ANNOUNCEMENT: AFP bids farewell to Moammar Mashni 25Nov12 November 25, 2012

It is with sadness that Australians for Palestine announces the departure of one of its founding members, Moammar Mashni.  His last day was on Friday 23 November 2012.   At the same time, we are happy for him and his family for the next chapter in their lives. 

It was always a big ask to turn passion for Palestine into a full-time job, but Moammar did just that after he was encouraged by his older brother, Nasser.  He gave it his all during the six years he was with us.

When the Mashni and the Karkar family decided in 2006 during Israel’s war on Lebanon to provide a voice for Palestine, little did we know then that this small group would attract so many supporters under the name Australians for Palestine.  However, it needed more than just ad hoc work from volunteers in a membership organisation: it needed a professional advocacy unit working full-time and Moammar was on that team from the beginning.  He dedicated many hours, as well as his professionalism, to help make it run like clock-work.  That kind of dedication will not be easy to replace.

During his time with us, Moammar developed strong connections with people and organisations in many different spheres, but most particularly with the politicians in Canberra and the media generally.  His imposing figure would have been enough to make him remembered, but his disarming personality also made him many friends, even those with opposing views on Palestine. 

Moammar and the public advocates we employed – in those early days Michael Shaik, and later Samah Sabawi – became very well known for their advocacy to politicians in Canberra and it was Moammar who worked very hard to get the appointments with very busy members of parliament and senators, twice sometimes three times a year.

Our decision to fund dinners at Parliament House with the Australian Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA) is something that Moammar took up with gusto and he worked very closely and successfully with the Australian Parliamentary Friends of Palestine to provide that social space where issues on Palestine could be openly discussed and where the speakers we brought out could be heard.

We have to also thank Moammar for making the media more accessible to us.  As everyone knows, too many doors have been closed to Palestine over the years and Moammar never let up on banging at that door until it opened, even if it was just a crack.  Thanks to Moammar, we intend to carry on and keep widening that crack even further.

Moammar managed to steer his own path in this difficult and oftentimes volatile terrain and Australians for Palestine certainly benefited from his meticulous organising skills, his great eye for detail and his willingness to engage in dialogue with many disparate groups for the benefit of bringing a greater awareness of Palestine to the wider Australian community.

We are very grateful to him for all his efforts and achievements and for helping to make Australians for Palestine a highly respected advocacy group not only here in Australia, but also around the world.

Much as we regret Moammar’s departure, we just want our supporters to know that Australians for Palestine will continue its work.  Its core founding executive remains as strong and committed as ever and we now have some young, vibrant and professional people willing to assist in our new ventures.  With a changing political landscape, Australians for Palestine is determined to provide a voice for Palestine as it always has, no matter what direction we decide to take.

We send all our very best wishes and thanks to Moammar and his family and will always welcome him whenever he has time to volunteer his skills.  We know his passion for Palestine remains undiminished.

Sonja Karkar
Co-founder and co-convener
on behalf of the
AFP steering committee.

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