Worlds Apart is an appropriate title for Sami Zayn’s theme music. It accurately describes the dichotomy between his in-ring persona and who he is as a human being. While Sami Zayn the character has done everything he can to physically harm his bosses, the human being, Rami Sebei, has been doing everything he can to help those in the war-torn nation of Syria.
Chances are you’ve heard Syria mentioned on the news, on Facebook, or trending on Twitter. That’s because since 2011, Syria has been engulfed in a civil war. And while I am certainly no expert on world events, it doesn’t take much research to find that despite happening on the other side of the world, the effects of the civil war can be felt throughout every community in the United States and beyond. For Rami Sebei though, the effects hit closer to home.
In the late 70’s Sebei’s parents left Syria for Canada. Though born in Quebec, Rami Sebei is proud of his Syrian ancestry. In fact, his old wrestling tights had his written in Arabic on them, the official language of Syria. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Sebei said, “I always consider myself Syrian. I just happened to be born in Canada.”
Unable to ignore the humanitarian crisis in Syria, Sebei teamed up with Syrian American Medical Society in an effort to provide primary care to those that have been affected by the civil war. When he first started, Sebei admits that there was some trepidation. “I was apprehensive, to be honest. Even when you just hear the word Syria, it packs a lot of political connotations.” The fear that his humanitarian effort would be politicized helped him narrow his search to SAMS. “They’re a non-religious, non-political, non-profit organization that is simply about medical relief and humanitarian aid.” Together, SAMS and Rami Sebei have partnered to raise $98,087 dollars to provide medical relief for those engulfed in the war torn nation.
Given all of his notable work outside of the ring and WWE’s propensity to work in real-world events into their characters, it seemed possible that Sami could be given a foreign heel gimmick. However, Zayn has helped subvert what it means to be heel on WWE programing. Despite being a petulant, self absorbed, and petty superstar, he works within the realm of his own moral high ground and recedes there whenever he has to face his ultimately repugnant actions. After all, he did spend nearly 3 years on the main roster doing things the right way, while being overlooked and underappreciated.
Right now, the mobile clinic is running 5 days a week to help the men, women, and children of the war ravaged country of Syria. According to Sebei, these clinics perform about 1,200 medical procedures a month to treat chronic and acute illnesses. “In addition to that, there’s also a midwife working with the clinic and there’s also a psychiatrist and they’re training someone to work more in psychosocial care, which to me is really important,” he added.
“The big lesson that I’m taking out of all of this is: If you’ve got a problem with something, just do something about it,” Sebei said about his work with SAMS. But that philosophy is just as relevant to his WWE career. No longer was he satisfied being an observer, watching as others got the opportunities that he deserved. Zayn has done something about, and now enjoys a more prominent role in the WWE.