6 March is near. We will celebrate the first European day of the Righteous, established by the European Parliament thus accepting Gariwo's proposal on 10 May 2012.
Europe set up an annual recurrence for the memory of Good, i.e. to remember all those who have committed themselves to save human lives during genocide, to defend human dignity trampled on in the totalitarian systems, to witness to the truth not to forget. The example set by Yad Vashem's "avenue of the Righteous" thus becomes a heritage of the whole humanity and reminds us of a founding value of European identity: the individual and his/her own responsibility.
For this importance recurrence, making Milan the "moral capital" of Europe, we have planned a great two-phasis event.
In the morning of 6 March we will plant trees in the Garden of the Righteous Worldwide (Giardino dei Giusti di tutto il mondo on Monte Stella hill), in the presence of Milan Mayor Giuliano Pisapia, of the President of the City Council Basilio Rizzo, of Gariwo Chairman Gabriele Nissim, of UCEI Counselor Giorgio Mortara, of Armenia's Consul to Italy Pietro Kuciukian, and the relatives of the honoured Righteous.
The new trees will be dedicated to four great public figures of the modern times who have devoted themselves to the dignity of human beings: Fridtjof Nansen, Norwegian explorer and scientist, inventor of the Nansen Passport and Peace Nobel Laureate in 1922 for his activity as High Commissioner for Refugees of the Society of Nations; Dimitar Peshev, Vicepresident of the Bulgarian Parliament who by his deed accomplished the rescue of nearly 50,000 Bulgarian Jews from Nazi extermination; Václav Havel, playwright, dissident, among the founders of Charter 77 and first President of the Czech Republic, who strongly advocated freedom of expression and the protection of human and civil rights; Samir Kassir, Lebanese journalist and politician, murdered in a car shelling in 2005, who supported the independence of Lebanon, the creation of a secular, democratic and independent state and the protection of freedom of the press.
In the evening, the beautiful Sala delle Cariatidi of Palazzo Reale will host the concert From classical music to jazz. Two pianists meet the Europe of the Righteous, with Maestros Janusz Olejniczak and Gaetano Liguori. Music will be accompanied by readings by Paola Bigatto, actress and theatre producer.
The event is organized by the Association “Giardino dei Giusti di Milano”, to which Gariwo belongs alongside with Milan's City Hall and the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities.
Through this choice Milan wishes to launch an important warning, in particular to the youngest people. Remembering four public figures who have struggled to defend human dignity in the direst straights means demonstrating that there is always the chance for high moral standards in politics, and celebrating this day can be a first step to build a new European identity based on the example of the Righteous and the importance of personal responsibility.