In the early 50’s, a few years after the World War II, Iakovos Kambanellis,[1] a prominent Greek playwright, wrote the satirical play “Daddy War”.[2] The play is set in 305 BC in Rhodes (one of the most famous and very touristic Greek islands), which has managed to maintain its political neutrality and has avoided involvement in the long raids and wars of Alexander the Great. This attitude has favoured the island’s tourist development, with its inhabitants living and breathing to offer tourists ever better services. Everything is turned upside down when a rumour spreads that a warlike general is planning to invade and conquer the island. Τhe rumour reaches the general’s ears and, though unsuspecting until then, he decides to lay siege to the island. Τhe inhabitants, hitherto ignorant of war and battles, get trained in warfare and manage to repel the would-be conqueror, having become, however, exactly what they had, since then, been avoiding at all costs.

Speaking about the play, the author stated: “Τhe motivation that resulted in the comedy ‘Daddy War’ was provided by the cold war period that followed the great expectations. The hope that the war, which was over a few years earlier, was the last one, resembled a childish ingenuousness. The allies, as if they were infected by the evil against which they had fought, became its winners and successors.”

The title of the play is a paraphrase of the famous axiom of Heraclitus of Ephesus “War is the father of all”, which refers to the philosopher’s secular view, according to which, harmony in nature arises through the constant struggle of opposing elements, which results in natural equilibrium. But what happens between the elements of nature also happens between human beings: “War is the father of all and king of all, and some he shows as gods, others as men; some he makes slaves, others free.”[3]

Whether it is a “war against Covid”, or a “battle for vaccination”,  a “war against the weather phenomena”, a “battle against  energy crisis”, or “battle against abortion” and “struggle against patriarchy”- phrases that occasionally appear in the headlines of newspapers or in the captions of newscasts in Greece and elsewhere- the state of humanity is at war and people are asked to take a side. Even neutrality is belligerent, as Kambanellis writes at one point in his play. In the argument for the upcoming PIPOL congress we find the following passage: “The evaporation of the father, his pulverisation beyond pluralisation, according to J.-A. Miller’s expression, produces so many signifiers of identity that make communities and try to impose themselves on all the others.”[4] Does the signifier “war” arise as another signifier for the Father, which plunges the absence of sexual rapport and points to an order of things in the sense that Marie-Hélène Brousse ascribes to the word “order”: “it is both a mode of organising the link between speaking subjects, and an ‘order’ in the sense of an imperative which promotes a specific form of jouissance”[5]?

[1] Biography | Iakovos Kambanellis – Official Website

[2] Daddy War (

[3] Kirk, G.S., Raven, J.E. & Schofield, M. The Presocratic Philosophers (2nd ed, Cambridge University Press (1983) in D. Collison & K. Plant “Fifty Major Philosophers” (2nd ed, Routledge (2006): 14.

[4] Argument for the XI PIPOL Congress by Guy Poblome,

[5] Brousse, M.-H. “Segregation/Subversion”, The Lacanian Review, Issue 03/Spring (2017): 6