Posts Tagged ‘Combat’


May 13, 2018

The philosopher Camus founded, in 1941, during World War Two a journal called Combat. Philosophers such as Sartre, Aron, Malraux, Mounier, collaborated… under the threat of summary execution. They agreed: sometimes combat should be the main activity of ultimate thinkers. The Nazis would end up torturing to death dozens of top French thinkers, from artists to mathematicians. 

New thinking must be defended. Always has, always will. But, let’s not be hypocritical: the call with the insane Nazis was easy (once one was ready to die horribly). New thinking is also an aggressor, it is the ultimate aggressor, the ultimate imperialism. It conquers not just lands and seas, but minds, souls and hearts. New thinking conquers all that is human.

Leonidas: behind, with the lance. Forefront: thinking anew, and freely, only made possible by aforesaid lance. (Scene in Sparta, Peloponnese.)

(Elected) King Leonidas (represented above with the spear in the most proper position to do what a lance does best) defended the idea and reality of democracy against the fascist plutocratic giant empire of greed represented by the Achaemenid supra-national plutocracy of Xerxes I. At Thermopylae, under impossible odds: 300 elite Spartan soldiers, against an army of hundreds of thousands (see Note). The West has known many leaders of Leonidas’ quality since, and many Thermopylae. Overall, with a better outcome.

Should Leonidas and similar character not have arisen above the commons and be considered the best civilization had to offer, civilization would not have taken the right direction, that we all presently enjoy (whether we admit it or not).

We think because we fight. And reciprocally: the paradox of goodness.

Patrice Ayme



Note on Thermopylae: The full Greek force at Thermopylae was 5,000. After encirclement became clear, Leonidas decided to gain time by leaving 1,000 hoplites behind, including his elite Spartan force of 300 (the rest were 700 Thespian hoplites). That gave enough time for the remaining army to retreat, and to evacuate the Athenian population…


Note on Bir Hakeim: At Bir Hakeim, a French army of 3,300 blocked and held the entire Afrika Korps of Rommel, plus the Italian army (a force of more than 100,000), for weeks. This enabled the British Eighth Army to escape encirclement. The Eighth Army was the only significant Allied force capable of preventing the Nazis to seize Egypt, annihilate the Jews in Israel, and, what Hitler was really after, capture Iraq and its oil, which Nazi Germany desperately needed.

After the French army of general Koenig had shattered the Nazi dream to get to Iraqi oil, all what was left was Caucasus oil. So Hitler ordered a desperate assault on Baku, while covering his flank by an even more desperate assault on Stalingrad (now Volgograd). The assault on Stalingrad was so desperate that the German Sixth army marched on, letting itself been surrounded by a succession of “Kessels” (Caldrons)….

So thank to the French… The Israelis especially should. But not just: Leonidas’ spirit was at Bir Hakeim, as it was in the enormous battles of Vouille’ (507 CE, when the Franks crushed the Goths, something the Romans always dreamed to do, and achieved only tanks to their Frankish imperator)…. or the Battle of Toulouse (when the Dux Eudes executed a classic retreat, followed by ambush, battle which killed a claimed and astounding 375,000 on the Uyyamad, Muslim side!), or the battle of Battle of Tours-Poitiers (10 October 732) or the Battle of Narbonne (737 CE). Those were civilization defining battles: abject theocratic fascism versus the honor of the creative human spirit… Just like Thermopylae.