OPINION

Our history can’t be trashed

The terrible spectacle of Greece’s archeological sites transformed into rubbish dumps may leave the political elite unmoved, but it causes deep indignation among those who believe that our history does not deserve to be trashed. Our leaders obviously think that Greece, which is about to impress the world with its Olympics projects, has no reason to respect monuments such as the Tomb of Marathon and the Tomb of Salamis. To the leaders of nouveau riche Athens, we dedicate a small extract of Hegel’s «Philosophy of History» (1830-31). «… Greater battles, unquestionably, have been fought; but these live immortal not in the historical records of Nations only, but also of Science and of Art – of the Noble and the Moral generally. For these are World-Historical victories; they were the salvation of culture and Spiritual vigor… How often, on other occasions, have not men sacrificed everything for one grand object! How often have not warriors fallen for Duty and Country! But here we are called to admire not only valor, genius and spirit, but the effect, the result, which are unique in their kind. In all other battles a particular interest is predominant; but the immortal fame of the Greeks is none other than their due… In the history of the world it is not the formal (subjective and individual) valor that has been displayed… but the importance of the cause itself, that must decide the fame of the achievement. In the case before us, the interest of the World’s History hung trembling in the balance. Oriental despotism – a world united under one lord and sovereign – on the one side, and separate states – insignificant in extent and resources, but animated by free individuality – on the other side, stood front to front in array of battle. Never in History has the superiority of spiritual power over material bulk… been made so gloriously manifest.» With their backs turned on history, our leaders organize our Cultural Olympiad…