Transcript of Ambassador Waissi's Speech at the Sydney Opera House

Ambassador Wahidullah Waissi's speech at the Sydney Opera House||

Transcript of Ambassador Wahidullah Waissi's Speech at the Sydney Opera House
14 October 2019

Her Excellency the Honorable Margaret Beasely,
Air Commodore William Kourelakas, 
Honourable Melanie Gibbon, MP
Ms Julia Finn, MP
Dr Ahmad Sarmast,
Excellencies, Members of Diplomatic and Consular Corps,
Distinguished Participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen:

Asalam-o-Alaikum, Good Evening,

I am delighted to address this incredible gathering on the occasion of Zohra All Female Orchestra`s debut Australian tour in such an iconic place - one of the worlds’ most distinctive art performing hubs.

I extend my thanks to the Government of the NSW and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for supporting this initiative. I wish to express my sincere thanks to the Sydney Conservatorium of Music for making this evening more meaningful by joining and playing together with Zohra Orchestra. 
I appreciate our active Afghan community members for their contribution, dedication and support to this significant gathering.

In celebration of 100 years of Afghanistan's independence and 50 years of diplomatic relations between Australia and Afghanistan, we are honored to present the Afghan National Institute of Music's Zohra all-female orchestra. 

This promises to be an extremely unique musical experience, which simultaneously supports the development of people-to-people and cross-cultural links between Australia and Afghanistan. 
Distinguished Participants,

Beyond our formal bilateral relations, the transnational links and cultural engagement between our two friendly countries can be traced back to more than one and half centuries ago; since the arrival of the first Afghan cameleers, who travelled to Australia, made their homes here, and provided significant contributions to the economic connection and construction of this beautiful continent's outback, particularly in the areas of transportation and telecommunication networks. 

Now, to further contribute to this legacy of connecting the hearts and minds of Aussie - Afghan people, Zohra Orchestra are here with us. 

They will inspire us by sharing their message of hope and by showcasing a new and different face of Afghanistan through music, our powerful and universal language. 

Music has a long and illustrious history in Afghanistan – it is an important part of our civilization which goes beyond thousands of years. From the tea-house music of the north, to the Falak music of the mountainous reaches of Badakhshan, to the Attan of the south and east - music has long been a way of bringing together the many different cultures and languages that Afghanistan is made up of. It draws upon classical and folkloric poetry to tell stories and influences and has been influenced by the surrounding nations. The performance we will hear tonight showcases different ancient traditional instruments, which give sound to this rich and diverse music.

Although this ancient art has suffered and faced challenges in recent decades, there is a surviving legacy which we will witness tonight. From a country where we can find 1500-year-old cave paintings showing female instrumentalists, it is only fitting that the internationally-acclaimed Zohra orchestra is a continuation of this ancient musical tradition. 

These talented young musicians embody the resilience and determination of Afghan youth and women to continue pushing for their rights and carrying their country from ashes and blood towards enlightenment, hope and progress. Their bravery is a role model for a future Afghanistan, where extremism and radicalism will have no place at all. 

My Government pays particular attention to women’s empowerment and youths development both in the public and private sectors. Afghanistan has the largest population of youth in the region and it is necessary to consider their pivotal role in government programs, cultural activities, art, music, and sport, inter Elia, the cricket.

Ladies and gentlemen, friends of Australia, friends of Afghanistan,

Your presence, engagement and support at this concert is very much promising. It is not only worthwhile for our younger generation but for the whole people of Afghanistan as well. Every clap in this concert will be a slap in the ugly face of those who continue to deny fundamental human rights for Afghans, especially for women and girls. 

I would like to conclude by giving two key messages, one to my Afghan fellows and the other for Australian Friends:

پیام فشرده ی من به هموطنان عزیز مقیم آسترالیا اینست، که اراده و شهامت بانوان آرکستر زهره میتواند الگوی خوبی برای همه ما باشد. این دختران هنرمند توانسته اند با بسا مشکلات و ناهنجاری های داخل کشور مقابله کرده و از میان خاک و خون و خاکستر چهره ی مثبت، متفاوت، سازنده و نوید بخش از افغانستان به جهانیان عرضه کنند. اراده قوی و حسن وطن دوستی شان قابل تحسین است. اشتراک امروز شما در حمایت این نو بهاران پیام همدلی و اطمینان برای ایجاد یک جامعه سالم و مرفه برای افغانستان میدهد.

دې مېرمنو لپاره کوم ځانګړی قوم، ژبه، ملیت، او مذهب نه، بلکه د افغانستان نوم او د هغه درې رنګه بیرغ ارزښت درلود او لري یي. ځای لري چې د ټولو هغو وطنوالو ملګرو څخه د زړه له کومې مننه وکړم چې د دې لوی محفل په اطلاع رَسَوَنه، تشویق، ملاتړ او بالاخره خپل ګډون سره د افغانستان د سفارت او نورو تنظیموونکو سره په دې پرتمینه برنامه کې همکاري وکړه، ونډه یې واخیسته او خپل افغاني دَین یي ادا کړ. 

Finally, my brief message to our Aussie friends: 

Despite being geographically separated by far distance, the hearts and minds of the friendly nations of landlocked Afghanistan and sea-locked Australia are brought closer by their shared aspirations towards peace, prosperity, freedom and democracy. In addition to defence and development cooperation, there is huge potential to further strengthen our mutually beneficial relationships in the areas of people to people understandings, education, sport, art, music and culture as well. Zohra orchestra therefore is a role model.

Long live our friendship!

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