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Germany Threatens Citizens With Three Years in Prison for Using Letter 'Z'

Germany Threatens Citizens With Three Years in Prison for Using Letter 'Z' | 28 March 2022 | The symbolic usage of the letter "Z" is now "verboten" in anti-free speech Germany, according to a number of federal states. It can now be regarded a criminal offense punishable by up to three years in prison. Residents in at least two German states have been threatened with criminal prosecution if they use the letter "Z" as a sign. While the letter seemed innocuous a few months ago, it has subsequently gained notoriety as a result of Russian soldiers deploying a Z-like mark on their vehicles, most likely to prevent friendly fire difficulties. The letter has become a rallying cry for Russian servicemen's fans, as well as Russia's President Vladimir Putin. Consequently, authorities in anti-free speech Germany have decided to clamp down on the letter's usage, according to a report by broadcaster Deutschlandfunk.

[Recall the political thriller and masterpiece Z (1969), directed by Costa-Gavras. "The film presents a thinly fictionalized account of the events surrounding the assassination of the democratic Greek politician Grigoris Lambrakis in 1963." The movie was nominated by the Academy Awards for both Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film, a rarity. Z won in 1970 for Best Foreign Language Film and made Time's list of The 15 Best Political Films of All Time (2012).

Here we have art imitating life...and life imitating art. The jaw-dropping ending? Wikipedia summarizes:

An epilogue provides a synopsis of the subsequent turns of events. Instead of justice being served, the prosecutor is mysteriously removed from the case, several key witnesses die under suspicious circumstances, the assassins receive relatively short sentences, the officers receive only administrative reprimands, the deputy's close associates die or are deported and the photojournalist is sent to prison for disclosing official documents. The heads of the government resign after public disapproval, but before elections are carried out, a coup d'état occurs, and the military seize power. They ban modern art, popular music, avant-garde novelists, modern mathematics, classic to and modern philosophers and the use of the term "Ζ" (Greek: zíta, or Greek: zi, which is used by protesters against the former government), which refers to the deputy and means: "He lives."

This is where we are, folks. A speech clampdown so shocking that we have to harken back sixty years to recall a different dictatorship that similarly banned a letter from the alphabet. That action was deemed to be so egregious that Hollywood later saw fit to document it, and name a movie after it, so the regime that actually banned a letter would never be forgotten. --Lori Price]