The "Gardens of the Righteous Worldwide" is an international project being promoted in Italy by a committee of intellectuals to highlight the experiences of all those men and women of the 20th century who tried to react to crimes against humanity.
Now these experiences have suddenly been brought home to us here today, traumatized as we all are by the recent attack on New York’s Twin Towers.
Regretfully unheeded, Primo Levi often underlined how Man deceives himself into thinking that the evil that befalls others has nothing to do with him, does not touch him, as if it took place in some isolated spot, removed from the rest of mankind.
Our responsibility lies in the fact that we have ignored those men and women, whose behaviour is somehow foreign to our own culture, who have tried to resist and to defend human dignity in those far-off places.
Now, however, we must take example from the human and moral experience of those who behaved righteously during the various genocides of the last century, because they can help us and show us what to do.
First step of the project was the International Conference
"There is always an option to say 'yes' or 'no'. The Righteous against the genocides of Armenians and Jews" held in Padua, Italy, from November 30 to December 2 2001 and promoted by Cultural Department of the Padua City Council, University of Padua, Gardens of the Righteous Worldwide Orginizing Committee.
The project continues this year with the seminar "There is always an option to say 'yes' or 'no'. Testimony of the Righteous in the world"
10.30am Aula Magna
Opening remarks by the Padua Authorities, the pro-rector of Padua University Giuseppe Zaccaria and the president of the Committee for the Garden of the Righteous Worldwide Gabriele Nissim
- Antonia Arslan (University of Padua): The publication of the proceedings of the international conference "There is always an option to say 'yes' or 'no': the Righteous against the genocides of the Armenians and the Jews"
- Boghos Levon Zekiyan (University of Venice) and Pietro Kuciukian (International Committee of the Righteous for the Armenians – Memory is the Future): The figure and work of the Turkish publisher Ayse Nur Zarakolu
- Svetlana Broz (Committee for the Garden of the Righteous Worldwide in Sarajevo): The figure and work of Jovan Divjak, a Serb general who helped defend Sarajevo.
Ayse Nur Zarakolu will receive the Padova per i Giusti [Padua for the Righteous] award, assigned by the Padua City Council, and the Comitato Internazionale dei Giusti per gli armeni [International Committee of the Righteous for the Armenians] award assigned by Ardavast Serapian, President of the Fondazione Stefano Serapian.
Jovan Divjak will receive the Padova per i Giusti [Padua for the Righteous] award assigned by the Padua City Council.
- Ayse Nur Zarakolu
- Jovan Divjak
3pm – Aula Nievo – Discussion
- Gabriele Nissim (essayist): The reason for our search for the Righteous in all genocides
- Stefano Levi della Torre (essayist, member of the Executive Council of the Jewish Community in Milan): The concept of Righteousness in Jewish tradition
- Julia Dobrovolskaja (University of Venice and Catholic University of Milan):
Lev Razgon and his memories of 17 years in the gulags
- Sergio Rapetti (translator and publishing consultant): Good and Evil in Varlam Shalamov
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