How did you feel on the day of the attack on ‘Charlie Hebdo’?
Vauro : «Like many others, feelings of pain and confusion that were made more profound by the empathy that unites satirical artists; I mean the empathy that comes from a particular way of conveying things, through imagination and art. A devastating pain».
How do you think the events in Paris will influence, or have already influenced, the concepts of freedom of the press and free speech?
Vauro :«I greatly fear that it has already happened, at least in Italy; there have been many people who have championed freedom of the press; many of whom had oppressed and never sympathized with satire previously».
France has welcomed many Italian cartoonist over the years. Do you think the situation is any different there?
Vauro :«Yes it is. In my opinion, France has had a reaction – a surge of secularism. A critical ability and of dialogue has emerged which comes from certain dogmatic philosophies».
You’ve been to a lot or war zones. Do you think that there are ‘A’ and ‘B’ victims? (For example, with reference to the horrors that happened in Nigeria at the same time as the events in Paris?)
Vauro :«Absolutely, there’s such strong evidence for this that it should offend anyone with a conscience. In Nigeria terrible things are happening, and then you only have to look round the corner; there’s ethnic cleansing going on in the Ukraine, [Vauro just got back from here]. It’s only a 3 hour flight from Rome but no-one talks about it».
You call yourself ‘a peace fundamentalist’. Who do you think are the most dangerous enemies?
Vauro :«They’re always the same; those who want and create wars. It sounds hackneyed, but the big powers, the economies and finances of many Western governments are involved. War is a tumour and metastasizes – we can’t isolate ourselves from it. Terrorism and war are synonymous. But war is also terror, even when it’s carried out with bombs or smart missiles».
Have you ever received any personal threats?
What direction do you think satire will take now, and what boundaries can be pushed after what happened?
Vauro :«I hope it goes ahead with the tragic cheerfulness that has always characterized satire, and stays deaf to the beat of the call-up drums… otherwise satire will end and propaganda of death or confrontation begins».
Who do you think is doing genuine satire in Italy?
Vauro :«There are a lot of people. Almost all those who do satire, (such as Ellekappa and Altan) make things interesting, but the real contradiction is that Italy no longer has a satirical paper. There’s no more satire on television or in comedy, and yet there are many talented satirists who are sometimes forced to go abroad in order to express themselves».
What did you think about the demonstration that took place in Paris?
Vauro :«All power to the people who took part, there was so much humanity, people of every colour… behind the front row!»
Do you believe it’s ok to publish cartoons about ‘Charlie Hebdo’?
Vauro :«Yes, because an act of violence is being answered with straight solidarity, although I think there isn’t a paper in Italy that would have published a cartoon milder than Charlie Hebdo».
Thanks for your time Vauro!
«Thank you. Can I just add something. Seeing as you’re from around here, can I just say goodbye to my dear friend Primetto. Ciao Primetto».