Meanwhile . . .

7 01 2009

This is the kind of story they didn’t want you to hear about during the Howard years:

One is a successful artist who works in robotics and the other is a former kung fu champion on the verge of a promising film career.

But just a few short years ago, Adam Janali and Hussain Sadiqi were refugees locked in immigration detention centres as part of the former Howard government’s tough line on boat people and people smuggling.

Compelled to speak out after reports about the latest wave of asylum seekers which Mr Janali claims “inflame hatred through creating an image of wealthy queue jumpers”, the Afghan men said refugees went on to become hard-working and contributing citizens.

Mr Janali, 31, of North Perth, spent three years in detention after using a network of people smugglers to get out of Afghanistan because of Taliban persecution.

In 2001, the Taliban shot his brother (who had lost a leg in a landmine blast) because he was “of no use to anyone”, so Mr Janali’s parents paid people smugglers to send him “anywhere”. He has not heard from his parents since.

He came to Australia via Iran and Indonesia and said he taught himself to draw and paint while detained in a bid to “keep sane”. He held his first exhibition in 2006, two years after his release. Before coming to Australia he had no English and a solely religious and philosophical education, but now worked both as an artist and a robotics expert in the mining industry.

Now married to a local woman, Mr Janali said he felt Australia was his country too and was concerned about the “exaggerations” surrounding the experiences of the latest wave of refugees, who would also become contributing citizens if given the chance. (The West Australian)

I know Mr Janali, and his wife is a friend who emailed me this story. And I congratulate him and his friend Mr Sadiqi on being able to share their stories.

UPDATE (OF SORTS): Here is an interview with Adam Janali from 2006.

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Over at OzAtheist, yet another apologist is telling me how in the absence of God-belief I have no basis for morality

13 11 2008

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, two men soaked in God-belief sprayed acid on two schoolgirls.

[UPDATE

And in Somalia, 50 men soaked in God-belief buried a 13-year-old girl up to her neck and threw rocks at her head until she was dead. This occurred in a stadium in front of about 1000 god-soaked spectators. Her crime? She had been gang-raped by three men while traveling on foot to see her grandmother, and attempted to report the incident to the local authorities . . . the local authorities being the Islamist al-Shabab militia. They promptly accused her of adultery, and she was sentenced to death in a Sharia court.]

Link to the OzAtheist post, if you’re interested.





A closer look at Howard’s 2001 election meal ticket

6 02 2008

I’ve added a new entry to my blogroll: HaZaRa NaTiOn, authored by a Hazara living in Australia.

The Hazaras are the third-largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, and for centuries have been the targets of violence, persecution and discrimination at the hands of their neighbours, in no small part because of their Shia affiliation (but also because of their physical and linguistic differences). The Taliban governor of Mazar-i-Sharif declared in 1997:

Hazaras are not Muslim, they are Shi’a. They are kofr [infidels]. The Hazaras killed our force here, and now we have to kill Hazaras. [. . .] If you do not show your loyalty, we will burn your houses, and we will kill you. You either accept to be Muslims or leave Afghanistan. [. . .] wherever you go we will catch you. If you go up, we will pull you down by your feet; if you hide below, we will pull you up by your hair. Read the rest of this entry »