Official commemoration of the contribution of Dimitar Peshev and other deputies 
to the saving of the Bulgarian Jews, held in the Bulgarian National Assembly
     

    SPEECH GIVEN BY MR. PIERLUIGI PETRINI, 
    VICE PRESIDENT OF THE ITALIAN CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES


    Good morning!  I am excited and I am delighted to be here with you this morning.  I am really privileged to convey to the Bulgarian parliament and to the Bulgarian people the greetings and regards of the Italian parliament and the Italian people. 
    The life of Dimitar Peshev went through the contradictions, tensions and enormous tragedies that characterised the history of this latest century.  He went through all of those while armed with his moral strength alone, with his steadfast perseverance, with his accomplishments.  He personified those qualities and to a certain extent shouldered the heavy burdens of his time.  However, Dimitar Peshev undoubtedly managed to escape, i.e. to avoid being a tool in the hands of such history, but become a principal character instead and make his presence felt on one of the heroic pages of history.  And this is reminder for all of us that it is history that puts together all the acts of every single person.  The history of nations is made up by the past of every single man.  This makes us feel extremely responsible for the future, which must be peaceful and we are the ones who must build up the peaceful future of our continent. 

    The story of Dimitar Peshev's life was told by Mr. Nissim with exceptional aptitude and competence and I would like to thank him therefor.  And I will now, if I may, move on beyond the actual meaning of this commemoration ceremony.  That is to say, this need not be just a remembrance of Dimitar Peshev's life.  We better do our best to draw the lessons that will guide our actions in the future.  I believe there is no better way to commemorate, to pay the owing tribute to the memory of Mr. Peshev than make the best of use and simply actualise his heroic feat. 

    And the reason why we have gathered here today to re-read together this remarkable page of our history  ­ we, the Italian delegation, and the Israeli delegation, who have come to visit the Bulgarian parliament, the reason is that we are here because history has once and forever stigmatised the totalitarian systems ­ Nazism, fascism, communism.  They were declared bankrupt.  What has remained is the relationship of ideological contradictions.  The liberal democracy alone has survived and has won a clear victory.  However, it would be a terrible mistake to assume that such loneliness will guarantee, will ensure the democratic advancement, the freedom, and the equality in our today's world. 

    ."

This would be a tragic mistake, because we have so far managed to clear the field from the political and historic blunders and misdeeds.  But we have not yet cleared away the ideological and cultural errors and misunderstandings that caused that rejected history and its politics.

Demestre, a French counter-revolutionary, wrote on the occasion of the constitution that installed man in the centre of the political construction.  He said:  'I do not know the man as such.  Never have.  I have known Poles, French, English.  Thanks to Montesquieu I am aware of the existence of the Persians as well, but I have never known the man.'  That is to say, this a rather abstract concept.  Demestre was convinced, he considered that every individual person was characterised by his/her own imprinting, by his/her racial, ethnic and cultural origin, while liberal democracy does place man in the very centre of its edifice, man with his dignity, with his vested inalienable rights, with his freedom.  Federalism, which is the most advanced part of liberal democracy, believes that it is possible to integrate the variances, that it is possible to amalgamate certain contradictions without any violence, by respecting identity, by keeping the variances.  They simply need to be united, because the common denominator, this element of unification, is man, the person, the individual.

And vice versa, he who believes that unification is impossible outside of homogeneity, places in the centre the people, and not the individual person.  However, when the individual peoples advanced into democracy, it then started to degenerate because democracy serves the individual person and not the nation as a whole.

And paraphrasing Demestre I would like to say that I have never known neither the Bulgarians, nor the Israelis, nor the Italians.  I have known people from Italy, people from Bulgaria, people from Israel.  People who have an obligation to build a future for this world of ours, a future that will be peaceful and will feature brotherhood and equality.

We will soon be faced up with the problems of a new millennium.  Those problems are pressing, complicated, huge ­ disbalance in the distribution of wealth; demographic pressures and imbalances; the corresponding migration processes; social inequality; environmental problems.  These are all problems that need to be addressed on a world-wide scale .  They require the ability of democracy to go beyond the national framework and to build up institutions capable of serving as mediators in setting and establishing truly world policies.

Dimitar Peshev and his many fellows who signed the paper provided the evidence that the Bulgarian nation does feature such high morality, accomplishments and strength.  It has the strength to cover this rough road.  We do hope to be at the level you are and will pledge to you our wholehearted support.  Thank you for your attention.


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