Whenever you meet new people in Lebanon whether at work or at college or when out with friends, there’s always this one person who wants to know your family name, where you’re from to try figure out your religious and political background. We do live in a judgmental society, that’s no surprise, and there’s not much one can do except ignore people who want to know your socio-religious background and your family tree even before knowing your first name.

Sara Khazem went the extra mile and decided to send a message by dropping her last name and replacing it with Balawalashi (inspired by Ziad Rahbani’s song). Sara wanted to prove that she’s no different than the deprived kids she’s been working with for years, kids that have no family names or even families to begin with, and that one can build his own identity no matter where you’re from or which religion/social class you belong to.

I love what she did. Check out her interview on Al Jadeed.

That’s the Ziad Rahbani song in case you didn’t know it: