I was at the United Nations on 23rd April and I could see how backwards the world is going on things that we already deemed to be acquired, about which we did not think we should discuss anymore. We are in a world driven by different currents, but I feel that in Italy there is a force that can stabilize our ship, the same one that is turning upside down when it comes to the values of democracy, mutual respect and humanity.
About 800 students, like every year, have coloured the ledge of Monte Stella hill that hosts the Garden of the Righteous Worldwide. They carry banners, placards and messages for the Righteous. “You are our teachers of Humanity”, you read on one of these placards.
Let’s say the truth. If today Monte Stella has become for the new generations a place of memory we owe it mainly to the Garden of the Righteous of all the World, opened in 2003 by the then major of Milan Gabriele Albertini.
On March 14th, on the occasion of the Day of the Righteous, Istvan Bibo, Simone Veil, Wangari Maathai and Denis Mukwege will be honoured at the Garden of Milan. The theme chosen by the Association for the Garden of the Righteous is "Humanity at a crossroads. Europe and Africa between indifference and responsibility".
The Association for the Garden of the Righteous of Milan, composed by Milan City Hall, Gariwo and UCEI, has chosen the theme and the figures for the ceremony of the next Day of the Righteous: "The Human Kind at a crossroads. Europe and Africa between indifference and responsibility”. That's why, we will honor four new figures: Istvan Bibo, Simone Veil, Wangari Maathai and Denis Mukwege. The Committee also approved the nominations received by the Association for the Virtual Garden of Monte Stella hill.
“The stories of the Righteous – i.e. of brave women and men, who have run huge personal risks to save human lives from the persecution at the hands of bloody regimes, oppressive apparatuses, totalitarian ideologies – are a living memory, and will keep on being lofty civil and human examples, which we all shall draw inspiration from." said Italy's President Sergio Mattarella in his message to Gariwo. It is precisely with this spirit that, also this year, Gariwo cooperated with the Milanese institutions, associations and schools to mark the Day of the Righteous with several different events.
This year the honoured Righteous have been Costantino Baratta, Daphne Vloumidi, Ho Feng Shan and Hammo Shero. Theirs are tales of people who have not turned a blind eye, but instead have acted, setting into motion their own gifts and abilities, trying to save lives. The ceremony recounted.
I will tell you the truth. What gave me the strength not to stop helping were not my faith or my dream of a better world, but the real daily needs of all the thousands of people who arrived every day on our island, not on holiday but to seek rescue from the death that was threatening them at their door front.
"Our greatest wish would be to get to Sweden one day to go and see them. Our fiercest regret is instead not to have gone out earlier that morning, as we usually did, at about 6, not 7. We would have saved twice as many…"
An excerpt from the book I disobbedienti (Guerini e Associati) by Pietro Kuciukian, Honorary Consul of Armenia to Italy and co-founder of Gariwo, about the figure of Hammo Shero, the Yazidi chief who sheltered the Armenian refugees during the genocide of 1915-16.
On March 14, 2018, at 10.30 am, four new Righteous will be honoured at the Garden of Monte Stella in Milan - Ho Feng Shan, Hammo Shero, Costantino Baratta and Daphne Vloumidi - in the presence of the Mayor of Milan Giuseppe Sala, the Director of Gariwo Ulianova Radice and of the honoured Righteous or their representatives.
The Associazione Giardino dei Giusti di Milano has chosen the theme and the Righteous to be celebrated in the ceremony of European Day of the Righteous 2018: “The Righteous of hospitality. Beyond boundaries to pull down the walls”. The figures who will be honoured on next 6 March are Ho Feng Shan, Shero Hammo, Costantino Baratta and Daphne Troumpounis.