In war torn, and poverty-stricken Kabul in 2005 the government made a request that Global Hope Network International build a garden, in what was at that time a city emerging from the ruins of war and terrorism. Much of the trees and vegetation were gone, and a garden did not seem to be a priority. However, a few hours before, on the same day of this request, during the night, Donald James Malcolm had a vision/dream in which he was designing and creating a garden in Kabul. This happened during the first days of his presence in Kabul. Such a request, and such a dream, seemed absurd considering the state of the country. The dream/vision was destined to become reality. After much travail and hard work, the Persian-style walled cloister garden was created next to the National Gallery on a property site of horrible destruction, with the scars of war. This is of sobering significance since under the Taliban all art and music were strictly forbidden, and the very site where the garden is built was a battlefield with severe artillery damage and burned-out buildings. It reflected the state of Kabul, a city with little hope or beauty.
However, with much perseverance and a faith-filled vision, a beautiful garden was created with fountains, roses and irises gifted from Italy, and completely restored buildings. From its opening in 2009 the garden has been dedicated to the young artists and musicians of Afghanistan. Scores of artists come to paint, exhibit, and sometimes even sell their work. Hundreds of Kabul school children are brought here, as well as visiting diplomats and visitors to experience, and see, what can happen when a place of death and destruction is transformed into place of hope and peace.
Where once there was devastation and terror, there now flourishes peace, hope, and yes, joy, music, and beauty. The chief-of-staff of the President related some years ago, “Our needs are many, and the trauma of war and destruction has touched all Afghans. We basically need everything, but without beauty there is no hope.”
The darkness of despair and fear has been pushed back and today the light of hope and peace prevail touching lives near and far. What was sown in mercy and compassion upon that which was desolation and ruins has given birth to an abundant harvest saturated in hope and peace.
‘THE GARDEN OF PEACE AND HOPE’— may this walled enclosure be truly a Paradise (pairi-daēza) of great beauty and happiness, contributing to the well-being of one-another in love, joy, respect, kindness, patience, and humility.
The symbol of the Garden of Peace and Hope in Kabul is the rose, ”Peace”, saved out of Paris on the last flight before the occupation by the Nazis in World War II. The rose was publicly named “Peace” on the very day of a major turning point for the ending of the Second World War. These roses were given to each of the inaugural delegations for the formation of the United Nations in 1945 with a note which read: “We hope the “Peace” rose will influence men’s thoughts for everlasting world peace”.
There are 12 of these roses planted around the fountain of the Garden of Peace and Hope.