A RUFFORD schoolgirl, inspired to write a song about the Arab Spring uprisings, saw her message of hope played live to hundreds of thousands on Libyan television.
Merchant Taylors' pupil Sophia Ben-Yousef, who turned 16 last week, wrote the song, Carry On, about the impact of the civil war on her extended family, who live in Libya.
A YouTube video of her performing the song in Liverpool was shown in a cultural show on Libya’s most-watched news channel.
Proud mum Lynn, 50, told how her daughter was deeply affected by the war which saw her nephew rounded up by Gaddafi troops at gunpoint and tortured in prison.
Sophia’s dad Mustafa, 51, is Libyan and his family live in the capital, Tripoli, where much of the fighting between rebels and loyalists happened.
Lynn said: “We had been to Libya a number of times before the Arab uprisings and it was a frightening place to be under Gaddafi.
“Every time you went out in Tripoli, you were being followed. You were always very aware that you were always being followed.
“During the war, our nephew was taken at gunpoint by Gaddafi’s forces from his newsagent. We had no idea where he was and we found out weeks later he had been taken to a prison.
“We were able to get a message to him that we knew he was alive.
“The final night before Gaddafi was overthrown, Nato bombed the walls of the prison in a strategic hit and luckily he managed to escape.
“We found out he had been very badly tortured and that he was due to have been executed the next day.
“Sadly, we have lost both of Mustafa’s parents in the last year due to the stress of the uprising.
“We still have bullet holes in Sophia’s bedroom balcony in Tripoli – that’s how close the battle was to us.”
Songwriter Sophia, who has only been gigging in public since April, wrote the song in her bedroom and played it to her mum on a piano in their home.
Lynn later sent a link to Libya TV – a news channel set up by the rebel forces – who put the song on their website.
But the family was shocked to learn the song was last week broadcast on television.
Sophia said: “The Libyan uprising had a significant effect on my family and I found a way to express myself and the impact it had on me personally through music.
“I was absolutely thrilled to have my music played on Libyan TV and to see they see it as a message of hope.”
Sophia, who was scouted for BBC1 show The Voice last year, said she was excited about recording the song at Knotty Ash community studio.