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European day of the Righteous

Andrée Ruth Shammah's reflection

Andrée Ruth Shammah and Gabriele Nissim on stage at Franco Parenti Theatre, on 6 March 2012

Andrée Ruth Shammah and Gabriele Nissim on stage at Franco Parenti Theatre, on 6 March 2012

Holding firm that there is nothing comparable to the Holocaust, by the European Day of the Righteous of 6 March we wish to remember those who have been able to keep searching for Good, by defending human dignity in gloomy times.

The more we remember the Good, the more we become aware of what the human being can do to achieve it. By this we hope to prevent genocide from occurring again (silence on Syria and indifference to the Rwandan and Cambodian genocide weigh on us all).  

Unfortunately, the words “never again” become sheer rhethorics. The Righteous teach us to prevent genocide in the present. By remembering the Righteous we teach people that it is possible to think by ourselves, starting from our own conscience. The Righteous have saved the world through simple and concrete deeds. It is not the others who decide about our future. 

Everyone of us can rely on his/her own strength and the force of his/her convictions to struggle against any injust law. The value of the Righteous in the Holocaust is universal as the Shoah has not only hit the Jews, but also the entire world, by destroying it. Opening our minds to the concept of Good is more important than ever nowadays. It is not by chance that in Armenia, as well as in Rwanda or Bosnia, gardens have been created to remember the rescuers of those genocide cases. 

The fact of acting justly belongs to all human thought, from the Greek’s classical philosophy to Judaism, as well as Islam and Christianity. The stance taken by Gabriele Nissim as a Jews, a writer and the chairman of Gariwo has a specific and important meaning. It means saying that what happened to the Jews shall not occur to anybody else. 

It means saying that the Jews after that terrifying experience open up to others and put themselves into the service of all that can prevent atrocities now and in the future. 
It is an extraordinary success that precisely a Jew has succeeded in obtaining the establishment of this recurrence in honor of all the Righteous from the European Parliament and this idea has become a cultural heritage for so many different walks of life. Memory becomes universal. This idea has prompted an immediate adhesion in so many school, cities, among different people. Everybody feels involved. 

It is always desirable to keep listening to other tragedies, each of different nature and scope but all with the common denominator of unrestraint violence of man against the other man,. We, the Jews, belong to humanity and although for some centuries some peoples have tried to deny this, we keep on existing, to be part of humanity and leave room for Good, righteousness and the Righteous worldwide. Yours gratefully. 

This reflection was published in the Corriere della Sera, page 47, on 18 February

Andrée Ruth Shammah, director Franco Parenti Theatre

Analysis by Andrée Ruth Shammah, director Franco Parenti Theatre

19 February 2014

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