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Vassilis Vasilikos angry about “Z” in Russian tanks – “I feel disgust and sadness” says the author of the book – anthem for life

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The author emphasizes that “The 'Z' is a letter he loved long before he wrote his book, as it was the symbol of French trains and could be seen at all train stations.

Vassilis Vasilikos, author of the book entitled “Z” on which the film “Z” by Costas Gavras was based, in an interview given to the German newspaper TAZ, states that he is deeply indignant that the Russian war propaganda has now been appropriated the specific letter.

“After the publication of the book and the film by Costas Gavras in 1969,” Z “became a symbol of the life and struggle of Grigoris Lambrakis, but of course also a symbol of world peace”, he notes and adds:

“I feel disgust and sadness when I see it on Russian tanks. “Because the 'Z' was a symbol against the colonels who consolidated their dictatorship in my country with tanks on April 21, 1967. Thus, the 'Z' was and is the opposite of the 'philosophy' of the tanks.”

< p> The interview given to TAZ by Vassilis Vasilikos in detail:

Mr. Vasilike, with “Z” you wrote a piece of world literature in 1966, the film adaptation of Costas-Gavras won the Oscar. Now the “Z” has become a symbol of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Not only is it painted on Russian military vehicles, but it is also used for war propaganda inside and outside Russia. How do you feel about that?

Vassilis Vasilikos: I feel disgust and sadness when I see the letter “Z” in Russian tanks. Because the “Z” was a symbol against the Greek junta, which consolidated the dictatorship in my country on April 21, 1967 with tanks. That said, the “Z” was and is the opposite of the “philosophy” of tanks!

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According to official Russian information,” Z “means “Za Pobedu!”, Meaning “for victory”. What does “Z” mean to you?

The “Z” is a letter I loved long before I wrote my book as it was the symbol of French trains and you could see it at all train stations. After the release of the book and the film of Kostas-Gavras in 1969, “Z” became a symbol of the life and struggle of Grigoris Lambrakis, but of course also a symbol of world peace. “Z” means “Lives”.

Your book deals with the circumstances of the assassination of left-wing MP Grigoris Lambrakis after a peace rally in Thessaloniki in May 1963. He was an ardent pacifist, so is not it?

Yes, it was by the way, the original title was not “Z” but “O Lambrakis Zei”. However, the mention of Lambrakis's name seemed very impressive to me, so in the autumn of 1966 I decided on “Z”. It was the eve of the dictatorship, when the political climate in Greece was already very tense. A few decades later, a gardener from the municipality of Peristeri, Attica, told me that at some point he had accidentally arranged the flowers in a “Z” shaped flower bed in the city. That is why he was severely reprimanded by his superiors and accused of extreme political motives. The junta eventually banned the use of the letter “Z”.

After the dictatorship you were, among others, president of the Union of Greek Writers and Greek Ambassador to UNESCO. You are a member of parliament for Syriza since 2019. You are now 87 years old. What is your hope for the future?

The presence of hope has nothing to do with my age. Of course, hope has nothing to do with the existence of difficulties. Hope is life force. I can not imagine myself or a world without hope. And the ideas of the left continue to be my only hope.

Source: politis.com.cy

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