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​Garden of the Righteous to be created in Tunis

thanks to Gariwo and Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Tunisia will be the first Arab country to host a Garden of the Righteous thanks to the cooperation between Gariwo and Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

On 15 July, inside the Italian Embassy in Tunis, Gariwo Chairman Gabriele Nissim, Peace Nobel Laureate of 2015 Abdessatar Ben Moussa and Ambassador Raimondo De Cardona will dedicate the first trees of the Garden to four Arab and Muslim Righteous of our past and present time, who risked their lives to struggle against persecution and terrorism and for the protection of human rights.

Despite the economic crisis and the terror threats that only one year ago hit the Bardo Museum and the Susa beach, Tunisia remains the only country of those affected by the Arab Spring – that arose precisely following the Tunisian revolt – to have chosen democracy as a stem against fundamentalism.

Within this framework, Gariwo’s initiative with the Italian diplomacy and the most prominent representatives of the Tunisian civil society, protagonists of an experience which has set the example of democratic development for the whole region, takes up a great moral and political significance.

In a time characterized by conflicts and cleavages, a few days after the attacks at Istanbul, Baghdad and Dhaka, the creation of this Garden is a concrete example of dialogue and cooperation with the Arab and Muslim world, to overcome the fear that grips us today build a common front against the different forms of nationalism and the fanaticism inherent to every kind of fundamentalism.

At the Garden of Tunis we will honor the brave protagonists of the resistance against the ISIS, Khaled al Asaad and Mohammed Nasseur ben Abdesslem, the young street vendor symbol of the Jasmin Revolution, Mohammed Bouazizi, and the Tunisian entrepreneur symbol of the civil coexistence between Arab and Jews, Khaled Abdul Wahab.
A few hours after the massacre in Dhaka, we have chosen to remember in this Garden even the Bangladeshi student Faraaz Hussein.

Trees in honor of:

Khaled al-Asaad, world-famous Syrian archaeologist, was born in 1934 in Tadmur, the ancient Palmyra, to which he devoted his whole life. Since 1963 he was the director of his hometown’s archaeological site, and decided not to leave it despite the threats from the ISIS terrorists. On 18 August 2015 he was brutally killed by the militiamen for refusing to reveal where the treasures of Palmyra were kept.

Mohammed Nasseur ben Adesslem (Hamadi), tourist guide, started his career in the Seventies in Tunisia. On 18 March 2015 he was at the Bardo Museum with a group of Italians, when some armed men entered the Museum and started shooting. Thanks to his knowledge of the Museum’s rooms, Hamadi took the tourists into safety to the near police headquarters. Only a few minutes after his runaway with the group of Italian tourists, the terrorists entered Virgil’s room and killed nine people.

Tarek el-Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi, Tunisian street vendor, started working at 10 to help his mother and maintain his household. On 17 December 2010 the local police, which often demanded kickbacks, seized him merchandise and scales. Humiliated and exasperated for the umpteenth abuse, the young man set himself afire in front of the governor’s office out of protest. His gesture, that would lead him to death in a few days, unleashed the Jasmine Revolution and the “springs” in the Arab world.

Khaled Abdul Wahab, entrepreneur from Tunis, son to a prominent historian, in 1942 during the Nazi occupation acted as an intermediary between the local population and the occupiers, using this position to win the favour of the Germans, with the same tactics used by Oskar Schindler in Poland. Once learned about the Nazi plans, Abdul Wahab hid Jakob Boukris – a rich producer of electrical appliances -, his family and other Jews in the oil mill of his farm in Mahdia, sheltering them until the ousting of the Germans.

Faraaz Hussein, a brilliant Economics student at Emory University, on 1st July 2016, during the terror attack at the Holey Artisan restaurant of Dhaka, was in the premises with two girl friends. Terrorists targeted the foreigners. Faraaz recited the Koran verses and could have his life saved, but he decided not to leave the girls, who wore Western clothes, paying for his choice with his life. 

Ceremony of inauguration of the Garden of the Righteous
Italian Embassy in Tunis
Friday, 15 July 2016

18.30 – Welcome greetings by Italy’s Ambassador H.E. Raimondo de Cardona, Gariwo Chairman Gabriele Nissim and Abdessatar Ben Moussa, lawyer. Member of the Quartet for national dialogue in Tunisia, and Peace Nobel Laureate 2015.

18.45 – Tribute to the “Righteous” and unveiling of the plaques dedicated to them:

Mohamed Bouazizi immolated himself to defend human dignity, unleashing the democratic Spring in Tunisia.

Hamadi Ben Abdessalem He saved the Italian tourists during the terror attack against the Bardo Museum with astounding bravery

Khaled Abdul Wahab He rescued in Mahdia the Jews persecuted in Tunisia during the Nazi occupation

Khaled Al Asaad Slaughtered by the IS in 2015 for defending the archaeological heritage of Palmyra in Syria, memory of the human civilization

19.00 – Brief musical entertainment. Orchestra conducted by Maestro Rachid Koubaa playing the Adagio by Albinoni and “Crisantemi” (Chrysanthemums) by Puccini

19.20 - Cocktail offered by His Excellence Ambassador De Cardona

The ceremony, organized with the support of the Italian Institute of Culture of Tunis, will be attended by Hamadi Ben Abdesslem, the Civic Museum of Archaeology's representative Cristina Miedico who will intervene on Khaled al-Asaad's behalf, the representatives of other Righteous and important Italian and Tunisian personalities.

30 June 2016

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Garden of Tunis


On 15 July 2016, the Garden of the Righteous in Tunis was inaugurated, within the Italian Ambassy in Tunis. The righteous honoured are Hamadi Abdesslem, Mohamed Bouazizi, Khaled Abdul Wahab, Khaled al-Asaad and Faraaz Hussein.

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