When we talk about Arabs, it is no longer acceptable to highlight and focus on the image that serves international agendas at the expense of the rich culture and promising potential abundant among Arab people. When we talk about Arabs, it is no longer just to categorize them under irrational political discourses at the expense of an honorable history bursting with art, wisdom, science, and ethics. When we talk about Arabs, it is no longer permitted to see them through the eyes of outsiders at the expense of their diversity and undisputable worth. When we talk about Arabs, no one is entitled to veil the influential presence of people like Yacoub Shaheen who are the true image of Arabs that must propagate and remain in the forefront.

Yacoub Shaheen, an Assyrian young man from Palestine, gained the admiration of Arab societies across the world and proved that art and talent eliminate all boundaries among a people sharing a lengthy path of resistance, accomplishments, and nostalgia. This gain paved his way to win the title of Arab Idol for 2017. As much as he deserves this title, Shaheen represents a triumph for all Arabs who seek every opportunity to portray the refined image of their true culture and potential.

The rising popularity he built throughout the program is a clear proof of the solidarity always rampant among Palestinians and Arabs from all backgrounds, because their core fabric is love and intellectualism and this fabric will always prevail. For instance, Yacoub Shaheen maintained a staggering humbleness in the face of this sudden fame and international support from his peer Arabs. He wholeheartedly shared his success with the other two finalists and with each and every one who believed in him as a breath of life and hope amid dominating sorrows and struggles. Because the path he is treading on is that of every Arab, the team of participants voiced a musical call in their final performance titled ‘Cursed is War’ addressed to the whole world.

A call sang by people as worthy of a decent life as every other nation, yet they are shattered with wars and denied the very dream of a brighter future. A Palestinian winning the Arab Idol title might be a trivial highlight in the chaos all around, yet the title is not the core of the matter, it is rather the support he received from people burdened with wars and worthy of every speck of hope they seek. The Arab world is a colorful thread weaved into an invincible legacy of timeless cultures, traditions, and visions, a legacy where one person’s smiles and tears are shared and felt by everyone and so are accomplishments and frustrations.

Music, art, ambition, solidarity, determination, tolerance are the headlines Arab people and Arab nations are worthy of. Every nation, people, race, ethnicity, religion are to be respected and cherished as a vital part of an integrated whole, where every missing piece echoes a chaos across the whole thread weaving us together as a humanity. Talking and dreaming of peace must not become a romantic nostalgia, peace is the unconditional right of every human being, and those unable to accept this truth as the one and only priority are unworthy of calling themselves humans. Thank you Yacoub Shaheen for these moments of exhilaration and happiness that lifted burdened hearts and made your parents proud as well as every Arab who has a keen belief that this image you portrayed is the true and only image that represents them.