Boston’s Garden of Peace Memorial

IbisThe Garden of Peace Memorial, located in Boston, Massachusetts, is essentially the result of efforts led by the late Paul R. Rober, Sr., who was looking for a way to memorialize the life of his murdered son, Paul R. Rober, Jr. A paraplegic by birth, Rober’s son was last seen alive at a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee shop on October 11, 1986, just shortly before he was beaten severely, strangled with a rope, and buried in a shallow grave that had been hastily dug in a heavily wooded area not too far from the point of his disappearance. Desperately seeking an avenue through which he could manage his grief, Rober was instrumental in the formation of the Boston chapter for Parents of Murdered Children (POMC), an organization first established in 1978 by Reverend Robert Hullinger and his wife, in response to the overwhelming sorrow they associated with the murder of their 19-year-old daughter, Lisa Hullinger. There are now over 60 chapters located across the United States, with a total membership of over 100,000 survivors. POMC is instrumental in providing “the on-going emotional support needed to help parents and other survivors facilitate the reconstruction of a ‘new life’ and to promote a healthy resolution” to the intense grieving process and legal dilemmas that are associated with the loss of a loved one through murder.

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Various Aspects of the Garden of Peace Memorial
Photo credit: mgstanton / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Paul Rober, Sr., who passed away in 2002, became a vigorous promoter of non-violence, peace and the creation of a memorial that would honor the victims of murder – even gaining the notice of Massachusetts Governor William Weld in the process. Along the way, Rober met Beatrice Nessen, who assumed the leadership role when he passed away – forming the expansive coalition of homicide survivors, elected officials, interested business leaders, and victim service benefactors that brought the memorial to the point of reality. The Garden of Peace coalition turned to the Harvard Graduate School of Design when choosing the designer for their monument, selecting Catherine Melina – who was at that time a student in the program, but who has since achieved notoriety as a partner in the Melina/Hyland Design Group of Cambridge, Massachusetts. The end result came through a unique combination of politics, promotion, and community benevolence – eventually involving even the state legislature. In 2000, a bill called for the renovation of the Saltonstall State Office Building, to occur under the auspices of the Mass Development Finance Agency – which is now known as Mass Development. The bill demanded that the renovation include the Garden of Peace as part of the designs, but Mass Development went one step further and donated $200,000 toward the construction of Rober’s dream memorial.

Dedicated on September 24, 2004, the Garden of Peace Memorial is a plaza nestled between two buildings located on Somerset Street in Boston. Running through the middle of the plaza is a dry streambed – symbolizing an absence of life-giving water, and thereby indicating the heartrending loss in lives that has transpired through violence. Lining the streambed are stones that bear the names, birthday and date of death for each murdered victim to whom the memorial is dedicated. Each stone is unique in appearance, just as the life of each human being is inimitable in nature. The dry streambed emanates from a partially buried granite lens entitled “Tragic Density,” intended to denote the intense grief imbedded in the hearts of those who have lost a loved one to murder. The plaza also includes cascading water and a symbolic pool, from which a 17 foot high sculpture of three ibises rises toward the sky, transcending anguish, pain, grief, and anger. Entitled Ibis Ascending, this sculpture is the work of artist Judy Kensley McKie, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design who lost her only son, Jesse, to an indiscriminate act of violence. She chose the ibis as the subject of her artwork due to its symbolic connection to healing and resurrection in Egyptian mythology. Replicas of the sculpture can be purchased through a donation of $1500 to the Garden of Peace. Likewise, the names of victims can be added to the memorial for the sum of $100, which is paid through an application process accessible at the website.

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Click for Larger Graph

Between September of 2001 and September of 2011, approximately 30 U. S. citizens have died in terrorist incidents that took place within the geographic confines of the United States. During the same timeframe, roughly 116,000 U. S. citizens lost their lives in gun-related murders – and within that statistic, over 46,000 white Americans were murdered by other white Americans, thereby indicating that the issue of murder is not specific to non-white Americans. There is no question as to the need for non-violence and peace in the world when it comes to terrorism, but this peace needs to take hold within the geographic boundaries of the United States and permeate the very fabric of our society, which has grown far too violent. The Garden of Peace is a reminder of this fact, and it is an idea for commemoration that could easily be adapted to the recognition of those that have died in terrorist attacks – which are less numerous but of even graver concern for the future of the world. Terrorism reaches beyond the realm of murder into the insane darkness of international violence and intimidation that is conducted in the name of political and religious aims. Given that these intentions could likely include nuclear obliteration and genocide one day, the need for a monument that carries the same message as the Garden of Peace is obvious. Obvious, but unfortunately overlooked in the United States at this time – at least in the minds of those that support this website.

You can help promote the establishment of a monument dedicated to all American victims of terrorism, whether they died at home or abroad, by clicking the link above and signing the petition. Nothing is asked but your signature for a good cause.

