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Those who believe in good make nature more beautiful

by Gabriele Nissim

Below is the article by Gabriele Nissim, published by Il Corriere Della Sera on the 14th of February 2019 on the controversy on the urban regeneration of the Garden of the Righteous of Milan.

Let’s say the truth. If today Monte Stella has become for the new generations a place of memory we owe it mainly to the Garden of the Righteous Worldwide, opened in 2003 by the then major of Milan Gabriele Albertini.

Over the years, nobody had ever thought of making it a place of remembrance and of peace whilst it had been used for skiing competitions, motocross races and festivals of all the political powers.

Today, Monte Stella has become a world reference for the hundreds of the Gardens of the Righteous that have been created in Italy and in the rest of the world following the milanese example.

Those who have believed in the symbolism of this hill, born on the rubble of WWII, should be flattered because the spirit of something lives in time if there is someone who carries, with facts, its moral heredity. Today, in the Garden of Milan, some of the best examples of humanity that has opposed, like Jan Karski, Armin Wegner, Andrej Sakharov, Pope Giovanni XXIII, genocides and totalitarianisms of the 20th century, are remembered.

Thousands of students from all of Italy come to visit the Garden with the enthusiasm of the young generations who believe in the future of humanity.

With their presence they have added value to Monte Stella because, those who believe in good and in the values of peace make nature more beautiful.

To these young people, full of enthusiasm, we wanted to offer some small walkways so they will not slip in the mud during winter days, and a small area where they can discuss with their teachers the stories of the Righteous. As there is no more space to plant trees, we had planned to build small walls where, as it happened to Yad Vashem for the same reasons, we could insert the names of the people who are here honoured.

The urban regeneration project is nothing more than this, but somebody, amongst those who oppose it, depict it as an architectural monster, without having ever thought doing anything to increase the value of the concept of memory of Monte Stella and the same Garden of the Righteous.

It would be interesting to investigate the reason of so much hostility. After having worked for five years to obtain the highest consent from the administrating organs of the city, we have never been afraid to be judged by the milanese Tar (the administrative court of Milan). We have accepted to meet with everybody and we have accepted all proposals, even if the court had granted us our rights. We have been an example of dialogue and we have always accepted to delay our work to improve the project.

Unfortunately, the reason of the controversy has nothing to do with the project because any solution would be opposed. As the architect Graziella Tonon, one of the leaders of the protest wrote, with extreme sincerity, on the Arcipelago Milano, the Garden should be moved as soon as possible somewhere else.

Those who think like this consider the value of the memory of the Righteous on Monte Stella a disfigurement of the environment. The remembrance of good diminishes Monte Stella.

Unfortunately, the Minister of Cultural Heritage Bonisoli shares this view, and with the resolution on the interruption of the works has demonstrated a surprising insensibility for a place that remembers the value of solidarity. He has, in this way, ostracised the regular course of events for the Day of the Righteous of Humanity (6th of March). A day that has been recognised as a day of civil solemnity by our parliament in 2017. All this is happening in the city that is the “moral capital” of the Gardens of the Righteous. This is a sign of ethical decadence that we will try to oppose with all our determination for the future of our nation.

Translated by Lucia Perletti

Gabriele Nissim, Gariwo Chairman

Analysis by Gabriele Nissim, Gariwo Chairman

15 February 2019

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