Dr Mal Washer MP at the House of Representatives
The following is an excerpt from a speech by Dr Mal Washer MP at the House of Representatives on October 26th, 2010
Now I want to tell you about a Taliban fighter who used to work for me for a little while. You should go have a look at some of his work. He sculpted a big eagle for me—a giant eagle for Aquila—because I was a megalomaniac and owned wineries before I learnt how much money you lose! He did a beautiful job. He also carved Joseph in jarrah for the Catholic cathedral. His name is Mehdi Mohammadi. He has gone back to Kabul in Afghanistan for a short time. They tend to grab his brother every time he goes there and take a lot of money from him, because it is all corrupt. But that is life.
How he started as a sculptor and a painter—as are other members of his family—is that his uncle and his cousin made a beautiful sculpture of a human being. The Taliban caught them and had a problem with that so they killed his uncle and his cousin. He was conscripted—and conscription there is not waiting for your marble or ball to be picked; it is being told, ‘We’re going to shoot you if you don’t cooperate’. He was probably lucky because he was wounded within a year or so of that and they left him in a cave to die. He was one of the guys who got out of Afghanistan as a boatperson, an asylum seeker, came to this country and survived— with a bit of scarring. He is now an Australian citizen and you can look at his works, as I said. He has changed his name to Medhi Rasulle.
He has told me of the lunacy of what we are doing there. He is about as religious as I am. He is an incredible guy—he had no English when he came to this country but in a short time he could speak fluent English. He is an absolute genius when it comes to sculpting. However, Afghanistan is a land of tribes—it is not a country where people are identified as Afghans although they might call themselves that. It is a land of tribes ruled by tribal warlords, some of them drug dealers and some of them Taliban or whatever you want to call them. We chase them to Pakistan and they come back.
We all know this war is lost, except for the people who have never been there. G knows it is lost. Mehdi knows it is lost. What we need is to get some government that is not a democratic government but that is representative of the tribes, the warlords and all the others there so there will be some stability when we leave. When should we leave? If we cannot do that in six months I think we are wasting our time. Forget the 4th Brigade—they have enough warlords and armies to take on whatever they want, but they just do not have the will to fight. If they do not want to fight for us then let us get our people home.