Kostas Georgakis (Greek: Κώστας Γεωργάκης) (23 August 1948 – 19 September 1970) was a Greek student of geology, who, in the early hours of 19 September 1970, set himself ablaze in Matteotti square in Genoa as a protest against the dictatorial regime of Georgios Papadopoulos.
Georgakis grew up in Corfu in a family of five. His father was a self-employed tailor of modest means. Both his father and grandfather distinguished themselves in the major wars that Greece fought in the 20th century. He attended the second lyceum in Corfu where he excelled in his studies. In August 1967, a few months after the 21 April coup in Greece, Georgakis went to Italy to study as an engineer in Genoa. He received 5,000 drachmas per month from his father and this, according to friends' testimony, made him feel guilty for the financial burden his family endured so that he could attend a university. In Italy he met Rosana, an Italian girl of the same age and they got engaged. In 1968 Georgakis became a member of the Center Union party of Georgios Papandreou.
On 26 July 1970, Georgakis gave an interview to a Genovese magazine anonymously, during which he revealed that the military junta's intelligence service had infiltrated the Greek student movement in Italy. In the interview he denounced the junta and its policies and stated that the intelligence service created the National League of Greek students in Italy and established offices in major university cities. A copy of the recording of the interview was obtained by the Greek consulate and the identity of Georgakis was established.
Soon after he was attacked by members of the junta student movement. While in the third year of his studies and having passed the exams of the second semester Georgakis found himself in the difficult position of having his military exemption rescinded by the junta as well as his monthly stipend that he received from his family. The junta retaliated for his involvement in the anti-junta resistance movement in Italy as a member of the Italian branch of PAK. His family in Corfu also sent him a letter describing the pressure that the regime was applying to them.
Fearing for his family in Greece, he decided that he had to make an act to raise awareness in the West about the political predicament of Greece.
Once he made the decision to sacrifice his life, Kostas Georgakis filled a canister with gasoline, wrote a letter to his father and gave his fiancée Rosana his windbreaker telling her to keep it because he wouldn't need it any longer.
Then by 1.00 a.m. on 19 September 1970 he drove his Fiat 500 to Matteoti square. According to eyewitness accounts by street cleaners who were working around the Palazzo Ducale there was a sudden bright flash of light in the area at around 3.00 a.m.. At first they did not realise that the flame was a burning man. Only when they approached closer they saw Georgakis burning and running while ablaze shouting "Long Live Greece", "Down with the tyrants", "Down with the fascist colonels" and "I did it for my Greece." The street cleaners added that at first Georgakis refused their help and ran away from them when they tried to extinguish the fire. They also said that the smell of burning flesh was something they would never forget and that Georgakis was one in a million.
According to an account by his father who went to Italy after the events, Georgakis's body was completely carbonised from the waist down up to a depth of at least three centimetres in his flesh. Georgakis died nine hours after the events in the square at around 12 noon the same day.
His last words were: Long Live Free Greece.
Reaction of the junta
The Greek newspaper To Vima in the January 2009 article "The 'return of Kostas Georgakis" with the subtitle "Even the remains of the student who sacrificed himself for Democracy caused panic to the dictatorship" by Fotini Tomai, supervisor of the historical and diplomatic archives of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The article reports that throughout the crisis in Italy the Greek consulate sent confidential reports to the junta where it raised fears that the death of Georgakis would be compared to the death of Jan Palach (through express diplomatic letter of 20 September 1970 Greek: ΑΠ 67, εξ. επείγον, 20 Σεπτεμβρίου 1970) and could adversely affect Greek tourism while at the same time it raised concerns that Georgakis's grave would be used for anti-junta propaganda and "anti-nation pilgrimage" and "political exploitation".
Through diplomatic letter dated 25 August 1972 (ΑΠ 167/ΑΣ 1727, 25 Αυγούστου 1972) Greek consular authorities in Italy reported to the junta in Athens that an upcoming Italian film about Georgakis would seriously damage the junta and it was proposed that the junta take measures through silent third-party intervention to obtain the worldwide distribution rights of the film so that it would not fall into the hands of German, Scandinavian, American stations and the BBC which were reported as interested in obtaining it. The film was scheduled to appear at the "Primo Italiano" festival in Torino, at the festival of Pesaro and the Venice anti-festival under the title "Galani Hora" ("Blue Country"; in Italian, "Ρaese azzurro"). Giani Sera was the director and the film was a coproduction by RAI and CTC at a total cost of 80 million Italian lire. The dictatorship was also afraid that the film would create the same anti-junta sentiment as the film Z by Costa-Gavras.
