Bertolt Brecht: Questions from A Worker Who Reads

Who built Thebes of the seven gates?
In the books you will find the name of kings.
Did the kings haul up the lumps of rock?
And Babylon, many times demolished.
Who raised it up so many times? In what houses
Of gold-glittering Lima did the builders live?
Where, the evening that the Wall of China was finished
Did the masons go? Great Rome
Is full of triumphal arches. Who erected them? Over whom
Did the Caesars triumph? Had Byzantium, much praised in song,
Only palaces for its inhabitants? Even in fabled Atlantis
The night the ocean engulfed it
The drowning still bawled for their slaves.

The young Alexander conquered India.
Was he alone?
Caesar beat the Gauls.
Did he not have even a cook with him?
Philip of Spain wept when his armada
Went down. Was he the only one to weep?
Frederick the Second won the Seven Years’ War. Who
Else won it?

Every page a victory.
Who cooked the feast for the victors?
Every ten years a great man.
Who paid the bill?

So many reports.
So many questions.

“Fragen eines lesenden Arbeiters” – translated by M. Hamburger
from Bertolt Brecht, Poems 1913-1956, Methuen, N.Y., London, 1976


A superyacht moored in a blue blue sea with text added (see caption)

The 85 Richest people own the same wealth as the 3.5 billion poorest people | findings from Global Report on Poverty by Oxfam


The one percent are getting pummeled because it’s politically convenient to do so…The one percent work harder, the one percent are much bigger factors in all forms of our society

Billionaire real estate investor Sam Zell, on Bloomberg Television.

h/t to Pharyngula: PZ’s post and corporal klinger’s comment



Categories: economics, ethics & philosophy, history, social justice

Tags: , , , ,

2 replies

  1. what can one say.

  2. Sadly our shocked silence is what the plutocrats and oligarchs are relying upon in order to perpetuate their iniquities.
    I have been particularly shocked by how blatantly our new government is dismantling our future to benefit today’s moneygrubbers. I knew I’d hate many of their changes, but I never dreamed that they’d be so gleefully destructive of the basic foundations of our economic security.

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