With the help of Syrian refugees such as composer Moutaz Arian and artist Yara Said, the first-ever Refugee Olympic team is more of its own nation than ever in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They now have their own flag and their own anthem, having replaced the default Olympic flag and Olympic theme originally assigned. The generic has given way to the personal, thanks to a group of creatives who banded together months ago when news of the refugee team made the media rounds.
Artur Lipori and Caro Rebello, two of the several individuals behind the project, wanted to help and empower the unique Olympic crew by honoring them with a national-like presence. They said the following in a statement.
LIPORI & REBELLO: “We felt that we needed to do something to give them an identity, a flag and an anthem they could call their own—national symbols that could really represent these brave people.”
The creative group pursued the right people to ensure their project would have the powerful effect they were aiming for. In Arian, they found exactly the anthemic spirit they needed.
ARIAN: “I want to make music not just for Kurds and Arabs. I want to make music for the whole world.”
For the flag, Said was inspired by the plight of refugees, made more notable by the media’s recurring portrayal of fleeing by boat. Their flag waves orange with a black strip to represent a life jacket. The unimaginable journey becomes a symbol of the refugees’ resilience.
LIPORI & REBELLO: “We’ve seen lots of people in the games carrying our flag, and that’s for us the most important thing. We created a way to help people to cheer for these athletes, and that’s exactly what’s happening. We are still working to get out flag during the refugee athletes competitions and in the final ceremony. We hope we can be there.”