The minister of Foreign Affairs of the junta Xanthopoulos-Palamas in the secret encrypted message ΑΠ ΓΤΛ 400-183 of 26 November 1970 (ΑΠ ΓΤΛ 400-183 απόρρητον κρυπτοτύπημα, 26 Νοεμβρίου 1970) suggests to the Greek consular authorities in Italy to take precautions so that during the loading of the remains on the ship to avoid any noise and publicity. It was clear that the junta did not want a repeat of the publicity that occurred during Georgakis's funeral procession on 22 September 1970 in Italy.
On 22 September 1970 Melina Merkouri led a demonstration of hundreds of flag and banner-waving Italian and Greek anti-junta resistance members during the funeral procession of Georgakis in Italy. Merkouri was holding a bouquet of flowers for the dead hero. According to press reports Greek secret service agents were sent from Greece for the occasion. In another diplomatic letter it is mentioned that Stathis Panagoulis, brother of Alexandros Panagoulis was scheduled to give the funeral address but did not attend.
According to diplomatic message ΑΠ 432 23 September 1970 (ΑΠ 432, 23 Σεπτεμβρίου 1970) from the Greek Embassy in Rome then ambassador A. Poumpouras was transmitting to the junta that hundreds of workers and anti-junta resistance members accompanied the dead body from the hospital to the mausoleum in Genoa where he was temporarily interred. In the afternoon of the same day a demonstration of about a thousand was held which was organised by leftist parties shouting "anti-Hellenic" and anti-American slogans according to the ambassador. In the press conference which followed the demonstrations Melina Merkouri was scheduled to talk but instead Ioannis Leloudas from Paris and Chistos Stremmenos attended, the latter bearing a message from Andreas Papandreou. According to the ambassador's message Italian police took security precautions around the Greek consulate at the time, at the request of the Greek Embassy in Rome.
Another consular letter by consul N. Fotilas (ΑΠ 2 14 January 1971, ΑΠ 2, 14 Ιανουαρίου 1971) mentioned that on 13 January 1971 the remains of Georgakis were transferred to the ship Astypalaia owned by Vernikos-Eugenides under the Greek flag. The ship was scheduled to leave for Piraeus on 17 January carrying the remains of Georgakis to Greece. With this a series of obstacles, mishaps, adventures and misadventures involving the return of the remains came to an end.
On 18 January 1971 a secret operation was undertaken by the junta and his remains were finally buried in the municipal cemetery of Corfu city. A single police cruiser accompanied the Georgakis family which transported to the cemetery by taxi.
Letter to his father
My dear father. Forgive me for this act, without crying. Your son is not a hero. He is a human, like all the others, maybe a little more fearful. Kiss our land for me. After three years of violence I cannot suffer any longer. I don't want you to put yourselves in any danger because of my own actions. But I cannot do otherwise but think and act as a free individual. I write to you in Italian so that I can raise the interest of everyone for our problem. Long Live Democracy. Down with the tyrants. Our land which gave birth to Freedom will annihilate tyranny! If you are able to, forgive me. Your Kostas.
Letter to a friend
In a letter to a friend Georgakis mentions:
I am sure that sooner or later the people of Europe will understand that a fascist regime like the one based on Greek tanks is not only an insult to their dignity as free men but also a constant threat to Europe. ... I do not want my action to be considered heroic as it is nothing more than a situation of no choice. On the other hand, maybe some people will awaken to see what times we live in.
The Municipality of Corfu has dedicated a memorial in his honour near his home in Corfu city. His sacrifice was later recognized and honoured by the new democratic Hellenic Government after metapolitefsi.
In his monument a plaque is inscribed with his words in Greek. The monument was created gratis by sculptor Dimitris Korres.
Poet Nikiforos Vrettakos in his poem "I Thea tou Kosmou" (The View of the World) wrote for Georgakis:
...you were the bright summary of our drama...in one and the same torch, the light of the resurrection and our mourning by the gravestone...
On 18 September 2000 in a special all-night event at Matteoti square, Genoa honoured the memory of Georgakis.
