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New inauguration of the Garden of the Righteous of Milan

after the redevelopment works

Ribbon-cutting ceremony with Life Senator Liliana Segre

Ribbon-cutting ceremony with Life Senator Liliana Segre

On Sunday, 6 October 2019, the inauguration of the new Garden of the Righteous of Milan was held at Monte Stella hill, after the redevelopment works. An entire day of celebration that has included several meetings and activities. The most significant moment was undoubtedly the opening ceremony in the presence of the Life Senator Liliana Segre, who gave a strong and emotional testimony for the new beginning of this place of dialogue and positive examples.

The day began with a guided training with Ara Khatchadourian, a marathon runner known for bringing a message of peace and dialogue between peoples in Europe and the Middle East. At the end of the race, Khatchadourian deposited a flag of peace next to the stones dedicated to the Righteous. Francesco Panetta, a specialist in the 1000-metre flat and the 3000-metre hedges - discipline in which he achieved the most prestigious international successes between the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s - and Marco Marchei, a great athlete and journalist, were also present.

The ribbon cutting was held at the "Tree of Memory", preceded by the testimony of Liliana Segre who said: "The Righteous are not and have never been indifferent" - said the Senator - “they can be simple people, humble, not heroes declaimed, they are those who have made the choice to get out of the mass of indifferent. The word indifference struck then and also strikes today, because it is much easier to be indifferent and turn to the other side, saying 'this does not concern me'. The Righteous are a gift that humanity has received”. Together with Life Senator Liliana Segre, there were Gariwo's president Gabriele Nissim, Giorgio Mortara, UCEI vice-president, Marco Rasconi, of the Central Charitable Commission of the Cariplo Foundation, Lamberto Bertolé, president of the Milan City Council and Pierfrancesco Maran, Councillor for Urbanism, Greenery and Agriculture of the City of Milan. Nissim said: "I have this ambition, that those who come to visit Milan will also come here to the Garden of the Righteous, a place of moral value for the international community". 

The architects of the redevelopment project Stefano Valabrega and Giacomo Crepax, the Councillor for the Environment and Mobility of City Hall 8 Enrico Fedreghini and Simone Zambelli, President of City Hall 8, were also present. The Minister of Cultural Heritage, Dario Franceschini, sent a message on the occasion of the inauguration, promising to "visit soon" the new Garden.

Among the many personalities who took part in the day, there were also Fedele Confalonieri, president of the Mediaset, Gherardo Colombo, former magistrate who has actively contributed to important investigations including the discovery of the Lodge P2, the crime Giorgio Ambrosoli and "Mani Pulite", Helena Janeczek, writer Strega Prize 2018 sensitive to the importance of education to History and Memory, Antonio Scurati, Strega Prize 2019 and narrator without filters of resistance and fascism, the writer Gaia Manzini and the "Terzo Segreto di Satira".

There were representatives of different religions such as the Chief Rabbi of the Jewish Community of Milan Rav Alfonso Arbib, the Waldensian pastor Daniela Di Carlo, Abd al-Ghafur Masotti, head of interreligious dialogue at COREIS, Yusuf Abd al-Hakim Carrara, Vice President of COREIS, a delegation from UCOII, Maryan Ismail with a delegation from the Sufi community, Don Rigoldi, President of "Comunità Nuova", Father Giuseppe Bettoni, of the Arché Foundation. Mario Delpini, Archbishop of Milan, who visited the Garden together with Gabriele Nissim, declared: "This place shows that we are extraordinary because we are able to do good even on the signs of destruction and evil”.

In the afternoon Claudio Bisio joined us with his wife Sandra Bonzi.

Sunday was enriched by concerts, readings, workshops for children, guided tours and an exhibition on the history of the Garden of the Righteous, from its creation in 2003 until today. Thanks to the guided tours animated by actors, many people have been able to get to know some of the most significant figures honoured in the Garden, in a light but also reflective atmosphere. Among the spectators of one of the visits there was also the sister of the Righteous Pierantonio Costa, happy to read the name of her brother in the Garden of the Righteous in Milan. "They are emotional stories, one more beautiful than the other". In the morning, the children's workshops introduced children to stories of goodness and dialogue: "Story of the tree and the little Righteous seed", a workshop for children aged 6 to 10 years, edited by Veronica Franzosi and Chiara Ieva, and "Orizzonti", reading and workshop edited by Oasi del Piccolo Lettore, starting from the silent book by Paola Formica. For the entire duration of the event, it was also possible to collect a small kit to continue playing in the Garden. “Giustino: la guida del Giardino”.

The reading on the Righteous in the “Dialogue Room”, in collaboration with “Vita e Pensiero”, the publishing house of the Catholic University of Sacred Heart, was exciting and rocked by the magical music that came from the Ulianova Radice Amphitheatre, where the pianist Ani Martirosyan enchanted with her talent. The second concert was that of Master Gaetano Liguori, who carried everyone into the atmosphere of his "Piano for the Righteous".

In the “Dialogue Room” were also held two debates conducted by journalist Simone Zoppellaro. One on the theme "The Righteous and Sport" with Ara Khatchadurian and the honorary consul of Armenia in Italy and co-founder of Gariwo Pietro Kuciukian. The other on the theme "Climate Change and Human Rights" with Emanuele Bompan, environmental journalist and geographer, author of the “Atlante geopolitico dell’acqua” (Hoepli).

In the evening there was the moving dedication of the Amphitheatre to Ulianova Radice, director and co-founder of Gariwo, who died last year, with the words of the other founders Gabriele Nissim, Pietro Kuciukian and Anna Maria Samuelli. Then the closing concert, "Music at sunset" with the Trio Pierre Louys and the Choir In...Canto directed by Antonella Gianese.

Gariwo and its president Gabriele Nissim thank all those who were close on this special day and in the years that preceded this historic moment.

14 October 2019

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The Gardens of the Righteous

worldwide

The Gardens of the Righteous are the remembrance places dedicated to those who have opposed human rights violations of recent history, marked by the widespread use of genocidal practises.

After the Garden of the Righteous in Yad Vashem, inside the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, more gardens have been created all over the world, like in Yerevan besides the Museum of the Armenian Genocide, in Milan, Sarajevo, in Poland, in the United States.

The trees symbolize life and invite us to defend it against the heralds of death; the example of the Righteous becomes a  warning for our conscience and proves that even under extreme circumstances people can choose not to remain indifferent.

This is why the Gardens of the Righteous are the educational memory of the newer generations, the protagonists of tomorrow's world, to whom they offer not only a warning, but also a workable alternative and a message of hope.

The gardens of the Righteous