US rocker Chris Cornell visited a refugee camp in Athens to hear first hand the stories and the plight of people fleeing war. Cornell and his wife Vicky Karayannis visited the Eleonas camp beginning of the month. The camp hosts mostly Afghan refugees. The Cornell family visited the camp together with the International Rescue Committee for which they donate part of music sales revenues. The couple has a Foundation that protects children around the world.
Cornell, whose Chris & Vicky Cornell Foundation protects vulnerable children around the world, met “refugee families and [heard] firsthand the harrowing stories of their escapes, the separation of children from their parents and the stress and uncertainty of day-to-day life,” an organizer told pagesix.com.
The visit to the refugee camp followed the screening of The Promise , a film about the Armenian genocide, in London. Cornell wrote the music for the film.
The artist will be donating the proceeds from his song to the IRC which is heavily involved in the Refugee crisis in Greece.
Cornell’s involvement in THE PROMISE stemmed from his close friendship with the film’s producer, Eric Esrailian. Having married into a Greek family, Cornell had been exposed for years to stories about similar treatment suffered by the Greeks at the hands of the Turkish-ruled Ottoman Empire.
“If it’s something you or your family members went through, it’s something you’re faced with confronting on a daily basis,” said Cornell. Immersed in these stories and after further research, he was inspired by the strength and perseverance of those who were affected by these tragic events. Cornell aimed to help tell the story of the film, but also to connect it to the kind of brutality we still face today.
“The film and plot are your band mates and the song has to be true to the story and the characters in it,” he added. “’The Promise’ to me is mainly about paying homage to those we lost in the Armenian Genocide, but it’s also about shining a light on more recent atrocities. The same methods used in the Armenian genocide were used to carry out crimes against humanity in Bosnia, Darfur, Rwanda and right now in Syria on multiple fronts, contributing to a massive global refugee crisis. Unfortunately, the words ‘never again’ seem like just words when we recall these mass executions of the twentieth century, as well as renewed racism and prejudice around the world. Even in the US, the warning signs – isolating groups based on race and religion – are evident. We really need to tell these stories and keep telling them in as many different ways as we can. As humans, we have a tremendous capacity to trudge ahead in our lives and not look at the difficult and challenging moments… but I think it’s important. Educating ourselves on the past is the best way to understand the present and avoid future atrocities by understanding and intervening. We must educate and stand as one to combat this fear and violence, and as citizens of the world, work to protect each other’s human rights.”
Cornell and his wife Vicky, started their foundation in 2012 in an effort to raise funds and partner with charitable organizations that support children facing problems such as homelessness, poverty, abuse, and neglect. It’s a subject matter that Cornell holds very near and dear as explained on the foundations website, “Having had personal experience of what it means to be a vulnerable child, Chris is passionate about making a difference to the lives of others.” “I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to make a career doing something I love,” Cornell said. “Not every kid gets those opportunities. I’m in a fortunate position to use music to support important causes that help foster change.”
— Chris Cornell (@chriscornell) March 10, 2017
The 52-year-old musician is married to Vicky Karayiannis, a Paris-based American publicist of Greek heritage. Cornell converted to the Greek Orthodox Church through his wife influence.