In Matteoti square where he died, a plaque stands with the inscription in Italian: La Grecia Libera lo ricorderà per sempre (Free Greece will remember him forever). The complete inscription on the plaque reads:
Al Giovane Greco Constantino Georgakis che à sacrificato i suoi 22 anni per la Libertà e la Democrazia del suo paese. Tutti gli Uomini Liberi rabbrividiscono davanti al suo Eroico Gesto. La Grecia Libera lo ricorderà per sempre
which translates in English:
To the young Greek Konstantino Georgakis who sacrificed his 22 years for the Freedom and Democracy of his country. All Free Men shudder before his heroic gesture. Free Greece will remember him forever
I cannot but think and act as a free individual— Kostas Georgakis
Georgakis is the only known junta opponent to have committed suicide in protest against the junta and he is considered the precursor of the later student protests, such as the Polytechnic uprising. At the time his death caused a sensation in Greece and abroad as it was the first tangible manifestation of the depth of resistance against the junta. The junta delayed the arrival of his remains to Corfu for four months citing security reasons and fearing demonstrations while presenting bureaucratic obstacles through the Greek consulate and the junta government.
Kostas Georgakis is cited as an example indicating the strong relation between an individual's identity and his/her reasons to continue living. Georgakis' words were cited as an indication that his strong identification as a free individual gave him the reason to end his life.
- Once Upon A Time There Were Heroes, Direction: Andreas Apostolidis, Screenplay: Stelios Kouloglou, Cinematography: Vangelis Koulinos, Created by: Stelios Kouloglou, Production: Lexicon & Partners, BetacamSp Colour 58 minutes.
- Reportage without frontiers: documentary Title: "The Georgakis Case" Director: Kostas Kouloglou
- Ρaese Azzurro (Blue Country). Film by Giani Sera
- C. Paputsis, Il grande sì, Il caso Kostas Georgakis, Genova, Erga Edizioni, 2000.
- Jan Palach
- Jan Zajíc
- Evžen Plocek
- Ryszard Siwiec
- Romas Kalanta
- Oleksa Hirnyk
- Alain Escoffier
- Liviu Cornel Babeş
- Thích Quảng Đức
Citations and notes
- Story of Kostas in Corfu City Hall website at the Wayback Machine (archived 21 July 2011). Quote: During the years of dictatorship in Greece (1967-1974) many Corfiots were enlisted in resistance groups, but the case of Kostas Georgakis is unique in the whole of Greece. The 22years-old Corfiot student of geology with an act of self-sacrifice and a spirit of dynamic protest, which could not bear to see Greece under the military regime, set himself on fire the first morning hours of 19th September 1970 in the Matteoti Sq. in the Italian city of Genoa. For security reasons his body was buried in Corfu four months later, his self-sacrifice though, a rare event for that time, caused international sensation and was considered as one of the most important resistance acts of that period. Later the Hellenic State and his homeland Corfu honoured the man, who with his life became a symbol of resistance and patriotism, herald of the students' sacrifice in Polytechnion in 1973
- Annamaria Rivera (2012). Il fuoco della rivolta. Torce umane dal Maghreb all'Europa. EDIZIONI DEDALO. p. 118. ISBN 978-88-220-6322-9. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
geologia Kostas Georgakis, op- positore greco di cultura laica, esasperato dalle minacce e dalle rappresaglie subite da agenti dei servizi segreti greci in Italia, s'im- molò in piazza Matteotti per protestare contro la giunta dei Co- lonnelli.
- Helen Vlachos (1972). Griechenland, Dokumentation einer Diktatur. Jugend und Volk. ISBN 978-3-7141-7415-1. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
In memoriam Kostas Georgakis Er starb für die Freiheit Griechenlands so wie Jan Palach für die der Tschechoslowakei Lieber Vater, verzeih mir diese Tat und weine nicht. Dein Sohn ist kein Held, er ist ein Mann wie alle anderen, vielleicht ..
- Giovanni Pattavina; Oriana Fallaci (1984). Alekos Panagulis, il rivoluzionario don Chisciotte di Oriana Fallaci: saggio politico-letterario. Edizioni italiane di letteratura e scienze. p. 211. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
no di questi fu lo studente greco Kostas Georgakis, un ragazzo di 22 anni che il 29 settembre 1970 si bruciò vivo a Genova per protestare contro la soppressione della libertà in Grecia. La sera del suo sacrificio riaccompagnò a casa la ...
- Rivisteria (93-102). 2000. p. 119. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
Il caso Kostas Georgakis. Pag.250, L.25000. ISBN 88-8163-217-9. Erga, Genova. Il suicidio del giovane studente greco Kostas Georgakis in sacrificio alla propria patria nel nome di libertà e democrazia apre una finestra su trent'anni di storia ...
