Areej Masoud:“Any Hope for Palestine Now, or Ever?”A Speaking Tour Coordinated by (PIEN)



Areej Masoud: “Any Hope for Palestine Now, or Ever?”
A Palestinian Christian Speaking Tour Coordinated by (PIEN) Network

By Marcelle Mansour OAM

Areej Masoud, a Christian Syriac Orthodox Palestinian born in Bethlehem who currently works as the Development & Communications Department Coordinator at Bethlehem Bible College. Areej obtained her qualifications in Theology and Psychology from Bethlehem University and accomplished her dissertation on Zionism and Kairos Palestine Document. Since then, she has become eager to speak on behalf of her people to tell the real story of occupied Palestine. Areej is an activist and a well-articulated passionate speaker who longs to reach out to the world to talk about the reality of the bitter situation of Palestinians that is hidden from the mainstream media.

Areej has recently been on numerous speaking tours affiliated with churches and International peacemaking organizations. She has recently traveled to Australia where her speaking tour was organized by an act of the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network (PIEN). The primary mission of PIEN  is to raise the awareness of people that Australian Christians are seeking lasting peace and justice for the people of Palestine and Israel. It held nationally a full program around the major cities of the Australian interstates such as Perth, Bendigo, Newcastle, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, and in Canberra, the capital city, and others.

In Sydney, I had the opportunity to attend twice Areej’s public lecture titled “Any hope for Palestine now, or ever?” and to hear her insightful talk sharing her stories with Australians.  The lecture was held in Sydney on Wednesday 24th October 2018, at the Tinsley Institute, Morling Colledge, Macquarie Park and followed by dinner.

Pastor Darrell Jackson, the Associate Professor of Missiology, and Senior Lecturer at Morling College at the University of Divinity and Australian College of Theology;  made a concise introduction about the Palestinian issue, said an opening prayer and hosted the event.

Areej Masoud Areej spoke on the subject of the current situation of Palestine accompanied by slides, she made an insightful speech on behalf of her Palestinian people revealing to the world her actual reality of the current political situation; often concealed from mainstream media. A reality of the ongoing tension where access to basic necessities such as health care, education, water, shelter, freedom of movement and economic security is greatly restricted. This dehumanizing plight which facing Palestinian Christians is a major issue. “The conflict is not a conflict of different faiths; it is about the aggression of the Palestinian people suffering the occupation and the loss of their land,” …“According to Christian theologians; The Israeli occupation has a political, cultural and educational impact on Christian Palestinians; Christians suffer the same injustice as all Palestinians leading to a high number of Christians’ migration.” Areej said. Then she spoke about the meaning of Hope, quoting: “Hope is the capacity to see God in the midst of trouble.” Rev. Dr. Yohanna Katanacho – Bethlehem Bible College.

“God did his part, the ball is in the court of humankind that transformed faithful are to engage the word challenge the monopoly of power and live the life of an already liberated people.” Rev.Mitri Raheb, President, Dar al-Kalima (The House of the Word) University College in Bethlehem. Areej asked the audience to spread the word by telling people to come to meet Christian Palestinians, to learn and to share their stories.

Areej’s presentation was followed up with a Question and Answer period where the session went smoother and followed by dinner. Nell Potter, Artist, and Manager at Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network (PIEN) spoke about the painful situation of Palestine which she visited recently. She also gave a brief talk about PIEN’s mission, aims, and goals and made a specific announcement about the available various informational flyers to be handed out to Australian people, and urged the audience to read them and to distribute them to others. For those flyers are designed and intended to raise the general awareness of the Palestinian cause and to get the word out.

On Saturday night 27 October 2018, it was wonderful to see Areej again when she gave her last presentation on her PIEN speaker tour at Balmain Uniting Church where Pastor Stewart Mills hosted the event, and Palestinian food was served.

It is worth mentioning here that all the audience were Australians, and a few Australian Palestinian people; including Dr.  Mahmoud Abu Arab and his family, Suzan Wahhab and her family. The attendees were involved in the discussion showing full support and empathy with the Palestinian people, promising to help them and wishing them peace with justice.

It is fitting to pay tribute here to the wonderful work done by both the members of PIEN network in Australia and the visiting speaker from Palestine, Areej Masoud, as she proved to be a young Palestinian woman who speaks courageously and tactfully. Areej traveled to many parts of the world and Australia and talked about the story of her occupied Palestine. Her conversation was very impressive as she touched so many people’s hearts and minds. Congratulations to the Palestinian struggler young woman Areej, and thanks for her invaluable efforts, which will always be a guiding light in the hearts of Australians.



