14 May 2023

In ancient Greece, the term idiots was used to refer to people who wanted to remain private, only cared about their own stuff, didn't want to get interested in politics, democracy, war. Ancient bourgeois, so to speak.

from Wikipedia: The word "idiot" comes from the Greek noun ἰδιώτης idiōtēs 'a private person, individual' (as opposed to the state), 'a private citizen' (as opposed to someone with a political office), 'a common man', 'a person lacking professional skill, layman', later 'unskilled', 'ignorant', derived from the adjective ἴδιος idios 'personal' (not public, not shared)

The secondary school I was sent to by my father was big on the classics, five years of Latin and three years of ancient Greek were mandatory, in my case it was eight years of Latin because I was a miserable student of all other foreign language requirements (I failed English completely) and the less said about my Greek endeavours the better (well, I can quote the odd party piece, first lines of Homer and so on). Philosophy was a main subject all the way through, the school hall was a muralist paradise dedicated to Plato's cave allegory and there were weekly debating sessions and stoicism weeks where we all had to pretend to adhere to logic, calm and self control over wild passions. It could be fun at times. But at the same time, there was rock and roll and drugs and sex, in that order for most of us.

Anyway. this afternoon I watched the live transmission of Volodymyr Zelenskyy, president of Ukraine, receiving a prize* in the German city of Aachen. The prize was awarded to the people of Ukraine and their president. He looked exhausted. It was a long affair, speeches, music, poetry, more speeches, the Ode to Joy and many people in tears. I felt very European today. Gratefully so.

Basically, we were reminded once again that thanks to Ukraine we can sit on our patio in the spring sunshine with a cup of tea, watching the birds and the bees. Or in other words, if on the night of February 25th of last year, Zelenskyy would have accepted the offer made by the US to leave his country and seek asylum somewhere safe, we could be hiding in our basements. Like a flash, this memory my father once told me, came up. The people of Ukraine are defending Europe because this is what happened on February 25th of 2022.

Let's not become idiots. Now is not the time.


*the International Charlemagne Prize which is annually awarded for work done in the service of European unification. The prize is named for Charlemagne, a Medieval emperor who is considered by most historians as the father of Europe.


Boud said...

You are so right. Ukraine is fighting a proxy war for all of us. No wonder he's exhausted.

Pixie said...

I think this is true. Ukraine is paying the price for the rest of us to enjoy peace, or at least, not all out war. There are no winners in war and if Putin thinks people will give up their homeland, ask the historians how well that worked out for Hitler.

NewRobin13 said...

He is truly a brave and heroic leader to be as fearless as he is now. I deeply respect his efforts and commitment. Thank you for writing this, Sabine.

Bathwater said...

I guess I am an idiot by definition then.

Ms. Moon said...

I, too, am an idiot.
Putin certainly underestimated what Ukraine could and would do.

ellen abbott said...

the man is standing between us and a would be world conquerer. if Ukraine falls, Putin will not stop there. we all owe him every bit of support we can muster.