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Tears for Tarshiha - Melbourne Book Launch

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Wheeler Centre

176 Little Lonsdale Street

Melbourne, VIC 3000

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Dr Olfat Mahmoud is a Palestinian refugee. Born in a refugee camp in Lebanon, she is a descendant of the Christian and Muslim people who were forced from their homeland at gunpoint by the Israeli military in the 1948’s Nakba, ‘Catastrophe’, and who fled Palestine in the period leading up to – and after – the subsequent founding of the state of Israel in 1948.

In 1949, David Ben-Gurion, one of the founders of the State of Israel and the first prime minister, stated that ‘we must do everything to ensure [the Palestinians] never do return... the old will die and the young will forget’.

Olfat’s life mission is to fulfil the dream of her parents and grandparents to return to their hometown, Tarshiha in Palestine. Her determination to help her people in their fight to return to their homeland, has led to a nursing career that has placed her at the front line of atrocious massacres and wars in the Middle East.

Tears for Tarshiha follows Olfat’s career – as a registered nurse, the director of an international NGO, an internationally recognised peace activist, and most recently, the recipient of a doctorate – amid the death and destruction of Lebanon’s many conflicts; and chronicles the Palestinian people’s remarkable capacity for love and bravery in the most extreme conditions. Olfat’s extraordinary story is emblematic of the Palestinian plight, illustrating their continued survival and determination that has become an inconvenience to the international community.

Despite Olfat’s parents and grandparents never seeing Tarshiha again, this book is part of Olfat’s ongoing campaign to keep her people’s predicament in the public consciousness. This is their story, and the story of all Palestinians and their descendants who were forced from their homeland.

Dani Cooper has worked as a senior journalist on national newspapers in the UK, Ireland and Australia, including as Foreign News Editor at The Australian. For the past decade she has worked as a freelance science journalist, editor and writer. She has previously written Livelihoods and Liberation Struggles – the history of the ACTU’s aid agency, APHEDA-Union Aid Abroad.

Dr Helen McCue AM first worked closely with Palestinian refugees when working as a nurse consultant with the United Nations World Health Organisation in the Middle East. McCue initiated and co-founded the international aid arm of the ACTU, APHEDA-Union Aid Abroad, and Rural Australians for Refugees (RAR), and has worked extensively with both organisations. McCue completed her PhD in 2000 and since then her major research focus is Muslim women in Australia. She has published a number of academic papers and chapters, and co-authored Family Law and Australian Muslim Women with Professor Abdullah Saeed AM.

Join international policymaker and former politician, the inimitable Gareth Evans AC QC, and the creators of the book, Dr Olfat Mahmoud, Dani Cooper and Dr Helen McCue AM, to launch this extraordinary memoir.

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176 Little Lonsdale Street

Melbourne, VIC 3000

Australia

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