Wednesday, March 14, 2001

What are we all waiting for crowded in the forum?
The Barbarians are to arrive today.
Within the Senate-house, why is there such inaction?
The Senators making no laws what are they sitting there for?
Because the Barbarians arrive today.
What laws now should the Senators be making?
When the Barbarians come they'll make the laws.

I snatched this from "Waiting for the Barbarians" by C.P. Cavafy, printed in Morley and Robins: Global Media, Electronic Landscapes and Cultural boundaries, Routledge 1995. The book discusses culture, tradition, space and time in a Europe swept by the technological revolution. And I liked the conclusion to that poem, it very much has a feel of the dilemma of Europe:

Because night has fallen and the Barbarians have not come.
And some people have arrived from the frontier;
They say there are no Barbarians any more.

And now what will become of us without Barbarians? -
Those people were some sort of a solution.

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