News / Middle East

Lebanon's 'Garden of Forgiveness' Aims to Nurture Peace

Garden of Forgiveness to Heal Wounds of Wari
X
April 12, 2013 2:07 AM
Lebanon’s Garden of Forgiveness is a work in progress conceived by British-Lebanese citizen and psychotherapist Alexandra Asseily. It aims to nurture peace and healing in a country still recovering from a 15-year civil war of religious factions.But the garden has been beset by delays. Last month, Asseily hosted a ceremony near the garden, bringing together people from all religious backgrounds to celebrate their common beliefs. Paige Kollock reports from Beirut.
Paige Kollock
Lebanon’s Garden of Forgiveness is a work in progress conceived by British-Lebanese citizen and psychotherapist Alexandra Asseily. It aims to nurture peace and healing in a country still recovering from a 15-year civil war of religious factions. But the garden has been beset by delays. Last month, Asseily hosted a ceremony near the garden, bringing together people from all religious backgrounds to celebrate their common beliefs.

Alexandra Asseily first came to Lebanon in 1966. She married a Lebanese man and raised her children in Lebanon.

Then, in 1975, Lebanon's civil war broke out.

“During the war I became very distressed about how is it possible that we as human beings can, from one day to another, go from being nice happy people to fighters, killers, destroyers,” Asseily said.

So, in 1998, Asseily came up with the idea for the Garden of Forgiveness. It was approved and then designed by two well-known architects and is located between archaeological relics and religious structures in the heart of Beirut.

Over the years, the garden became a symbol of peace.

In 2005, family members of September 11 victims visited the garden. They planted an olive tree and, under it, buried photos of loved ones who were killed in the attacks.   

But in 2006, with Lebanon at war again, work on the garden was suspended.

The project is still stalled because of a disagreement between the developer who owns the land and a nearby Lebanese Army base.  

Last month, during of The Feast of the Annunciation - a religious holiday celebrated by Christians and some Muslims -- Lebanese gathered at the Nourieh shrine, just nearby, to express solidarity.

The garden is situated on what was known during the civil war as “the green line.” At the time, it separated Christian and Muslim parts of the city. Ziad Mikati of the Islamic-Christian Foundation says it's the perfect site for the garden.

“In this area, where we have three cathedrals and thee mosques around us. It's a sign from God to all of us that, over here where the olive trees are growing and where the Annunciation was made very visible, to come together and start worshiping together for one cause, which is Lebanon,” Mikati said.

During the ceremony, religious leaders read together and individuals from sects that once battled each other recounted the pain of their wartime experiences.

Asseily hopes gatherings like this will keep the garden project alive.

You May Like

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Natasha from: Germany
April 11, 2013 10:47 PM
Arabs Muslims with Western passports are the biggest terrorist threat that threatens Europe.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More