The mind set of the imperialists was Re: European Central Bank President Wim Duisenberg has a spot of bother

Gary MacLennan g.maclennan at qut.edu.au
Sun Dec 22 17:49:18 MST 2002


At 05:43  22/12/02 +0100, Jurriaan wrote:

>I saw the Israeli ambassador on TV last night, they interviewed him on
>location in one of Queen Beatrix's castles (Drakenstein). He didn't have
>much to say, except that Sharon (whom many Dutch liberals are critical of)
>aimed to "win this war" and then, once that was solved, peace would break
>out. A comment which I thought at least had the merit of novelty, it would
>make you laugh, if you didn't have to think of all the blood and gore and
>destruction during this year.



This put me in search of one of my favourite quotations.  It is from
Tacitus' Agricola and is reputed to be a speech made by the Scottish leader
Calgacus before the battle of Mons Graupius (CE 80).  It is truly uncanny
in its insight into the mind of the imperialists.

"...the Romans, more deadly still than they, for you find in them an
arrogance which no reasonable submission can elude. Brigands of the world,
they have exhausted the land by their indiscriminate plunder, and now they
ransack the sea. The wealth of an enemy excites their cupidity, his poverty
their lust of power. East and West have failed to glut their maw. They are
unique in being as violently tempted to attack the poor as the wealthy.
Robbery, butchery, rapine, with false names they call Empire; and they make
a wilderness and call it peace. "

BTW Peter Watkins uses the final phrase of this quotation at the end of his
great film Culloden.

regards

Gary


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