- Kostis Kornetis (15 November 2013). Children of the Dictatorship: Student Resistance, Cultural Politics and the "Long 1960s" in Greece. Berghahn Books. pp. 66–67. ISBN 978-1-78238-001-6.
In 1971 at the Piazza Matteotti in Genova, the young student Kostas Georgakis set himself ablaze in protest against the ... a Panteios student and presentday political scientist, recalls how he suffered when Georgakis died, being inspired by his ...
- To Vima The "return" of Kostas Georgakis" with the subtitle "Even the remains of the student who sacrificed himself for Democracy caused panic to the dictatorship" Article by Fotini Tomai supervisor of the historical and diplomatic archives of the Greek Foreign Ministry 11 January 2009 Greek: IΑΝΟΥΑΡΙΟΣ 1971 Η «επιστροφή» του Κώστα ΓεωργάκηΑκόμη και η σορός του φοιτητή που θυσιάστηκε για τη δημοκρατία προκαλούσε πανικό στη δικτατορία ΦΩΤΕΙΝΗ ΤΟΜΑΗ | Κυριακή 11 Ιανουαρίου 2009 Quote:"(ΑΠ ΓΤΛ 400-183, απόρρητον κρυπτοτύπημα, 26 Νοεμβρίου 1970). χούντας υπουργός Εξωτερικών Ξανθόπουλος-Παλαμάς, μόλις δύο μήνες αργότερα, συνιστώντας «ευαρεστηθήτε μεριμνήσητε όπως κατά μεταφοράν και φόρτωσιν σορού επί πλοίου αποφευχθή πας θόρυβος και δημοσιότης» (ΑΠ ΓΤΛ 400-183, απόρρητον κρυπτοτύπημα, 26 Νοεμβρίου 1970). " and "Εν μέσω πλήθους Ιταλών και ελλήνων αντιστασιακών οι οποίοι συνοδεύουν με σημαίες και λάβαρα τη νεκρώσιμη πομπή του Γεωργάκη, η Μελίνα Μερκούρη κρατώντας ανθοδέσμη για τον νεκρό ήρωα. Ανάμεσά τους, σύμφωνα με δημοσιεύματα του Τύπου, υπήρχαν αρκετοί μυστικοί πράκτορες σταλμένοι από την Ελλάδα " and «εκατοντάς φοιτητών και εργατών συνώδευσαν νεκρόν από νοσοκομείου μέχρι νεκρικού θαλάμου νεκροταφείου ένθα εναπετέθη. Συμμετέσχε και αριστερός Υποδήμαρχος Γενούης Geroflini.Απόγευμα αυτής ημέρας έλαβε χώραν προαγγελθείσα και οργανωθείσα υπό αριστερών κομμάτων διαδήλωσις.Συμμετέσχον περίπου χίλιοι με συνθήματα κατ΄ αρχήν ανθελληνικά και εν συνεχεία αντικομμουνιστικά αντιαμερικανικά. Εις συνέντευξιν Τύπου ην επρόκειτο δώση Μερκούρη,παρέστησαν αντ΄ αυτής οι Ιωάννης Λελούδας εκ Παρισίων και Χρίστος Στρεμμένος, όστις και εκόμισε μήνυμα του Α. Παπανδρέου. Κατόπιν ημετέρων ενεργειών,αστυνομία είχε λάβει ικανά μέτρα προστασίας εισόδου Προξενείου» and "σύμφωνα με πληροφορίες της προξενικής ελληνικής αρχής στη Βενετία, ετοιμαζόταν να προβληθεί στο φεστιβάλ Ρrimo Ιtaliano (Τορίνο), στο φεστιβάλ του Ρesaro και στο αντιφεστιβάλ Βενετίας ταινία με τίτλο «Γαλανή χώρα» («Ρaese azzurro») του σκηνοθέτη Τζιάνι Σέρα, συμπαραγωγή της RΑΙ ΤV και της εταιρείας CΤC, συνολικής δαπάνης 80 εκατομμυρίων λιρετών Ιταλίας, με σενάριο βασισμένο στη ζωή και το τέλος του Γεωργάκη και πολύ μικρές παραλλαγές." also "Σε άλλο τηλεγράφημα γινόταν μνεία του γεγονότος ότι δεν παρέστη τελικώς ο αδελφός τού Αλέκου Παναγούλη Στάθης, που είχε αρχικώς αναγγελθεί ότι επρόκειτο να εκφωνήσει τον επικήδειο. Ωστόσο η σορός του άτυχου νέου θα παραμείνει επί τετράμηνο στον νεκροθάλαμο του νεκροταφείου της Γένοβας και ύστερα από χρονοβόρα διαδικασία θα φορτωθεί εν μέσω περιπετειών στις 13 Ιανουαρίου 1971 στο υπό ελληνική σημαία πλοίο «Αστυπάλαια», πλοιοκτησίας Βερνίκου-Ευγενίδη, το οποίο, σύμφωνα με τον πρόξενο Κ. Φωτήλα, υπολογιζόταν να καταπλεύσει στον Πειραιά το μεσημέρι της 17ης Ιανουαρίου (ΑΠ 2, 14 Ιανουαρίου 1971). "
Translation by Google
