Today in Panama commemorates the struggle against neocolonialism with Martyr’s Day, as citizens of the Subcontinent celebrate Non-Resident Indians Day for the diaspora that resulted from British imperial operations; in the seemingly eternally contested real estate of the Levant, Turkey, and the Eastern Mediterranean generally a thousand five hundred and forty-two years ago, the Byzantine emperor Zeno judged that discretion was the better part of valor and fled, leaving rule to one of his generals, a certain Baseliscus; a half decade and a year past two centuries onward in space and time, in 681, early Iberian Visigoth leaders determined at the Council of Toledo that multiple measures were necessary against the region’s Jewish population; eight hundred ninety years before this day, the denizens of the Song dynasty lost any real hope of regaining oversight of Northern China as Jurchen forces began the systematic looting of the Song capital city in the South; only a few years shy of two centuries after that epic imperial humiliation, in 1324, the now legendary Italian wanderer and visitor to China, Marco Polo, lived out his final scene; precisely a quarter century subsequently, in 1349, Swiss leaders in Basel, among the Swiss to the North of Polo’s home, initiated a slaughter of Jewish residents after divide-and-conquer regimens succeeded in placing blame for rampant plague on readers of the Torah; eighty-two years further along from there, to the West in France in 1431,another scapegoating incident unfolded when Joan of Arc’s judges began their ‘investigations’ into the young woman’s ‘crimes’ of uniting France and undermining aristocratic and ‘Mother-Church’ imprimatur; two hundred fifty-seven years back, Afghan Islamic ascendancy throughout much of Northern India continued with the harrowing defeat of Maratha forces on the plains near Delhi at the battle of Barari Ghat; exactly sixteen years after than, half a globe away in North America in 1776, Tom Paine first published his foundational document of American
Independence and ‘liberal values,’ Common Sense; another twenty-three years further along, meanwhile, in 1799, the younger William Pitt led the Parliamentary forces that followed such ‘liberalism’ to one of its logical conclusions, the imposition of an income tax to pay off British war debt; also in the British Isles seventeen years later, in 1816, Humphry Davy reported favorably on tests of a safety lamp for miners, the design for which may have borrowed from an Irishman’s model; twenty-three years in the future from there, across the English Channel in France in 1839, the French Academy of Sciences proclaimed to humankind the Daguerrotype photographic method that Louis Daguerre had developed, initiating a significant element of the modern mediated spectacle that we so take for granted now; two decades on the nose henceforth, in 1859, a little baby girl opened her eyes who would rise as the attorney, writer, and, with the help of money and ferocious motivation, fierce advocate for women’s rights, especially voting rights, whom we now know as Carrie Chapman Catt; a mere nine years nearer to the here and now, in 1868, John William de Forest first used the phrase, “Great American Novel,” in a Nation magazine article that promoted the notion of American literature generally; eleven years more on time’s relentless march, in 1879, a male infant first cried out who would grow up as the researcher and professor John B. Watson, whose contributions to behavioral psychology still affect the discipline and the world today; yet another eleven years toward today, in 1890, the baby boy was born en route to life as the radical and innovative writer and dramatist of the Czech language and culture, Karel Capek; a thousand four hundred sixty-one days afterward, in 1894, the New England Telephone & Telegraph Company installed the first ever battery operated switchboard in Lexington, Massachusetts; fourteen years yet later on, in 1908, the female child made her entrance as Simone de Beauvoir, thinker and radical and feminist icon of a century; not quite a decade past that entry point, in 1917, hundreds of miles to the South in Palestine, the Battle of Rafa took place as Allied forces advanced from Egypt against Ottoman troops; the very next year, in 1918, across Europe and over the Atlantic, a Mediation Commission found that predatory intolerance by profiteering owners was the primary explanation for wartime labor strife in American industry, while across the continent in Arizona, a so-called Battle of Bear Valley
