I Was Me – Imagine Dragons

A song about viewing the refugee crisis as a tragedy instead of a threat, and recognizing the collective responsibility and power in each of us.

When Imagine Dragons was approached to be a part of the One4 Project, the message behind ‘I Was Me’ came to them immediately.

According to Dan Reynolds, lead singer and writer of ‘I Was Me’, ‘the song is about trying to regain your life, which is what millions of people are going through right now.’ The song, which was released in October 2015, was recorded in only one take, and is honest, raw and moving. Imagine Dragons has released a number of songs for charitable causes, including a stunning cover of ‘I Love You All the Time’, which benefited the victims of last year’s Paris attacks.

For the first time in history, global forced displacement has surpassed 60 million. This unprecedented and infinitely complicated refugee crisis has brought out the best and the worst in humanity. Fear has replaced sympathy, and the term refugee has morphed into something ominous. After visiting a refugee camp in Germany, Reynolds was desperate to express the severity of the situation on the ground. He came away with an important message after a heart-breaking encounter with Syrian refugees in the camp: people ‘want to be known by the life they left before this. The life they had worked so hard to achieve could now only be found in photographs they carry with them.’

‘I Was Me’ aims to break this cycle of complacency, re-humanise people affected by crisis and inspire action. It is a reminder that every number, every statistic denotes a person whose life has been thrown into turmoil through no fault of their own. If we took the time to engage with the utter tragedy associated with being a refugee, the levelling of the camps in Calais and the shirking of responsibility for refugees all over Europe may not be happening right now.

People should be met with blankets and food instead of barbed wire and weapons. Europe and other wealthy states are not only turning a blind eye to this; they are actively forcing people to risk their lives by denying them safe passage. As we near almost 5 years of relentless negotiations, meetings and promises, one essential thing has been forgotten: that every day without progress is a day without hope for the millions caught in the crossfire.

The One4 Project has seen the collaboration between Apple, SAP, KIDinaKORNER/Interscope and Imagine Dragons with the objective of delivering much-needed assistance to the world’s most vulnerable people. Proceeds for every iTunes download will be donated to the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR. In addition to this, SAP has pledged to donate $0.10 for every download up to the first 5 million. This project is about viewing the refugee crisis as a tragedy instead of a threat, and recognizing the collective responsibility and power that lies within each and every one of us.

The decision is devastatingly simple: leave or be killed. For people fleeing their homes, the trauma extends far beyond the war itself: it’s about leaving behind everything that you love, everything that is familiar, everything that is you.

 Lyrics

It’s just another day
It’s just another year
“One step at a time”, they say
“One trip, and you’re back that way”
I don’t recognize these eyes
I don’t recognize these hands
Please believe me when I tell you
That this is not who I am

If I recover, will you take me back again?
I’m just another, trying hard to fit right in
But my photographs remind me of who I used to be
If only I could go back when I, I was me

I’ll try hard to make this ride
I’ll try hard to win this fight
“One step at a time”, they say
“One trip, and you’re back that way”
I don’t recognize these eyes
I don’t recognize these hands
Please believe me when I tell you
That this is not who I am

If I recover, will you take me back again?
I’m just another, trying hard to fit right in
But my photographs remind me of who I used to be
If only I could go back when I, I was me

Give me strength to fight
Help me feel alive again
Make me whole inside
Instead, this hole inside is killing me
And I’m begging you

If I recover, will you take me back again?
I’m just another, trying hard to fit right in
But my photographs remind me of who I used to be
If only I could go back when I, I was me

 You can downloadI Was Me on iTunes now to support people affected by the crisis. One person. One act. One download.

I Was Me – Imagine Dragons
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Laura Naude

Laura is originally from South Africa and recently graduated with a master's degree in conflict, security and development from King’s College London. She is particularly passionate about refugee issues, human rights and humanitarian assistance. Previous experience includes Amnesty International and various organisations in the UK and South Africa. Her skills include photography, journalism, advocacy, social media, international relations and research. Laura is currently working for Lighthouse Relief, a refugee organisation in the Idomeni area in Greece. She can be reached at [email protected] or through LinkedIn.
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