Day of the Righteous of Humanity
“Their example makes us stronger”

Five new exemplary figures were honored last week on the European Day of the Righteous in a ceremony in Monte Stella – Milan. They are Dag Hammarskjöld, the Secretary General of the United Nations Nobel Peace Prize winner who lost his life during a mission to solve the Congolese crisis; Carlo Urbani, the Italian doctor who first identified and classified SARS; Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia, the Chinese Nobel Peace Prize Winner and his partner who have spent their life in establishing an authentic democracy in China; Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the judge of the United States Supreme Court, the second woman in American history to hold that office and the first female member of the Jewish community to serve on the Court, who has given a great contribution to the affirmation of women’s rights in the US.
During the event, held online, the president of Gariwo – Garden of the Righteous Worldwide Gabriel Nissim, addressed the Italian government with the formal request “to appoint an advisor on the genocides in progress around the world and to always hold a session of the Foreign Commission to inform the public opinion on human rights violations and the international mechanisms that can prevent genocides”.
Nissim then pointed out that dangers derive today from countries that have created political systems antithetical to democracy “such as China and fundamentalist countries on one side and on the other states such as Russia and Turkey, where democracy is purely a facade and where, despite elections, free voices in the information are silenced and opponents are locked up in prison”.
The theme of democracy however, he warned, does not only concern totalitarian countries or the various autocracies. Indeed, it crosses the democratic countries themselves “as we have seen with the assault on the Capitol in Washington or the birth of illiberal democracies in Poland and Hungary”. It is also a fact that different populist groups, through the use of social networks and a culture of contempt, “have tried to undermine political pluralism and the division of powers in a democratic society”.
Hence Gariwo’s decision to honor in this edition, which was joined by the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli and the President of the Chamber Roberto Fico, “moral figures who are an example for the battle for democracy, not only for their countries, but for the whole world”.
The UCEI vice president Giorgio Mortara also spoke from Monte Stella. “In the first phase of the pandemic – he said – the only real bulwark was the abnegation and spirit of sacrifice of health care workers who paid a high toll in human lives and to whom we direct our thoughts today. But there is also another type of righteousness: one who is capable of preventing Evil”. In this sense, the ethics of responsibility, he continued, “must encourage everyone to behave consciously and aimed at protecting not only themselves but also the other”.
In a message, the President of the Union Noemi Di Segni stressed that “since its establishment, the Day of the Righteous has been a precious opportunity to meet, reflect, and take stock of the state of health of our society, its level of awareness, and the values it is called upon to defend. It is a reasoning even more valid now, in front of the many challenges the pandemic poses us every day. This day is an invitation to take action in our everyday life and in our closest relationships, in the belief that we can always be the ones who make a difference for the good”.