Dimitar Peshev  

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A letter from Gabriele Nissim
to the Prime Minister of Bulgaria

Dear Mr. Prime Minister Ivan Kostov,

I have just learned that you are coming to Italy in May, and I have the honour to invite you personally to a great event that will take place in Turin, on the 24th of May at 9.00 p.m.,( the day Bulgaria celebrates Cyril and Methodius) in which the extraordinary figure of Peshev will be commemorated.

This great event is organised by Mr Ernesto Olivero, candidate for the Nobel Prize for Peace, and indefatigable leader of Sermig, the Arsenal for Peace, one of the most important Youth Associations in our country.

Peshev's celebration will be held at the end of a 687 Km march, in which thousands of young people from all over Italy will raise funds for the Albanian refugees and will invoke peace and reconciliation between the Serbs and people from Kossovo. The young people will be admitted in fron of Pope John Paul II and Italy's Prime Minister, Mr Massimo D' Alema.

The reason why Peshev will be remembered at the end of this extraordinary initiative for peace, is that Kossovo's tragedy made the figure of your outstanding vice-President of Parliament an extremely topical one, a great example for the Balkans.

It is the proof that there is always a chance against evil: Peshev as well was a convinced nationalist who, in the forties, dreamt of a Great Bulgaria. He probably had the same dream many Serbs are having today. However, when faced with a genocide, he felt ashamed of himself, and succeeded in changing the history of your Country at the last minute.

Unfortunately there are no Peshevs in Serbia up until now. Nobody in Parliament in Belgrade stood up and declared aloud, just like the Bulgarian vice-President had done, that he "does not agree". Nobody explained that the evil inflicted to the people from Kossovo is an evil that will be turned against the executioners themselves, against the Nation's own reputation, against one's own conscience. Nobody is allowed to become an accomplice of a genocide for the sake of a nationalistic ideal: the moral "amputation" of a people is much heavier than a territorial one, and this is the extraordinary teaching that Peshev left to us.

The Italian actor and film director Roberto Benigni - winner of 3 Oscars -, the most important religious authorities such as the Cardinal of Turin, Giovanni Saldarini, the great philosopher Norberto Bobbio, have been invited to the celebration.

For all these reasons we would be extremely pleased if you could be present at this event during your first visit to Italy.

I thank you for your attention and hoping to welcome you in Turin on May 24, I remain,

Very truly yours,

Gabriele Nissim

A sculpture by Alberto De Braud Milan, April 26th 1999

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