Rossella Miccio, president of Emergency – Imagoeconomica
«Choosing a side is a political act: our time is a social time, and our choices influence the lives of others. War is a tragic example of this. We need people who believe in peace ». Rossella Miccio is the president of Emergency, the humanitarian association founded by Gino Strada, which now meets in Reggio Emilia for the annual national meeting.
This year’s theme is in one key word: choice. Because?
It is the one that most reflects our time: the “choice” of war, that of exclusion, of human rights trampled on, both abroad and in Italy. Therefore we thought of a series of meetings with personalities from various backgrounds, including journalists, artists, writers, philosophers, field workers and representatives of civil society, called to reflect on our choices and to recall the sense of the values expressed by our Constitution. These too, in his time, had been the fruit of a “choice”, and remain the core values of a company.
What is the guiding principle that summarizes Emergency’s commitment and vision?
In all the countries where we work, every day over three thousand colleagues guarantee care to anyone who needs it and make a simple but fundamental idea concrete: if the rights are for everyone, care must be for everyone. Also in Italy. We have a Constitution that says that the right to care is guaranteed to any human being in our territory.
The conflict in Ukraine has exposed contradictions and raised goodwill. How do you observe these relapses?
On the one hand, we have registered this willingness to welcome and understand how important solidarity is, especially towards those fleeing from wars. The doors of Europe have been opened in particular to refugee women and children. Unfortunately we have not seen the same diligence for those fleeing from other wars, and this should make us reflect: war is always absolute evil, regardless of who does it.
What responsibility does politics have?
Once again we have witnessed the “choice” of those who re-proposed the automatism of the military response as the only solution to conflicts. At the gates of Europe we would not have expected it. And this has triggered a disappointing unilateral reaction even in mass communication, as if there was and is no alternative to the use of weapons.
Loved or hated. Heroes, when it was necessary to intervene during the pandemic, almost “enemies” every time you have your say on conflicts, rights violations, migrations. Has the war of aggression in Ukraine caused you to register a change?
Unfortunately, the exploitation of any commitment, including humanitarian activity, continues to surprise me. Yet the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and our Constitution exclude the possibility of making differences between people. Certainly the last few have not been easy years. We have found ourselves on several occasions being reprimanded because according to some we should limit ourselves to treating people in their countries of origin or in conflict areas, and not when they arrive here or when they need to be rescued at sea. However, right from the day of Gino Strada’s death we have had confirmation of how widespread there is, as evidenced by the thousands and thousands of people who have been close to us and ask us to continue following his example.
Anyone who has known Gino Strada knows that he never stopped designing. What commitments and what dream did he leave you as an inheritance?
Gino had this ability to always look ahead. We were finishing one hospital and he was already thinking about the next one. He has left us many projects and many proposals, starting from Africa with the prospect of a network of health centers of excellence that unites various African countries. We have opened the second hospital in Uganda and are already discussing with the various ministers how and where to extend this network based on rights for all around the world. Gino Strada’s great dream was that wars would disappear, and that Emergency would become useless. Our “choice” is to believe it.