became possibly the last open conflict between the U.S. Army and indigenous Americans, in the event a skirmish with Yaqui Indians who were attempting to smuggle guns and ammunition across the border for a fight between their people and Mexico; a thousand ninety-six days farther down the pike, in 1921, back in the Eastern Mediterranean, the first battle of the Post-World-War-One Greco-Turkish War took place in what would soon enough be the victorious nation of Turkey’s Anatolia Region; a single solar cycle forward through space, in 1922, again in North America, upwards of 80,000 construction workers in Chicago conducted something akin to a general strike of commercial building sites; an additional year yet more proximate to the present pass, in 1923, Memel Region Lithuanians rose up in rebellion against the stationing of French soldiers, a precursor in some sense of present day North Atlantic Treaty Organization rangers, in the Baltic country’s territory, and the not yet thirty-five year old novelist, short story writer, and essayist Katherine Mansfield, sick with tuberculosis, composed her final chapter; three hundred sixty-six leap days more along the temporal arc, in 1924, Mansfield’s friend Virginia Woolf and her husband bought their home in London’s Bloomsbury District; a further four years forward from that, in 1928, an American baby girl entered our midst who would attain the status of popular novelist Judith Krantz; to the South eight years subsequent to that coming along, in 1936, a female baby bounced into the world who would soon enough begin to exhibit the storytelling and critical faculties that would make her stand out as Anne Rivers Siddons; just two years more on time’s pathway, in 1938, a boy child came into the world in standard fashion who would grow up as the prolific and popular novelist, and occasionally incisive critic, Stuart Woods; only one short spin around the solar center past that juncture, in 1939, nearly two thousand families, upwards of ten thousand men, women, and children, marched on a Missouri highway as part of a Southern Tenant Farmers Union protest against property owners who had evicted them so as to avoid having to share Federal payments for withholding crops and products from market; two years even closer to the current context, in 1941, a girl baby sang out who would become a bard and crooner quite sympathetic to labor and grassroots humanity, Joan Baez; three more years en route to now, in 1944, a male infant came along in England who would mature as the iconic rocker and lyricist and producer, Jimmy Page; an additional seven hundred thirty-one days along time’s flowing current, in 1946, the still-young poet and dramatist and chronicler, Countee Cullen, sang his swan song; a year hence to the minute, in 1947, the incisive and innovative sociological thinker Karl Mannheim died, not yet sixty; four years in even closer proximity to the present point, in 1951, a girl infant looked about her on her way to a career as the songster, songwriter, and producer, Crystal Gayle; the next year, in 1952, Harry Truman
delivered his State of the Union address, in which the erstwhile ‘progressive Democrat’ called for an intensified and unrelenting war against communism, which he characterized as the direst threat that America faced; a further two years toward this moment, in 1954, a former Hawaiian territorial Governor warned against allowing the islands to become a State because radical and militant unions had so much influence in Hawaii at that time; three hundred sixty-five days thereafter, in 1955, a boy baby made his entrance who would become the esteemed reporter and media critic, Michiko Kakutani; four years onward from that, in 1959, to the South in Guatemala, another baby, this time a girl, clamored for attention and care who would astound herfamily and friends as the activist and politician and human rights stalwart, worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize, Rigoberta Menchu; across the South Atlantic one year’s additional journey along the way, in 1960, Egyptian President Gamel Abdel Nasser ignited the dynamite that started the construction phase of the Aswan High Dam on the upper reaches of the Nile River; four years farther along time’s ride, in 1964, an imbroglio over flag-flying in Panama and its canal zone led to three days of rioting and combat in which dozens of Panamanians and a handful of U.S. Soldiers died; just short of four decades later on, in 2003, the Bush administration forbade Transportation Security Administration employees to form a union on their behalf; another four year period on the way to today, in 2007, Apple Computer first introduced its I-Phone at a ‘Macworld Keynote’ in San Francisco; seven years hence on the dot, in 2014, the poet and people’s champion and storyteller and documentarian Amiri Baraka breathed his last; the very next year, in 2015, shooters in Paris murdered a dozen journalists and office staff and passers-by at the Charlie Hebdo facilities in Paris, wounding a similar number in the process, before police, after the two gunmen made their escape, subsequently gunned them down before they could provide any testimony at all.