Behind this smile is a good Australian who loves his country.
I came to Australia in 1968. I was 22 years old. I came from a place called Mech Mech in Lebanon. I came to live in Newport. Most people from Mech Mech came to live in Newport. I arrived with no English. I did not have a car until 1973. Most of us used a taxi driver from Lebanon to get around because he could speak our language. He used to take us to Victoria Market every weekend. We were happy because we had money in our pocket. We had jobs. We came here and we had jobs straight away. We worked here, in Newport. Many of us worked at Bradmill Textiles and after a few years we would go to Dunlop in Port Melbourne. We all went to the same factory so we had someone to talk to. After a few years our English would improve enough for us to move from factories and start our own businesses and that is what we did.
Some things shape racism but in the whole world this is the same. I look at the good Australian and I look at the young boys, our young boys, they are only beautiful people, family people, good people, good for school, good for the neighbor, good for life, they don’t make trouble because they are looking to build their life, with business, with hard work. I am in Australia now for 46 years, this is my country. My mother came here in 1985. She died in 2000; by the time she died she had 55 grandchildren all living in the Western Suburbs. I wish Australians would have more kids to save the country. We need to wake up to building the country. I have more family here than in Lebanon and after all this you tell me I’m not Australian. I’m pure Australian, our future, our life, everything is here.
My people, we came here, we built this country. I’m working hard. Working all our lives, to be good for this country, we don’t know our country, we fight for this country. If someone comes here to fight, we fight for here. I’m a good Australian. I have done nothing wrong for this country. Everyone has the same story. This is my best country in the world. I have to say from my heart. I love this country. Thank you for Australia.
You can see Mohamed's image at Laverton Community Hub, Altona Library and Altona North Library