- CEDOST Centro di documentazione storico politica su stragismo, terrorismo e violenza politica (Historical Documentation Centre on campaigns of violence, terrorism and political violence) at the Wayback Machine (archived 4 April 2008). Quote: Kosta Georgakis attended the University of Genoa in 1968 and was writing all'Ek-Edin (Youth Democratic Greek) body of the Centre belonged to which, among others, Alexandros Panagoulis and Andreas Papandreou. His intolerance for the dictatorship of the colonels led him to issue July 26, 1970 an interview to a magazine Genovese, a symbol, which, anonymously, not only denounced the crimes of the dictatorship, but made public the news that some people, pretending students, had formed an association called Esesi (National League of Greek students in Italy), with offices in major university towns Italian who worked for the Greek secret services (Kyp) and The recording of this interview came to the Consulate greek where Kostas was recognized and a few days after he was allegedly attacked by a all'Esesi of belonging. The political activity in the antidittatoriale is usually on ripercuoteva families remained in Greece and this is Georgakis showed very worried. He decided then that the only significant gesture that could be done without causing retaliation was to burn and had him shouting "Long live free Greece" on September 19, 1970 in Piazza Matteotti. and He left written to a friend: I am sure that sooner or later the people of Europe understand that a fascist regime like the one based on greek tanks is not only an insult to their dignity as free men but also a constant threat to Europe. ... I do not want my action is considered heroic as it is nothing more than a situation of no choice. On the other hand, maybe some people will awaken to which will see times that we live. (C. Paputsis, big yes, Kostas The case Georgakis, Genoa, Erga Editions). For four months his remains were insepolte because of bureaucratic obstacles that the Consulate and the greek government opposed carrying Corfu. (Translation by Google)
- G. Laschi (2012). Memoria d'Europa. Riflessioni su dittature, autoritarismo, bonapartismo e svolte democratiche. FrancoAngeli. p. 103. ISBN 978-88-568-4704-8. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
- To Pontiki: Κώστας Γεωργάκης: Η τραγική θυσία που κλόνισε τη χούντα. (Kostas Georgakis: The tragic sacrifice which shook the junta) (In Greek) Link not working but kept for historical purposes. Use working link below
Mirror of Pontiki article retrieved 17 March 2010 Quote:"«Αγαπημένε μου πατέρα. Συγχώρεσέ μου αυτή την πράξη, χωρίς να κλάψεις. Ο γιος σου δεν είναι ένας ήρωας. Είναι ένας άνθρωπος, όπως οι άλλοι, ίσως με λίγο φόβο παραπάνω. Φίλησε τη γη μας για μένα. Μετά από τρία χρόνια βίας δεν αντέχω άλλο. Δε θέλω εσείς να διατρέξετε κανέναν κίνδυνο, εξαιτίας των δικών μου πράξεων. Αλλά εγώ δεν μπορώ να κάνω διαφορετικά παρά να σκέπτομαι και να ενεργώ σαν ελεύθερο άτομο. Σου γράφω στα ιταλικά για να προκαλέσω αμέσως το ενδιαφέρον όλων για το πρόβλημά μας. Ζήτω η Δημοκρατία. Κάτω οι τύραννοι. Η γη μας που γέννησε την ελευθερία θα εκμηδενίσει την τυραννία! Εάν μπορείτε, συγχωρέστε με. Ο Κώστας σου»."
- Jason Manolopoulos (2011). Greece's 'Odious' Debt: The Looting of the Hellenic Republic by the Euro, the Political Elite and the Investment Community. Anthem Finance Anthem Press. p. 70. ISBN 9780857287717.
