The Arab and Muslim Righteous against terrorism

in the Garden of the Righteous of Tunis

The first Garden of the Righteous in an Arab country was inaugurated on Friday, July 15th inside Italy’s Embassy to Tunis, by the chairman of Gariwo Gabriele Nissim, Ambassador Raimondo De Cardona and the President of the Tunisian league of Human Rights and Nobel Prize Winner of 2015, Abdessatar Ben Moussa.

Set up with the cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Garden hosts the trees and memorial stones dedicated to five Arab and Muslim Righteous of the past and our present times, who have struggled against persecution, terrorism and for the defence of human rights. They are remembered with the following inscriptions:

Hamadi Ben Abdesslem With his bravery he rescued the Italian tourists during the terror attack against the Bardo Museum

Mohamed Bouazizi He immolated himself to defend human dignity, living rise to the democratic Spring in Tunisia

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

Khaled al-Asaad Slaughtered by the ISIS in 2015 for defending in Syria the archaeological heritage of Palmyra, memory of the human civilization

Faraaz Hussein In Dhaka he chose not to leave his friends and was murdered by the terrorists

A few hours after the massacre in Nice, the ceremony was opened on the notes of the Marseillaise and one minute silence was observed in memory of the victims hit by an attacker from Sousse, the Tunisian seaside village, which was the scene to a savage terror attack in June 2015.

After the massacre in Nice, in the face of those who sow terror and pitilessly murder hundreds people, we celebrate the Arab and Muslim Righteous who love the human plurality, peace, dialogue among the peoples and cultures - said Gabriele Nissim, Gariwo chairman With this Garden we wish to launch in Europe and the whole Middle East the diplomacy of Good, to make the entire world aware of the tales of humanity and solidarity which remain untold and unfortunately unknown”.

The creation of this Garden retains a particular meaning, as it occurs for the first time on the Southern shore of the Mediterranean, in a Muslim country that has embraced the challenge of democracy and in which the rule of law affirmed itself in the defence of the individuals”, pointed out Ambassador Raimondo De Cardona.

Abdessatar Ben Moussa, in his remarks in memory of Bouazizi, expressed his gratitude to Gariwo and Nissim for the creation of a Garden dedicated to the Righteous and Muslims, “a beautiful idea in a difficult moment marked by terrorism”.

During the ceremony, in the presence of the highest Tunisian authorities, the message from deputy-minister Vincenzo Amendola, who defined this garden as “a place of memory and example, a symbol of civilization, an inspiration for those who believe that hope is the goal, at which we should aim” was read out.

Righteous Hamadi Ben Abdesslem told about his shock at hearing the news from Nice: I immediately thought of my feelings during the attack to the Bardo Museum. Hamadi thanked Italy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Gariwo for honouring the gestures of the people, like him, who rescued other people’s lives.

On behalf of the other honoured Righteous remarks were held by the Curator of the Civic Archeaological Museum of Angera and the project “Angera calls Palmyra”, Cristina Miedico, who remembered Khaled al-Asaad, “a model, the first one to understand the importance, uniqueness and neverending beauty of Palmyra”, and the director of Gariwo, Ulianova Radice, who read out Faiza’s message in memory of her father Khaled Abdul Wahab – who had already been remembered at the Garden of the Righteous on Monte Stella Hill in Milan – by underlining his “profound respect for those he helped.

The President of the City Council of Milan Lamberto Bertolè, on behalf of the Mayor, brought the tribute of the town to the memory of Faraaz Hussein, for his extraordinary gesture against fundamentalist fanaticism that also hit our fellow nationals in Dhaka. The sacrifice of Faraaz, “setting an example for the entire world”, was remembered by Bertolè through the moving words sent by the mother of the young Bengalese student.

18 July 2016

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The Garden of Tunis

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