using his musical skills to promote peace in the Middle East and he’s not doing it alone.
The young composer joined forces with 12 other musicians from neighbouring countries to create a collaborative music album that sends a unified message of peace.
The album “Middle East” features artists from war-torn countries such as Yemen, Palestine, and Syria.
Musicians from Turkey, Oman, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Bahrain, and Tajikistan also participated in the project.
One of the album’s songs was composed by an asylum seeker while he was on his way to Europe.
Rajabian believes one of the human rights violations in the Middle East is the "physical war between countries" because "the destruction of the war has become normal for the people of the region”.
"As a composer, I felt that its time to protest against the human rights violations in the Middle East with music. In my opinion, the Middle East people are tired of human rights violations, and the only way I could bring together all voices of all the Middle Eastern countries in a single common shouting was music," he told Euronews.
Revolutionary Guards arrested Rajabian along with his brother and a friend in 2013 for distributing music deemed offensive to Iranian authorities and the country's religion.
The 28-year-old artist experienced solitary confinement and a hunger strike while in jail.
"A person shall never experience two things during his lifetime: jail and hunger strike. Being in prison is killing the spirit and the hunger strike kills the body! Unfortunately, I experienced both several times. Of course, with all the prohibitions we have, history requires a good work of art from us."