The value of the cities


This is a famous speech that La Pira gave in Geneva at the Assembly of the International Red Cross Association. Its main argument concerns the basic and essential duty (and the right) of all cities and of their administrators: to build and preserve peace

(...) My sweet and harmonious Florence created, in a sense, by both man and God, to be like a city on the mountain, light and comfort on the path of men, must not be destroyed! 

This same desire for life is confirmed, along with Florence – thanks to a mission tacitly entrusted to the mayor of the Tuscan capital – by all the cities of the world: cities, I repeat, capitals and otherwise, large or small, historic or recent, artistic and otherwise: all alike. They unanimously claim their inviolable right to exist: no one has the right, for whatever reason, to destroy them.

(...) The current generations have no right to destroy a patrimony that has been entrusted to them in view of future generations! These are assets that come down from past generations and will be bequeathed to the present generations, the legal heirs of the trustees: the ultimate beneficiaries of this legacy are the next generation

(...) I came to affirm the right of human cities to exist, a right which we hold, we of this generation, but this right belongs, to an even greater extent to the future generations, a right whose historical, social political, natural, and religious value, becomes larger in proportion as the deep and mysterious meaning of the city is clarified in today's human meditation. (...)