March 9, 2012
"Only now do I realize what price was paid for building the ancient civilizations. The Egyptian pyramids, the temples, and Greek statues - what a hideous crime they were! How much blood must have poured on the Roman roads, the bulwarks, and the city walls. Antiquity - the tremendous concentration camp where the slave was branded on the forehead by his master, and crucified for trying to escape! Antiquity - the conspiracy of free men against slaves!
You know how much I used to like Plato. Today I realized he lied. For the things of this world are not a reflection of the ideal, but a product of human sweat, blood and hard labour. It is we who built the pyramids, hewed the marble for the temples and the rocks for the imperial roads, we who pulled the oars in the galleys and dragged wooden ploughs, while they wrote dialogues and dramas, rationalized their intrigues by appeals in the name of the Fatherland, made wars over boundaries and democracies. We were filthy and died real deaths. The were ‘aesthetic’ and carried on subtle debates.
There can be no beauty if it is paid for by human injustice, nor truth that passes over injustice in silence, nor moral virtue that condones it.
What does ancient history say about us? It knows the crafty slave from Terence and Plautus, it knows the people’s tribunes, the brothers Gracchi, and the name of one slave - Spartacus.
They are the ones who have made history, yet the murderer - Scipio - the lawmakers - Cicero or Demosthenes - are the men remembered today. We rave over the extermination of the Etruscans, the destruction of Carthage, over treason, deceit, plunder. Roman law! Yes, today too there is a law!"

— Tadeusz Borowski (1922-1951)

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