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07.10.06: Zatouna, Centre of Theodorakis's World

On 7 October 2006 the Museum - International Centre Mikis Theodorakis in the former school of Zatouna was officially inaugurated.

Logo of the Museum

From place of confinement to open space

From 21st August 1968 to 26 October 1969, the village of Zatouna meant confinement to Mikis. It was there that the hated junta deported its most intractable enemy, in order to get him out of its way, remove him from the world, condemned to reclusion in a beautiful but hostile place.

Even if on arriving Mikis saluted the Great God Pan, his „childhood friend“ (Theodorakis), the Arcadia he had so cherished in his youth became more and more distressing as time went by, with the incessant quibbles, the continual controls and body searches – not just for him but for his wife, Myrto, and his children, Margarita and Yorgos – and the periods of exercise between two policemen: an image that went all round the world.

And yet, something happened at Zatouna that the dictators had not reckoned with: Theodorakis’ spirit of resistance was further strengthened and his sense of creativity found a new direction. In Zatouna, he discovered original musical sources that he was better able to explore precisely because of his confinement and inner solitude.

The „Arcadia“ cycle thus counts as one of his most varied, profound and rich compositions: his own poems, moving in their simplicity for „Arcadia I“, impressive in the strength of their refusal for „Arcadia VI“ (Pean, To the unknown poet); the sorrowful poems of Manos Eleftheriou (The murderer’s bazaar, For mother and friends), the poignant verses of Manolis Anagnostakis (I am speaking, Charis 1944), the rich „Odes“ of Kalvos, the astonishing „Survivor“ of Takis Sinopoulos, but above all, Angelos Sikelianos’ extraordinary „March of the Spirit“ … As many masterpieces that Mikis managed to smuggle out of his „eagle’s nest“ (Theodorakis) and which are proof that the aspiration to freedom is stronger than the forces of repression; that the will to resist of the composer and fighter has always thwarted the efforts of his enemies to break him.

Today, 38 years later, Zatouna has become an open space, a place of welcome. In the school that Mikis’ children were obliged to attend, the first museum of its kind is being inaugurated in homage to Theodorakis, the man the junta banished, the figurehead of our own struggles for a world of peace, freedom and justice.

The homage thus being paid him also reflects the will of the inhabitants of Zatouna to demonstrate their proud, indomitable character, worthy of that of the universally respected figure whom they are honouring.

Guy Wagner
English translation: Ariel Wagner-Parker

Photo Eleftherotypia

We are pleased the show seven series of photos of this event.

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