As the ancient spirit of defiance against brutal — and brutalizing — elites waxes strong once more across the world, I thought the spoken-word piece below might be of some relevance. The depredations of the high and mighty store up great reservoirs of wrath, even in the most cowed and broken souls. And when the levee breaks, who can say what course the flood will follow? How stupid, how evil and stupid, are the masters who believe they can control the forces they unleash with their crimes.
Let them march out to fight the Persians,
And we will rise that very night
To slaughter everyone remaining:
Every Spartan, man and boy, girl and woman, in their beds.
Not a house will be left standing,
Not a stone unsmeared with blood.
A hundred generations of helot pain
Will be revenged before the dawn.
Let them march out, take all the army,
To meet the mighty Persians.
Strip the walls of men, the stockades;
Let them, O hot-faced Dis, let them
Cloud their minds with haughty visions
Of their triumph over Persians.
Set them on the road to Susa,
Have them preen before their women,
Fall in step beside their lovers,
Give their sons their weighty counsel,
How to comport themselves as Spartans
Should their fathers not return.
I too have sons, O mighty Spartans;
Some worked to death, some killed by hunters;
And daughters, raped and yoked to service.
So put on your armor, your great helms,
Beat the ground with rhythmic march,
Turn your swords against the Persians,
That vast sea of Eastern men,
And leave us to guard your children,
Tend your flocks, work your gardens.
You have beaten us like oxen,
And we are broken, tamed – believe it.
Let every able, worthy man
Take the distant field with Athens;
Save us, masters, from the Persians,
Hear your lowly servants’ plea.
March out, march out, you Spartans:
The Great King himself has come.