Worldwide, today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, with many countries also a part of this with locally designated commemorations; as a forty-five year old professional fighter and leader, a gay upper class man, and an astute administrator one thousand nine hundred and nineteen years ago, Trajan rose to become the emperor who would preside over Rome’s most extensive imperial expansion; in Arabia five centuries, six decades, and four years thereafter, in 661, the ‘Prophet’s’ family’s hold on Islam, via the Rashidun Caliphate’s largest-empire-in-history-to-that-point, ended with the death of Mohammed’s brother; the overseers of Florence seven hundred fifteen years before the here and now exiled Dante Alighieri, who had been serving as one of a half dozen priors in charge of managing the city; just over four decades hence, in 1343, the sixth Pope Clement legitimized the inherent corruption of Papal Indulgences, which continued for nearly two centuries before principled challenges threatened to tear the Church apart over such practices; more or less exactly a quarter millennium later, in 1593, Church leaders at the Vatican initiated the seven year trial and martyrdom of Giordano Bruno; thirteen years yet later on, in 1606, the trial of
Guy Fawkes and other conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot began in London; two hundred ninety-seven years prior to today, a baby boy came squalling into the world en route to a life as popular playwright Samuel Foote; eleven years onward toward the present, in 1731, Bartolomeo Christofori, the piano’s inventor, played his final note; just three years beyond that, in 1734, across the wide Atlantic in Manhattan, maids in New York City organized for higher pay and better working condtions; twenty-two years further along, in 1756 and back across the ocean, a male infant came into the world who would soon begin composing music as Wolfgang Mozart; the U.S.’s first public university opened its doors to students, not quite three decades henceforth, in 1785, at the University of Georgia in Athens; across the Atlantic another twenty-nine years along time’s arc, in 1814, German Romantic philosopher Johann Fichte breathed his last; eleven years later, in 1825, Congress established the Indian Territory out of current-day Oklahoma, which proved a key component of the Trail of Tears and more;seven years after that, in 1832, the male baby was born who would go on to fame as the writer and fabulist Lewis Carroll; fourteen hundred sixty-one days afterward, in 1836, another boy child cried out, this time en route to life as the chronicler and erotic storyteller, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch; a hundred sixty-seven years ahead of today, a baby boy came along—according to a different source from yesterday’s—who would mature as labor leader Samuel Gompers; a single year more proximate to the present pass, in 1851, the iconic artist and naturalist John James Audubon exited the world’s stage; in a last gasp for Samurai hegemony in Japan one hundred forty-nine years back, guided by French Advisers, Tokugawa insurgents retreated from the resurgent Meiji Restoration to what would soon enough be the island of Hokkaido; a dozen years subsequent to that conjunction, in 1880, Thomas Edison received a patent for an incandescent light bulb; eight years henceforth from that juncture, in 1888, the National Geographic Society formally incorporated in the District of Columbia; a brief three years further down time’s path, in 1891, a hideous ‘accident’ at a Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania coal mine caused an explosion that immolated over a hundred miners; a year less than three decades afterward, in 1920, the International Labor Organization came into existence, and in Kansas, miners went on strike against compulsory arbitration; intrepid journalist Nellie Bly died two years yet nearer to now, in 1922; Ibn Saud half a decade farther along toward the future, in 1927, took the title King of Nejd; eleven years hence, in 1938, a male baby opened his eyes who would rise, as Roy Bourgeois, to the calling, after service in the Marines in Vietnam, of a priesthood in protest of war and especially of the training of butchers to support empire South of the border; seven hundred thirty days past that point in time, in 1940, six thousand miles East in the Soviet Union, the writer and storyteller Isaac Babel took a bullet in the back of the neck for supposedly supporting Trotsky; two years thereafter, in 1942, a little baby girl sang out who would grow up as the lyricist and crooner Kate Wolf; yet two more years down the pike, in 1944, in the Soviet Winter, the two and a half year
siege of Leningrad came to an end as the Red Army broke through, and the Germans began their final retreat, and several thousand miles away in Ireland, the baby girl uttered her first cry on the way to a life and Nobel Peace Prize as Mairead Maguire; a year later to the day, in 1945, Red Army troops liberated the survivors at Auschwitz; three years subsequently, in 1948, a Soviet boy came along who would grow up as amazing dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov;another three years even closer to now, in 1951, in the Southwest desert, the Nevada Test Site hosted the first of many atmospheric atomic tests that spewed cancer and disease all round the region; sixteen years precisely beyond that juncture, in 1967, the U.S., the Soviet Union, and other countries formalized the Outer Space Treaty, which prohibited nuclear weapons in space and designated the moon as a human bastion of peaceful development, as, on a launching pad in Florida three astronauts died in a catastrophic fire that destroyed their Apollo One launch vehicle; seven hundred thirty-one days still more in proximity to our light and air, in 1969, radical autoworkers in Detroit, African Americans who were part of a Revolutionary Union Movement, initiated a wildcat strike against racism and bad working conditions; four years hence, in 1973, the Paris Accords brought the Vietnam War to its
erstwhile conclusion; a decade further on, in 1983, the Japanese successfully joined their two test tunnels in what would soon be the world’s longest undersea tunnel, at over thirty-five miles from start to finish; Germany thirteen years subsequently, in 1996 first commemorated the Holocaust, an imperially-backed warlord overthrew the first democratically elected President of Niger, Mahamane Ousmane; seven years closer still to the current context, in 2003, the Library of Congress made its first selections for the ongoing National Recording Registry; three years precisely after this point, in 2006, Western Union ended its commercial telegraph service for messaging purposes; critically acclaimed author John Updike took his last breath ten hundred ninety six days later on, in 2009; a year later precisely, in 2010, the constitutional crisis in Honduras ended with a U.S.- backed President’s rise to power as a replacement for his ‘too-radical’ predecessor, and Howard Zinn’s life came to an end, as did storyteller and writer J.D. Salinger’s passage through time and space; insurgents in Yemen three hundred sixty-five days thereafter, in 2011, initiated the so-called Arab Spring on the Arabian Peninsula itself;just three short years past that, in 2014, iconic activist and folksinger Pete Seeger sang his swansong.