Quotations about   empire

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The old century is very nearly out, and leaves the world in a pretty pass, and the British Empire is playing the devil in it as never an empire before on so large a scale. We may live to see its fall. All the nations of Europe are making the same hell upon earth in China, massacring and pillaging and raping in the captured cities as outrageously as in the Middle Ages. The Emperor of Germany gives the word for slaughter and the Pope looks on and approves. In South Africa our troops are burning farms under Kitchener’s command, and the Queen and the two houses of Parliament, and the bench of bishops thank God publicly and vote money for the work. The Americans are spending fifty millions a year on slaughtering the Filipinos; the King of the Belgians has invested his whole fortune on the Congo, where he is brutalizing the Negroes to fill his pockets. The French and Italians for the moment are playing a less prominent part in the slaughter, but their inactivity grieves them. The whole white race is reveling openly in violence, as though it had never pretended to be Christian. God’s equal curse be on them all! So ends the famous nineteenth century into which we were so proud to have been born.

Wilfrid Scawen Blunt (1840-1922) English poet, critic, horse breeder
My Diaries, 1888-1914, 22 Dec 1900 (1921)
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Added on 26-May-16 | Last updated 26-May-16
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To ravage, to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, they call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace.

[Auferre, trucidare, rapere, falsis nominibus imperium; atque, ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant.]

Tacitus (c.56-c.120) Roman historian, orator, politician [Publius or Gaius Cornelius Tacitus]
Agricola, ch. 30 (AD 98) [tr. Oxford Revised]
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  • "They plunder, they slaughter, and they steal: this they falsely name Empire, and where they make a wasteland, they call it peace." [Loeb Classical Library edition]
  • "To plunder, butcher, steal, these things they misname empire: they make a desolation and they call it peace." [tr. William Peterson]
  • "They rob, kill and plunder all under the deceiving name of Roman Rule. They make a desert and call it peace."
Speech about Rome by the Caledonian chieftain Calgacus to his assembled warriors.
Added on 14-Jul-15 | Last updated 14-Jul-15
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It would be some time before I fully realized that the United States sees little need for diplomacy; power is enough. Only the weak rely on diplomacy. This is why the weak are so deeply concerned with the democratic principle of the sovereign equality of states, as a means of providing some small measure of equality for that which is not equal in fact. Coming from a developing country, I was trained extensively in international law and diplomacy and mistakenly assumed that the great powers, especially the United States, also trained their representatives in diplomacy and accepted the value of it. But the Roman Empire had no need for diplomacy. Nor does the United States. Diplomacy is perceived by an imperial power as a waste of time and prestige and a sign of weakness.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali (b. 1922) Egyptian politician, diplomat, UN Secretary-General (1992-1996)
Unvanquished: A U.S.-U.N. Saga (1999)
Added on 18-Mar-15 | Last updated 18-Mar-15
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