My LensCulture review Received, NYC, Aug 2018!

In July 2018, I entered the contest of Lens Culture’s Art Photography Awards, Fine Art Series Category, and submitted ten images of my project titled Discover the Power of SuperConsiousness, that involved my ten photographs of my fine art images.

I Received a Submission Review! Everyone who enters with 5+ photos is eligible to get written feedback from an industry professional about their submission!  For a related series of 10 photos reviewed as one entry. Submission should work together as a group, thematically or aesthetically. A group International Jury of photography experts based in NYC selects the best photos from all over the world.

I am delighted that my artworks had the opportunity of the exposure to the academic insightful criticism from trusted and qualified industry professionals.  Really I enjoyed reading the meaningful feedback, and the professional constructive critique of an expert reviewer with many thanks.

I am sharing the review that I received as they promised. Thanks for the great review and valuable suggestions once again.

Here are the photographs of my light art paintings, and the Submission Review!

Hope Out of Patience

Hope Out of Patience

By Marcelle Mansour OAM

Sydney – Australia 17 August 2018


Have you ever seen the beautiful splendor

Of the dignified Palestine Land?

Have you ever wonder why?

Historical Palestine vanishes from the world map?

O dear Palestine, ancient Palestine!

Will never be wiped off the map.

Have you ever experienced the empathy from home expel?

Or hung around your neck

A precious ancient key belongs to your stolen home?


Have you ever felt the bravery,

In those daring charming eyes?

Or sewed the unique cross-stitch

Of the iconic Palestinian embroidered dress?

Or touched the Cactus of Palestinians’ hearts?

Walking on just a ripple of burning hope …

To find a way to live and cope …

Patience becomes the way of life …

The symbol of Palestinians’ strife …

Longing for justice and liberation

Throughout the painful decades of Israeli occupation

Seventy years of the raven Nakba!

Fifty-one years of the dark Naksa!

And twenty-five years of impotent peace talk!

Left Palestinians with nowhere to walk …

Seven harsh decades of the Palestinian cause

Of preserving self-humanity…

And keeping dignity …

In limitless means …

Constantly echoing, ringing, and whispering in the ears …


Palestinians’ Right of Return is a global role

Concerns on the matter of international laws

Should never make the issue closed

Hoping to make the conflict resolved

A two-state solution will definitely work!


For the sake of world’s magnificent love

The hope of peace will rekindle soon from above

Palestine will hug the joyful lyrics of divine Dove.


Launching the Partnership of Al Mustaqbal in Australia with Al Markazia in Lebanon




By Marcelle Mansour OAM

It is with great pride and pleasure that Al Mustaqbal, (Future) Lebanese and Arabic Newspaper in Australia launched the Partnership with Al Markazia Central News Agency in Lebanon, who recently announced the appointment of Al Mustaqbal newspaper as Correspondents for the Australian Continent.  The launch officially took place on Friday the 20 July at Al Mustaqbal’s premises, Bankstown, in the presence of The Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane, MLC, Parramatta Liberal Geoff Lee MP, Joseph Rizk OAM; CEO & Managing Director at Arab Bank Australia,  Community Organizations’ Leaders, Political and Social Figures, Media Representatives, and Friends.

For several decades the newspapers have played an integral part in the Australian Arabic Communities. Al Mustaqbal (Future) newspaper is the essential source of grassroots, Australian local news and Overseas and Lebanese information that matters most to readers.

The General Manager of the Al Mustaqbal, Dr. Jamil El-Doaih, welcomed all and said the partnership project was founded by Mr. Joe Khoury OAM, who is regarded as the Dean of Journalism and Media in Australia. Al Mustaqbal and Al Markazia exchanged journalism will remain open to everyone in Lebanon and Australia, for democracy depends on reliable access to true information. This encourages all to know what’s happening in our world, and it can help all to have access to true information for years to come. El-Doaih also welcomed all interested people to contribute to the newspaper and to cooperate fruitfully as one family for the public goodness.

