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Remembering the Righteous, with a look at the present

meeting at Palazzo Cusani

Michele Valensise, Gabriele Nissim, Ferruccio De Bortoli and Antonio Ferrari

Michele Valensise, Gabriele Nissim, Ferruccio De Bortoli and Antonio Ferrari

"The Righteous were necessary then and they are necessary also now, thus we look at the Righteous of the present time". Gabriele Nissim, Gariwo chairman, closes with these words the conference The memory of Good and education to responsibility, held on 3 March 2015 in Palazzo Cusani in Milano, at 6 p.m., to inaugurate the celebrations of the European Day of the Righteous.

The meeting was opened by the remarks of the President of the Lombardy Region Roberto Maroni and the Mayor of Milan Giuliano Pisapia; distinguished speakers were the Secretary General of the Foreign Ministry Michele Valensise, the editor of the Corriere della Sera Ferruccio de Bortoli and Gariwo chairman Gabriele Nissim.

"On this European Day of the Righteous we keep an eye on the past and an eye to the present - said Gabriele Nissim - On the past, because this year we remember  the centenary of the Armenian Genocide, and in particular all the men who opposed this extermination, like, among others, a great German writer called Armin Wegner. But there is also an element of great topicality, because today we keep an eye on the Arab-Muslim world, at the IS phenomenon. On this occasion we wish to look at the events from a different point of view, and pay tribute to the Arabs and Muslims who now, under those difficult circumstances, try to defend human dignity".

Hence the importance of this Day, above all in the current context. "In our multimedia society we forget things very quickly - argued De Bortoli - Everything goes by very easily, it is pushed back into the past and loses the strength to spark our indignation. We feel little outrage; maybe we are better informed than before, but we indignate little". The value of the memory and of the tale is thus the engine of the initiative. De Bortoli goes on: "Remembering does not mean judging. Remembering above all means giving room for those Righteous who have done something also for the others and deserve not to be forgotten".

The memory and sharing of good will be the protagonists of  6 March during the ceremony at the Garden of Monte Stella Hill of Milan: at 11 a.m., a tree and a stone will be dedicated to Syrian activists Razan Zaitouneh and Ghayath Mattar, the Ottoman Turk Mehmet Gelal Bey, the women and men of the Italian Coast Ward, to Italian-Eritrean activist Alganesh Fessaha and to Rocco Chinnici, judge killed by the Mafia in 1983.

9 March 2015

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The European Day of Righteous

The value of individuals and personal responsibility

On May 10, the European Parliament in Strasbourg adopted the Written Declaration establishing March 6th as European Day in memory of the Righteous.
The concept of Righteous, born from the elaboration of the Yad Vashem Memorial to remember the non-Jews who rescued the Jews, becomes the patrimony of all humanity.
The term "Righteous" is no longer confined to the Holocaust only; it becomes a point of reference for those who remember the genocide and totalitarianism in all their efforts to defend human dignity.

The significance of this decision is reminiscent of one of the cornerstones of European culture: the value of the individual and personal responsibility.

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