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Reflections for 2019

by Gabriele Nissim

Who is a Righteous person? He or she is the one who often acts in a void and takes up responsibility when the world around seems to be headed in the wrong direction.

Often, the ones who heed their conscience and feel less happy at seeing around a lot of negativity, find unexpected resources to face duties that go beyond his or her very forces. What, in facts, leads to a result, is not only a good intention but also the character of somebody who does everything possible to keep a promise, as wrote Agnes Heller about the beauty of good people. The stubborn and firm character of an individual who becomes a resistance point, but also a stimulus for the others, sometimes determines such results, that would have been seemed unthinkable.
Hannah Arendt, talking about the effects of the people’s deeds, said that these are the only possible miracles on this earth. She did not say so only to affirm that miracles are possible, but also to underline the fact that they are within everybody’s reach.

I thought of the reflections of these two great female thinkers after the Gariwo network meeting we held in Milan in the presence of the representatives of the hundred of Gardens of the Righteous that have been born in Italy, Europe and the world.
All the people who met on the basis of their passion and taste for life, beauty and culture, have thought that in order to feel better in their jobs and daily lives, they had to feel more responsible for the world. So they reasoned on some tasks that maybe, until yesterday, they would have delegated to others, and instead, they realized that the future of a time that is out of joint can depend only on our responsibility.

Europe’s future can only depend on those who put a stop to any kind of nationalism and clash and do no more superficially and unconsciously accept to consider Europe as an enemy of ours – instead of a great opportunity for our future. Every time such words have been pronounced in the European community, we must remind the people of the dream of the founders and update the European values to today’s challenges. A great example comes to us from Antonio Megalizzi, who almost until his assassination in Strasbourg at the hands of a terrorist, lived like a European journalist who considered the whole of the community as his greatest homeland and was proud of his work.

Italy’s image too is in our hands. It is up to us to become keepers of the soul of our country and not accept the affirmation of a selfish and closed identity, against hospitality. The Italian creativeness and hard labour have always been based on the openness toward the other. If Italy closes up, it loses its most important moral characteristics, which finds so much credit abroad.

And as much we can do against the culture of hatred that sweeps in the political debate and on the social networks, where the people who make headlines are always those who love to despise the others and incite a culture of enmity. We should no more remain silent in the face of the trivialities in politics and summon to respect those who use Facebook for their crusades against the people who think differently. And the best way to counter this degeneration is to show, in our daily lives, a taste for dialogue and conversation. It is us who can build different social networks, that stem the fake news and the habitual haters.

The emulation and multiplication of the good, as wrote Spinoza, is the most powerful antidote against the ones who dream of a world of enemies.
This is the duty of all the Gardens of the Righteous that can become the uniting factor and the symbol of a new moral renaissance.
Let us only think of the groundbreaking impact the Gardens of the Righteous might have against all the stereotypes against the immigrants if the Muslim communities in Italy met with the Jews and the Catholics to condemn terrorism together.

This would also be the best way to remember Antonio Megalizzi, murdered in his “work” of being a European.

Gabriele Nissim, Gariwo Chairman

Analysis by Gabriele Nissim, Gariwo Chairman

20 December 2018

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