The President and Editor-in-Chief of the Al Mustaqbal, Joe Khoury OAM, said it is exciting to have a key milestone to deliver news and information on the latest top stories with one of the top leading agencies.  Al Markazia was established in 1974 and today, it is one of the leading agencies in Lebanon and the Middle East, and now in Australia. The mission of the partnership is to create and deliver first quality service. It will hopefully be an excellent source of news designed to help the fast easy communications between Australia and Lebanon. It will cover the news of the most important topics that include political, social, cultural and economic issues.

Shaoquett Moselmane MLC stated that Joe has been providing journalism service to the community for nearly half a century, and he has a deep understanding of the important issues of both societies of Australia and Lebanon. Shaoquett awarded Joe with a gift of appreciation in recognition of his exceptional contribution to the media in Australia and Al Markazia Agency in Lebanon.

Geoff Lee MP congratulated Joe and his entire team on behalf of New South Wales government, for his continued work and the fantastic role that plays an integral and important part in bringing together the Australian Lebanese Community relation. “This is the next stage in your business from Lebanon to Australia and vice versa,” he said.

Dr. Mustapha Alameddin praised Joe Khoury’s credibility as a long lasting service, a long time ago as a journalist in the days before the World Wide Web. “What we’ve witnessed today is a historical event and a long-term project. In the world of journalism, Australia and Lebanon can’t live without each other for they have a cultural bond like an iron chain that binds their two societies together.” Alameddin said.

Mr. Ibrahim Barrak gave an expression of gratitude toward Joe Khoury who has been working hard silently in providing the truth in his journalism, acknowledging that Joe is a pleasant fellow who is the symbol of kindness, clarity, and a grateful heart, and has never caused any harm to any person during the long period of his journalistic profession. Undoubtedly, one of the project‘s aims is to show the good image of Lebanon and Australia.

This was followed by a number of prominent speakers who spoke highly of Joe Khoury for his friendly popular personality and professional journalistic efficiency.

It is worth mentioning here that I personally have known Joe Khoury for forty years, and I believe that his personality is extremely ethical that is characterized by the conception of honesty, transparency, luminosity, and integrity.  Joe is a rare unique community friend who has a soundness of moral character and depends on reliable access to information.  His newspaper of Al Mustaqbal (Future) newspaper is based on his profound success and constructed expertise in trustworthy journalism.  The partnership with Al Markazia Central News Agency in Lebanon will definitely make it more competitive and highly rewarding, for it will act as the backbone of the media industry in both printing press and digital media.

Congratulations to Mr. Joe Khoury OAM on the appointment of Al Mustaqbal newspaper as Correspondents for the Australian Continent, and extending warm Congratulations to the launching the partnership of Al Mustaqbal Lebanese and Arabic newspaper in Australia with Al Markazia Central News Agency in Lebanon, with the best wishes for continued future success.

Prof. Philip Salem’s Talk in Sydney “The Meaning of Suffering”

Prof. Philip Salem spoke at St Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church in Sydney.

By Marcelle Mansour OAM



Prof. Philip Salem spoke at St Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church in Sydney.

During his short visit to Sydney in Australia, The Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand organized a seminar, held by Prof. Philip Salem on Friday the 2nd of March, 2018. at St Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church, Punchbowl, in the presence of the Primate, Archimandrite Basilios (Kodseie), Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania Diocese, And a number of bishops and priests, government officials, professionals, physicals, media, and community representatives. 

The topic was about “The Meaning of Suffering “where Prof Salem spoke about the meaning of suffering and understanding pain through faith.  He talked about his experience in the research and the treatment of cancer and medicine, as well as religion, family values, ethics and the significant roles of technology in our present digital age and other related topics.  Prof Salem expressed his concern about future values such as love, nobility, compassion which computer cannot serve. He warned his audience about technology; in his own words” There is nothing better than simple values which serve humanity… we should use technology to our advantage and should not let technology rules us.”

Dr. Philip A. Salem is a physician, researcher, educator and international statesman in cancer medicine and he is a recipient of many awards from all over the world for his contributions to cancer research. In the last 15 years, he was selected annually in the editions of America’s Top Doctors by Castle Connolly. 

Prof Philip Salem was invited to Australia by the Council of Bishops and representatives of the Council of Eastern Churches in Australia and New Zealand where he was warmly welcomed by various community churches and organizations who all shared the celebration of the milestone  of his 50th work Anniversary in the field of oncology since joining the world of medicine and research.

The event presenter described Prof Philip Salem ashighly prestigious personality, hardworking, honest, humble, happy in doing his job and has a sense of humor.”