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Resolution 1373: The United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee

UN  The tragic events of September 11, 2001, in which the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda launched a series of 4 coordinated attacks against the United States, quickly led to comprehensive counter-terrorism efforts throughout the world. Within the United Nations Security Council, discussion of the response to those horrific events that took the lives of over 3000 people led to a drastic change in international law, through the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1373 – a measure that was adopted unanimously on September 28, 2001. Whereas in the past, a global law became valid only when the prospective states voluntarily signed an international agreement, in this case the Security Council “imposed” the dictates of the resolution on all member states of the United Nations. Although the United States is known to have been the nation that introduced Resolution 1373, there is no record of the meeting that led to its passage or the specific individuals responsible for bringing it to fruition. Calling upon the provisions laid out in previous UN resolutions that emboldened the sharing of intelligence information, it addressed the need to more effectively combat the rising prevalence of transnational violence in the world. To closely monitor worldwide progress of the measures established under the new resolution, the United Nations also created a Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), which is comprised of all 15 Security Council member nations.

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The Counter-Terrorism Committee Falls Under the Direction of the United Nations Security Council (click for larger photo)
Photo credit: Patrick Gruban / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

The Counter-Terrorism Committee has the directive “to bolster the ability of United Nations Member States to prevent terrorist acts both within their borders and across regions.” As a means of assisting the committee in its efforts to implement Resolution 1373, in 2005 the United Nations Security Council established the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), which consists of 40 staff members that advise the CTC about international efforts concerning the legislative progress in specific nations to promote counter-terrorism efforts, the financing of terrorist groups, law enforcement efforts to control transnational violence, international arms trafficking, and refugee and migration law as it pertains to the  geographic movement of terrorist groups. The role of CTED is specifically intended to provide closer cooperation and synchronization concerning counter-terrorism efforts within the United Nations and between countries or regional organizations. The CTC is largely responsible for promoting and enforcing the measures of Resolution 1373 that call for criminalizing any form of assistance to organized terrorist groups, denying safe haven or financial backing for transnational violence, and the sharing of intelligence information about organizations intending to commit terroristic attacks. More specifically, member countries of the United Nations are expected to:

  • Criminalize the financing of terrorism
  • Freeze without delay any funds related to persons involved in acts of terrorism
  • Deny all forms of financial support for terrorist groups
  • Suppress the provision of safe haven, sustenance or support for terrorists
  • Share information with other governments on any groups practicing or planning           terrorist acts
  • Cooperate with other governments in the investigation, detection, arrest, extradition and prosecution of those involved in such acts
  • Criminalize active and passive assistance for terrorism in domestic law and bring violators to justice.

Resolution 1373 also calls upon all UN Member States to subscribe, “as soon as possible,” to the 16 “relevant counter-terrorism legal instruments” that are listed and described at the CTC website. The three most recent of these “instruments” refer to very specific types of terrorism: the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings (1997), the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (1999), and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005). Two-thirds of the 193 UN Member States have approved or assented to the existence of at least 10 these 16 legal instruments within their sovereign boundaries.

From October of 2001 until July of 2003, the Counter-Terrorism Committee fell under the leadership of Jeremy Greenstock of Great Britain, who was also the British Ambassador to the United Nations from 1998 until 2003. He was a logical selection as the first Chairman for the CTC, due to his heavy involvement with the UN Security Council. Under his direction, the CTC moved forward with great patience and insightfulness to implement measures that had become vitally important in the aftermath of the 911 tragedy. Other former chairpersons of the committee include Inocencio F. Arias of Spain, Andrey I. Denisov of Russia, Mirjana Mladineo of Croatia, and Ertuğrul Apakan from Turkey. The reins of this important UN committee are now in the capable hands of Mohammed Loulichki, who has been the permanent Representative for the Kingdom of Morocco to the United Nations since 2008. Prior to assuming the chairmanship of the Counter-Terrorism Committee, he also served as its vice-chairman and has a considerable reputation in the United Nations for his efforts concerning human rights, especially as the facilitator of the review process concerning the status of the Human Rights Council (2010-2011).

Mohammed Loulichki

Mohammed Loulichki, longtime chairman of the counter-terrorism committee

For worldwide efforts in combatting terrorism to succeed, it is important that all nations are united in that effort, and that the necessary resources are made available. The Counter-Terrorism Committee strives to make this a reality through the following “working methods” that are outlined at the website:

  • Country visits – at their request, to monitor progress, as well as to evaluate the nature and level of technical assistance a given country may need in order to implement resolution 1373 (2001);
  • Technical assistance – to help connect countries to available technical, financial, regulatory and legislative assistance programs, as well as to potential donors;
  • Country reports – to provide a comprehensive snapshot of the counter-terrorism situation in each country and serve as a tool for dialogue between the Committee and Member States;
  • Best practices – to encourage countries to apply known best practices, codes and standards, taking into account their own circumstances and needs; and
  • Special meetings – to develop closer ties with relevant international, regional and sub-regional organizations, and to help avoid duplication of effort and waste of resources through better coordination.

This website earnestly salutes the efforts of this very important committee within the organization of the United Nations. Through such proactive programs, the human race will hopefully one day live on a planet free of radical transnational violence. Though this might be a dream relegated to some future generation, it should definitely be the subject and goal of diligent work today. Please remember to support this optimistic vision of the world by clicking on the link below and signing the petition to which this website is dedicated. Show your dedication to nonviolence and peace!

You can help promote the establishment of a monument dedicated to all American victims of terrorism, whether they died at home or abroad, by clicking the link above and signing the petition. Nothing is asked but your signature for a good cause.

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