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​The Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Righteous

Paolo Gentiloni's remarks for 6 March

Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni

Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni

"Good morning everybody. I wish to thank non-profit Association Gariwo and its Chairman Gabriele Nissim for inviting me to this ceremony at the Garden of the Righteous. Unfortunately, it was impossible to me to join you in Milan today, but through this message I wish to express my appreciation for this initiative, that was set up to the purpose of remembering those who, often alone, have opposed and still oppose cases of genocide and crimes against humanity wherever they are perpetrated.

I am therefore happy to announce that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will soon host a Garden of the Righteous. We decided to plant it inside the Italian Embassy of Tunis, which has welcome our proposal enthusiastically and with heart-felt participation. We thought of Tunisia for it is a highly symbolic and crucial country in the heart of the Mediterranean.

In Italy, as dutifully as it is, we dedicate many memorial efforts to the gloomiest pages of past history, but our awareness of past evils does not always automatically make us immune from the present ones. Daesh’ hatred of civilisation and plurality and its wish to destroy them is unfortunately today the most blatant example of it. This, while also the short-sightedness of fences that are raised in Europe putting at risk one of the very foundations of Europe, i.e. the free circulation of people, is compelling us to look further ahead.

This is why it is also essential to keep cultivating a memory of Good and remember those who, while crimes were committed, were emphasises the importance of our personal responsibility and and calls us to do our best to perform Good in our days.

Therefore I feel urged to pass on my greetings and thanks to you and the “Righteous” women Halima Bashir, Vian Dakhil, Sonita Alizadeh, Flavia Agnes, Azucena Villaflor and Felicia Impastato, to whom today we will dedicate the trees of this park, wishing that these places of good memories, urging and inspiring us to act for Good, continue spreading, as it is already happening in Italy and all over the world."

9 March 2016

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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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