BEIRUT: August 1 marked Switzerland's National Day and Beirut was ready to celebrate.
Organized by the Embassy of Switzerland in Beirut and under the patronage of Ambassador of Switzerland in Lebanon Monika Schmutz Kirgos, this year’s celebration put forth a number cultural values that are common between the two countries.
“Our love for the country and our belief in defending our values in a fertile land like Lebanon are two of the biggest motivations to work this hard,” Ambassador Schmutz told Annahar. “Additionally, we believe that preserving the connections between the two countries is of high importance. It’s all about giving and taking; there’s always a lot to offer despite the economic difficulties.”
This year’s event carries a major twist. As a means of moving it away from the ordinary Nijmeh Square celebration, the 2019’s celebration took take place in Horsh Beirut.
The location, according to Schmutz serves as a highlight for the city’s beauty and a reminder of the importance of having green spaces.
“We celebrate our National Day in Switzerland every year in nature. Therefore, we decided to celebrate this year in Horsh Beirut,” she said. “This event wouldn't have happened without the help of Lebanese Authorities and the Lebanese citizens who supported us. They always help and collaborate with every activity we organize.”
Additionally, Schmutz explained that although each country’s culture is different from the other, both the Lebanese and Swiss values meet in some way.
“Lebanese citizens love when Lebanon is described as ‘Switzerland of the Middle East.’ In Switzerland, everyone is equal, just like here. We felt this sense of equality in multiple places in Lebanon such as in Corniche Beirut where people of all sects, social classes, ages, and groups meet, and so we decided to host our event in Horsh Beirut,” Schumtz added.
Although Horsh Beirut has re-opened four years ago, some citizens remain unaware of its existence. Accordingly, Schumtz explained that the event will also act to raise awareness on the location.
"We celebrate the national day of the Swiss Confederation as we celebrate the Lebanese Army Day. These two occasions are very precious to the hearts of the Lebanese and Swiss people, traditional holidays which we celebrate every year, outdoor, in the heart of nature," said the ambassador.
This article was adapted to English by Chiri Choukeir and Christy-Belle Geha.
An-Nahar is not responsible for the comments that users post below. We kindly ask you to keep this space a clean and respectful forum for discussion.