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 On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid