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Author aims to rewrite attitudes

David SalvaireSound Telegraph
Janna and Grant Lock will be delivering talks in Rockingham next week.
Camera IconJanna and Grant Lock will be delivering talks in Rockingham next week. Credit: Sam Roberts

It was a cruel twist of irony when the director of the Middle East’s largest eye care program was told he was going blind.

But that is only part of the story of South Australian author Grant Lock and his wife Janna.

The pair will arrive in Rockingham next week to deliver a series of talks about their journey from successful cattle breeders to development workers in the Islamic Republics of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Driven by a passion for helping those less fortunate and an urge to understand Islamic culture, the 24-year trip has been documented in Lock’s novels.

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The name of his debut release, Shoot Me First, was taken from a tense stand-off near the Afghan border.

“We were building a girl’s school there and a bunch of guys with beards and guns told us if we didn’t stop our workmen, they’d shoot them,” Lock said.

“I told them the school was for their daughters and granddaughters because we’d heard so many stories of women who just wanted an education.

“I said ‘if you’re going to shoot them, you’ll have to shoot me first’.”

According to Lock, you have to read the book to find out if they were a good shot or not.

His second novel, I’d Rather Be Blind, tackles issues a little closer to home following his bleak diagnosis of early onset macular degeneration.

Lock said his vision loss showed him the blind spots in Australian society when he and his wife returned home.

With myopic attitudes to Islam, mental health and disadvantage, Lock said he was hoping to educate and inspire people to change their attitude towards others.

“We want to help people get a handle of Islam and how to relate to our Aussie Mus-lims because often they’re marginalised by all the bad news reports,” he said.

“It’s about challenging people to be aware of the needs in foreign places and what it’s like to be a cross-cultural worker and contribute to the lives of others.”

The Locks will be in Rockingham from March 14-26.

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