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The Olympionic Righteous

Yusra Mardini

Yusra Mardini

It will be called Tokyo 2020 but will happen in 2021. Historical decision to postponed the Japanese Olympic edition to the next year, following Covid-19 emergency: is the first time that the Games are cancelled in a period of Peace. Last time it was during the years of the First and the Second world war: Berlin 1916, Tokyo 1940, London 1944. An already experienced story, then, for the Japanese Country.

This time we are fighting a different conflict, an enemy that knows no flags, but, compared to 76 years ago, it was not the man who wanted it. We have the opportunity to face this tragedy by collaborating and rediscovering the importance of the international cooperation. And also, maybe, the importance of the positive values of our societies, incluing those concerning sport. 

And it is precisely among sportspeople that we find some Righteous figures who fought for life and human dignity, giving us an example which is even more important to remember in those difficult days. 

Emil Zátopek
Czech athlete symbol of the Olympic Games in Helsinki, in 1952. Pioneer of the interval training, he supported the Prague Spring and opposed the normalisation by the Soviet tanks. For this reason he was removed from all his positions and submit to forced labor.

Yusra Mardini
Young Syrian swimmer, with the outbreak of war she fled the country. When the rubber dinghy begins to take on water,  she dives in the sea with her sister pushing the dinghy and so saving all the castaways. Since then she fights for the rights of the refugees.

Ludwing “Luz” Long
German athlete, he didn't esitate to suggest the winning strategy to the african-american advesary Jesse Owens during the Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936, becoming universal symbol of brotherhood among the peoples. For this act Hitler sent him to the front in Sicily, where he died in 1943. 

Věra Čáslavská
Czech athlete, the best in the world in 1968, she sided with Aleksander Dubček signing the anti-soviet manifesto "Two Thousand Words". In the Olympic Games in Mexico City , shortly after the invasion of Czdchoslovakia, turned her back to the Sviet flag.

Hassiba Boulmerka

Middle distance runner, first algerian athlete to win an olympic gold medal and first African women to win a wolrd title. She was attacked and threaten by islamic integralists in Algeria that blamed her for showing off her body while running. 

Tommie Smith e John Carlos
African-American sprinters, in the Olympic Games in Mexico City on October 16, 1968, after getting on the podium for the awards ceremony they made a strong symbolic act, raising the closed fist to reaffirm the battle for the african americans' civil rights in America.

Peter Norman

Australian athlete, at the moment of Tommie Smith and John Carlos' protest during the Olympic Games in Mexico City he showed himself sympathetic with the runners' claim, pinning on his shirt the patch of the Olympic Project for human rights.

25 March 2020

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Civil courage

the strength of human dignity

Genocide cases and extreme circumstances of human rights violations, persecutions and deprivation of freedom have occurred all over the world. Those who find the courage to oppose, safeguard their own moral integrity, assessing the duty of truth, reporting the crimes against humanity and struggling to defend the founding value of civil coexistence can be defined as Righteous peopleJournalists like Sihem Bensedrine in Tunisia and writers like Gao Xingjian in China, diplomats like Enrico Calamai in Argentina and artists like Sunila Abeysekera in Sri Lanka, students like Bo Kyi in Burma and (union) activists or politicians like Maria Elena Moyano in Peru, Guillermo Chen in Guatemala, Fannie Lou Hamer in the USA, scientists, lawyers, doctors, intellectuals like Vassili Nesterenko in Belarus, Sylvie Maunga Mbanga in Congo, Halima Bashir in Darfur, Hashem Aghajari in Iran. Not to forget the prominent female figures advocating the rights of women trampled on in many world areas, like Betty Makoni in Zimbawe, Hawa Aden Mohamed in Somalia,  Khalida Toumi Messaoudi in Algeria,  Lydia Chaco in Mexico.
As well as the best-known advocates of human and civil rights like Nelson Mandela in South Africa, Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma, Anna Politkovskaja in Russia, Orhan Pamuk in Turkey, Natasha Kandic in Serbia and Svetlana Broz in Bosnia, Ayaan Hirsi Ali from Somalia, the mothers of Plaza de Mayo in Argentina. 

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