Liliana Segre, the full speech to the Senate: “I preside over the anniversary of the march on Rome. It's dizzy'

The senator for life opened the 19th legislature as provisional president of the Palazzo Madama hall, with a speech in which she recalled the need to implement the Constitution and fight hatred. Greetings to the Pope and the former head of state Napolitano

  ++ Senate: Secretariat mentions the shoah, Aula standing ++ Senator Liliana Segre, 92, opens the session of the Senate as provisional president of the chamber Video

Liliana Segre opened the 19th legislature as provisional president of the Senate, addressing a 'warm greeting' to the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella and a thought for Pope Francis. You then read a message from the President Emeritus of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano, to whom you addressed 'best wishes in the hope of being able to see him soon re-established in the Senate'. The senator spoke for about 22 minutes, reiterating the need to 'implement the Constitution' and 'fight hatred'. “ In this month of October – Segre said among other things – in which the centenary of the march on Rome falls… it is my turn to preside and it is impossible for me not to feel a kind of vertigo”. Here is the full speech. – video

Follow the election of the President of the Senate live: Liliana Segre presides Follow the election of the President of the Senate live: Liliana Segre presides

Liliana Segre writes every week on Oggi: read her column – or

All of us in these weeks have been weighed down by the chilling atmosphere of the war that has returned to our Europe, with all its load of death, destruction, cruelty, terror in an endless madness. I join Mattarella's words: peace is urgent and necessary, the way to rebuild it passes through the pursuit of truth, international law, and the freedom of the Ukrainian people.

Today I am particularly excited in front of the role that fate has in store for me on this day. In this month of October, which marks the centenary of the march on Rome which gave rise to the fascist dictatorship, it is precisely my turn to temporarily assume the presidency of this temple of democracy which is the Senate of the Republic.
The symbolic value of this casual circumstance is amplified in my mind because you see, in my day school started in October and it's impossible for me not to feel a kind of vertigo remembering that same little girl who on a day like this in 1938 was disconsolate and lost forced by racist laws to leave her elementary school desk empty. And that the same one today finds itself by a strange fate even on the most prestigious bench in the Senate.

The Senate in the 19th legislature is a profoundly renewed institution, not only because for the first time even young eighteen-year-olds were able to vote for the first time, but because the numbers are different. Belonging to such a rarefied assembly cannot fail to increase in us the awareness of our responsibility. Staying here doesn't mean doing our duty, with discipline and honor; we will also have to allow ourselves to leave out of this assembly the shouted politics that have increased so much disaffection with the vote, interpreting high and noble politics. Be sincerely listening, with kindness and meekness.
The elections of 25 September saw a lively competition between forces that have presented alternative programs and opposing visions as right. The people have decided, it is the essence of democracy. The majority has the right and duty to govern, minorities to oppose. Common to all is the imperative to preserve the Republic and its institutions, which belong to everyone, are nobody's property. Large mature democracies prove to be such if, beyond partisan expressions, they know how to find themselves united in an essential nucleus of shared values, respected institutions, recognized emblems.

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In Italy, the main anchor is the Republican Constitution which, as Piero Calamandrei said, is not a piece of paper, but the testament of 100,000 dead who fell in the long struggle for freedom, which did not begin in September 1943 but which saw Giacomo Matteotti.
The Italian people have always felt it was a friend, and have always defended it, because they felt defended by it. Of course, everything can be perfected, and even the Constitution can be amended, but allow me to observe that if the energies that have been spent to correct the Constitution for decades had been spent on implementing it, our country would be a more just and even happier country.
The thought inevitably turns to article 3, in the classrooms the constituent fathers and mothers did not limit themselves to banning discrimination related to sex, social conditions, politics. They also wanted to leave the task to the whole Republic: to remove the economic and social obstacles that limit the participation of all in the political, economic and social organization of the country.

Not poetry, not philosophy. While we have different agendas for pursuing it, the task is this: remove obstacles.
Great nations also recognize each other around civil holidays. Why shouldn't it be the same for us? Why on earth should they be lived as divisive dates, rather than with an authentic republican spirit on April 25 Liberation Day, May 1, Labor Day, June 2, Republic Day. The full sharing of national holidays, of the dates that mark a pact between generations, between memory and the future, could also be of great value by example.
Another issue on which it is desirable to overcome any political barrier is that of the fight against the spread of the language of hatred, against the barbarism of public debate.

I conclude with two wishes.

I hope that the new legislature will keep the prestige of the Senate high, protect its prerogatives. For a long time, the mortification of the role of the legislative power due to the abuse of emergency decrees has been lamented by many quarters. But in my naivety as a mother of a family, I think it is necessary to interrupt the long series of mistakes of the past, and it would be enough for the majority to remember what they denounced when they were a minority, and for the minority to do the same. A healthy and loyal institutional collaboration, without detracting from the physiological distinction of roles, would make it possible to bring most of the legislative activity back to its natural course, while guaranteeing certain times for the votes.

Lastly, I hope that all of Parliament will be able to make an extraordinary and urgent effort in collaboration with the government to respond to the cry of pain that comes from families and businesses who are fighting against the costs of inflation, who see a dark future, who fear that inequalities and injustices expand rather than shrink. In this sense we will always have the European Union by our side, with the solidarity it has shown itself capable of in recent years. There is not a moment to lose: the message must come from democratic institutions that no one will be left alone before fear and anger can reach dangerous levels and overflow.

Senators, dear colleagues, good work.