It was an honor and a privilege to attend this seminar, in particular, to listen to Prof Philip Salem’s brilliant talk that has enriched us all.


Sarkis Karam’s “Wings of Life” Evokes Faith and Hope


By Marcelle Mansour OAM

Sarkis Karam, Bilingual Writer and Editor of the Australian Affairs in AnNahar Arabic newspaper launched his new English book “Wings of Life” on Sunday 25th February at the Seniors’ Room, Lady of Lebanon Cathedral in Sydney. The book launch event was successful with great speakers as follows: His Excellency Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay. Poet Badawi El Hage, Mr. Anwar Harb AM, Mr. Joe Baini, Dr. Emad Berro and Dr. Anthony Hasham.

Wings of Life is a book of literary collection of poetry and prose of the author who was born in Lebanon and immigrated to Australia where he lives and adopts the new country as his wonderful home. It is a book of a collection of reflections that moves through the pages. Each page contains a reflection on wisdom where the author speaks for himself, from his heart, from his thoughts, from his memories and from his own assimilated experiences in solemnity. The collection contains pieces of work describes the author’s memories, contradictions, discoveries and life lessons one experiences when one is neither seen as fully Australian nor fully foreign.

In his fifth book, Sarkis reflects on his life journey exploring various topics where he was able to articulate his thoughts and ideas in a creative way. It is interesting to see how he starts his poetry reflections with the poem of Memory that reflects hope. To my surprise, this title of his poem is the same title of one of my latest artworks that were exhibited at the Corner Gallery Stanmore in October last year. Sarkis is a good friend of mine and I was grateful that he attended my art exhibition with other friends, and it is pleasant to see him giving his poem the same title of my artwork. The significance of this particular work is actually important to me for I believe that Memories living inside us are the foundation of who we are and the source of our roots and moral conscience that keeps our minds revived in all matters. The author seems optimistic by showing the link between memory and hope when he says:

Revived by fragrance

Of a pine tree… a rock …. A grain…

A flower… a soil…

It is carried away on wings of hope.

And in the poem of Wings of Life he writes:

Suddenly, memories entrenched

in our dreams,

long ago, tend to reappear,

for they have dwelled in our minds….

In the same poem, Sarkis describes his tireless journey of discovery which in fact applies to every one of us as immigrants where “our memories never left.” “From the innocence of “childhood” to the adventures of “youthfulness” through different stages of our ages, our trips are carried “on the “wings of love”’ and ‘on an endless flight.”’

Sarkis Karam’s poems are flame with a passion for life’s love, faith, and hope. His words explore the meaning of those conceptions and the bliss he has from “family” love and lasting “friendship.”  His poetry in general offer rich study of the meaning of various topics that he encounters in his life experiences as immigrant who is torn between two countries, that is his motherland “Lebanon” and his new adopted home “Australia,” This definitely applies to every one of us as immigrants. He Explores the connection between his beloved old village in Lebanon and his adopted home Australia. He is in deep love with his old village that he departed, in his piece of prose of Lebanon, his heart is still in Lebanon saying “How can we desert our hearts.”

Sarkis reveals his real self, his inner self through the” sighs of nostalgia flying.”  In Motherland, through the “magic of her tenderness”, he draws a ‘sketch of pictures of his dreams’ a visual‘ ”image” that ‘’would not shine without the colors of his motherland.”

And in his piece of prose Australia: “A shelter for humanity, a home of comfort, peace, and justice…A refuge for liberty and freedom for the expression” this great Aussie land we call home.

Then in Strength, he proclaims “no strength without faith, no strength without the Lord.” For only in the Lord he finds strength as well as in the Light of Life he finds peace. To him, Ehden, in fact, is ‘EDEN’! and Youssef Bey Karam “lives on as my inspiration.”  Sarkis also honors both his country of birth and Virgin Mary by saying O Mary, “Lebanon dwells on your heart.” for they both unite together.  His other poems are also glorious and provocative.

As an author, Sarkis has been known for his nice technique and style of writing and the power he evokes from his ideas in his literary pieces that refer to content. In other words, his poetry involves the method which a poet uses to convey meaning and feelings. The themes of his poetry tend to be of positive nature with wisdom, faith, and hope.

His poetic voice is direct and honest, where he expresses his thoughts, feelings, and memories in easy language, in a way that builds a sense of connection between himself and his readers.

This book is worth reading. Congratulations once again to Sarkis Karam on his new achievement and best wishes for his future success.