As published in The Naracoorte Herald.
Written by Amy Maynard.
Seven years before he arrived in Australia, Sam Gulzari was imprisoned by the Taliban.
“They broke my legs,” he says quietly, with his friend, Brian O’Leary, nearby.
“Sam was horrifically tortured by the Taliban because he’s a singer,” explains Brian. “Under the Taliban – no singing, no music.”
After his release from prison, where he was kept in cramped conditions for six months and tortured daily, Sam managed to escape to Australia.
He has begun a new life in Naracoorte, and expresses nothing but love and gratitude for his adopted home.
“I love this country, I love this culture. I am so happy that I came to this country,” Sam said, smiling widely.
“Two years ago, I was thinking about a song for this country. This country is beautiful, and everyone is safe in this country.
“Everyone is helping each other. As a thank you to this country, I was thinking, I will write one good song for Australia Day.”
The video clip for Sam’s song, Long Live Australia (Zinda Bad Australia) was filmed last month in Adelaide, Naracoorte, and other places in the South East, such as the Blue Lake.
In the film clip Sam sings about life in Australia, accompanied by Sutara Arian, a celebrity from Afghanistan who also emigrated here.
“She was a big artist in Afghanistan. Working in the movies,” Sam said.
“She (Sutara Arian) is lovely, she is my best friend. I call her, I say that I am working on a song for Australia Day, would you like to work with me?”
Sutara, a fan of Sam’s work, agreed. Accompanied by her mother and father, she spent four nights in South Australia helping Sam with his artistic vision before heading back to Melbourne.
Sutara has a big following on Facebook and social media, with more than 200,000 followers.
Sam is hoping that his song, and Sutara’s involvement, will get covered by the SBS and ABC.
“I’d like to show the Australian people that when I came in here, they helped me. Thank you so much for helping me, I love it here.”
Sam gives back to the community through volunteer work at St Vincent De Paul, and with the Afghan community, organised a Remembrance Day wreath to be laid at the memorial last year.
The video clip is still in its editing stages, with additional shoots happening this week in Adelaide. It was produced by Silk Media, with music by Ali Sarshar.
Sam is working towards gaining Australian citizenship, and is looking forward to releasing the final version of his song by Australia Day.