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A call for Students from the Rector of the University of Florence Reporting in English

Florence – This is the announcement for Students from the Rector of the University of Florence Luigi Dei to enhance virtuous behaviours to face the Convid-19 illness. 

Dear students, dear young people of every part of the world, I am the Rector or President of the University of Florence, my name is Luigi Dei and I am a scientist, professor of chemistry. This is a very complicated moment for our planet and we must keep lucidity and reasoning.

I would like to make a call so that, independently on the restrictive measures adopted in the various countries, we can obtain that the virtuous behaviours of single persons prevail everywhere. We have to remind that the sum of these single behaviours results in virtuous behaviours of the whole society. I believe we will be able to win this battle only by this way: miracles do not exist, we must avoid the contaminations and therefore we must sacrifice for some time our having company. There are no alternatives; it’s simple, as much as complicated to reach.

A way to achieve this objective is by means of coercion and the limitations of private freedom; if, on the contrary, we want to claim that democracies are systems with greater degree of civilisation, well it’s time to show it with concrete facts. Please young people, use first time the social communication by exploiting its excellent virtue totally neglected until now: social networks may allow to have a social life at distance without physical contacts!

Please, create chats on Whatsapp, smile, exchange photos on Instagram, listen to music together, look at your preferred movies, behave as if you were in a pub or disco, use virtual reality, but remain at a distance of kilometres, not two metres! This is not the proper and bombastic call of a Rector or President of a University, but rather of a man of science who is trying by means of every instrumentation to rationally interpret this very difficult and serious moment. As young, like you are today, it’s right to feel strong and invincible, it’s natural to think that this plague will spare you, but … everybody of you has grandfathers and grandmothers belonging to older generations, has beloved relatives and friends who could need sanitary assistance due to urgencies independent or not on the Coronavirus.

We must think not only to us, but also to the others: solidarity, remember, is one of the six rights of the European Charter; please, adapt your behaviours not to the risks you believe to run individually, but to the risks of all your beloved people, who could be in the future less lucky and needing an assistance which is a fundamental right in our developed societies. Follow rigorously the indications to not gather, so that the contamination will slow down: make it, please, also and especially for all those physicians, nurses, volunteers who are doing all one can for saving human lives and not making to collapse our sanitary systems.

The great philosopher Immanuel Kant wrote: “the solidarity of the human genus is not only a noble and beautiful sign, but a pressing necessity, a kind of ‘to be or not to be’, a question of life or death”. Today respecting the claim to avoid as much as possible the social contacts is a pressing necessity, we cannot not to follow everybody with total conviction and to convince everyone to make it. I am certain that you will follow me along this road of civic duty: let’s go ahead with wisdom and serenity. Thank you for attention.

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