- Georgakis' story Quote: "«ζωντανός σταυρός φλεγόμενος και κραυγή urbi et orbi υπερκόσμια: – Λευτεριά στην Ελλάδα. Κώστας Γεωργάκης – αυτοπυρπολούμενος στην πλατεία της Τζένοβα» Γιάννης Κουτσοχέρας"
- Italian book archive quote: la storia del ventiduenne greco che nel settembre del 1970 si diede fuoco in piazza Matteotti a Genova al grido di "Viva la Grecia libera". Era iscritto al terzo anno di Geologia all'università di Genova (2000- ed. Erga, Genova) ristampa . Translation by Google: The history of the greek ventiduenne that in September 1970 he gave fire in Piazza Matteotti in Genoa shouted "Long live Greece free." He was entered in the third year of Geology at the University of Genoa (2000 - ed. Erga, Genoa) reprint.
- Simerini at the Wayback Machine (archived 21 July 2011): Memory of a brave lad. Thursday 11 September 2008. (Μνήμη ενός γενναίου παλικαριού ΡΕΠΟΡΤΑΖ: Κώστας Σπηλιωτόπουλος Πέμπτη 11 Σεπ 2008) via Internet Archive
- sansimera.gr Quotes: "Ο μεγάλος μας ποιητής Νικηφόρος Βρεττάκος απαθανάτισε τη θυσία του με τους στίχους από το ποίημά του «Η Θέα του Κόσμου»: «…ήσουν η φωτεινή περίληψη του δράματός μας…στην ίδια λαμπάδα τη μία, τ' αναστάσιμο φως κι ο επιτάφιος θρήνος μας…»" "Στο σημείο της θυσίας υπάρχει σήμερα μια μαρμάρινη στήλη με την επιγραφή στα ιταλικά: «Η Ελλάδα θα τον θυμάται για πάντα». Η Χούντα αποσιώπησε το γεγονός κι επέτρεψε τη μεταφορά της σορού του στη γενέτειρά του με καθυστέρηση τεσσάρων μηνών, φοβούμενη τη λαϊκή αντίδραση. Η πράξη του αφύπνισε τη διεθνή κοινή γνώμη για την κατάσταση στην Ελλάδα, που στέναζε κάτω από την μπότα των Συνταγματαρχών."
- Reportage without frontiers at the Wayback Machine (archived 30 August 2010) Documentary Title: "The Georgakis Case" Quote: "Τίτλος : ΥΠΟΘΕΣΗ ΓΕΩΡΓΑΚΗ Θέμα : ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΑ ΙΣΤΟΡΙΚΑ Τριάντα χρόνια μετά, στις 18 Σεπτεμβρίου του 2000, η Γένοβα ξενύχτησε. Στο κέντρο της πόλης, στην πλατεία Ματεότι, έγινε μια ειδική εκδήλωση αφιερωμένη στον Κώστα Γεωργάκη.Το ντοκιμαντέρ του Στέλιου Κούλογλου φέρνει στην επιφάνεια μια υπόθεση η οποία ακόμη και μετά την πτώση της δικτατορίας έμεινε για πολλά χρόνια στο αρχείο." (In Greek)
- Zillmer, John C. (Michigan State University) (2008). The unity of identity: A defense of an ideal. ProQuest. p. 74. ISBN 9780549844228. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
- Greek Film Festival Quote: Costas Georgakis was a student at the University of Genoa in Italy. On September 18, 1970, Georgakis, then barely 22 years old, chose death by self-immolation, in order to protest the dictatorship in Greece. Although his act was concealed by the Greek state, it aroused international public opinion and turned the world's attention to Greece's military regime. This documentary reconstructs the main facets of the life of Costas Georgakis, his childhood and adolescence in Corfu, his spiritual and political concerns, his participation in the struggle against the dictatorship, his decision to sacrifice his life in an ultimate act of protest against the dictatorship. People who knew Georgakis are interviewed, including his family, his childhood friends, his professors, his comrades in the resistance movement, but also Genovese, for whom Georgakis is a part of history and a symbol of democracy. This film was screened to an audience of students from the University of Athens, who are the same age as Georgakis was when he made the big decision, and their reactions were also filmed. How do the young people of today view Georgakis' act? Do they consider it useless or pointless? For which issues would they be prepared to sacrifice their own lives?
- Story of Kostas on the website of the Corfu City Hall
- Italian website with tribute to Kostas Georgakis at the Wayback Machine (archived 4 April 2008)