The competition notice "Adopt a Righteous 2018/19" - proposed by Gariwo for the Association for the Garden of the Righteous of Milan (Gariwo, Municipality of Milan and UCEI), this year in collaboration with MIUR (The Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research) -, saw the participation of 300 institutes from all over Italy with more than a thousand works (literary texts, videos, comic stories, photographs) inspired by the stories of the Righteous.
In 1930s, in Prague, when Nazism started its tragic process in Europe, Milena Jesenska claimed that to have a dignified life, one had to look after men who wanted to take the world towards a bad direction. If you do not pay attention, sooner or later bad politics will enter your home and become an unpleasant guest at your table.
Who is a Righteous person? He or she is the one who often acts in a void and takes up responsibility when the world around seems to be headed in the wrong direction. I thought of the reflections of Agnes Heller and Hannah Arendt after the Gariwo network meeting we held in Milan in the presence of the representatives of the hundred of Gardens of the Righteous that have been born in Italy, Europe and the world.
Journalist Stefano Pasta currently holds a Research Grant at CREMIT (Research Center on Education for Media in Information and Technology), directed by Pier Cesare Rivoltella, and works with the Centro di ricerca sulle relazioni interculturali (Research Center on Intercultural Relations), run by Milena Santerini – both of the Catholic University of Sacred Heart of Milan. With him we have talked about his new book "Razzismi 2.0. Analisi socio-educativa dell’odio online", published by Morcelliana, Scholé. This is what he told us.
As early as in 2007, I devised and edited a book entitled as L’odio. Irreparabile? (Hate. Irreparable?). Taking it up again today, I was really struck by two things: the extreme topicality of the issues it dealt with and, above all, the observation that hatred has nearly become a dominating value. By Nadia Neri
What will the Gardens of the Righteous that we are building with enthusiasm all over Italy, Europe and on the shores of the Mediterranean, be like in the next years? Will they become a place of collective growth of the society, showing the examples set by the best people who believed in the future of humanity, or will they tell us about tales of people who have acted according to values, which were different – and even opposite – values to those we see emerge in today’s world?
Massimo Recalcati, in his latest book, "Contro il sacrificio" (against sacrifice), clearly explains the function of the psychoanalyst and the educator towards the people affected by distortions of personality, unable to live their life peacefully and to listen to the law of their desire and crushed by the inhibitions of their super-ego.
"When you have the courage to speak truth to power about the possible consequences of nationalism, you can convince also the people who think differently. Today’s problem is that everything is accepted without a cultural resistance." By Gabriele Nissim
“The Possible Good” can be meant as "I can't do more", "I can't do any better". However, it is the instance of the moment that defines possibility. To express this with more depth, it is "the call”. The Righteous responds to an urgency. By Salvatore Natoli
The Righteous, by their deeds, show that there is never a necessary reason to sacrifice a life, even for a lofty ideal, because otherwise, we would enter an absolute contradiction: the ideal, in fact, is to make life inviolable. By Massimo Recalcati
The key issue I sought to address is that of giving some references to the youths, but the mechanism was not focused on offering them any models. We don’t have to hallow the Righteous. If we pass on the idea that the Righteous are equal to us, with faults and contradictions, we show that goodness is possible. By Gabriele Nissim
Humans are storytellers. We not only tell stories about the past to influence the future behaviour of others, we often retell the stories we hear. Some of the stories told and retold for generations by humans everywhere are descriptions of sacrifice for the sake of others. These stories have a special importance because they can have a very specific influence on those who hear them.