10.12.2016 Day in History

from Espresso Stalinist
from Espresso Stalinist

Today presents multiple commemorations and celebrations, including Spain’s National Day, Venezuela’s Day of Indigenous Resistance, in the United States Columbus Day and National Indigenous Peoples Day and National Freethought Day, in England National Coming Out Day, and around the world, October twelfth is Spanish Language Day;  in what is now Iraq twenty-five hundred and fifty-five years ago, – 539b- the fighting forces of the Persian Empire, under the tutelage of Cyrus the Great, completed the conquest of Babylon; two millennia and thirty-one years hence, in 1492, ships under the command of Christopher Columbus ‘discovered’ a new hemisphere when they landed ashore the first island in the Bahamas that they visited; three hundred sixty-two years prior to the present pass,  the new age of explosives made itself felt when a gunpowder warehouse in Delft, Belgium exploded and leveled much of the city, killing and injuring untold numbers; thirty-eight years subsequently, in 1692, Massachusetts Bay’s Governor ended the Salem Witch horror with a letter forbidding additional ‘trials;’ eighty-one years to the day later, in 1773, to the South in Virginia, the Colony organized an ‘asylum’ for “persons of insane and disordered minds,” an initiation of the institutionalization of deviance that continues to resonate to this day; two decades hence, in 1793, still further into Dixie, North Carolina’s authorities oversaw the laying of the cornerstone of the first buildings at the country’s oldest State University, at Chapel Hill, near the State capitol of Raleigh; one hundred ninety-three years back, Scottish Charles Macintosh saved us all from the rain when he sold his first raincoat; just two years past a half century thereafter, in 1845 in New York City, the First Industrial Congress of the United States came to order to determine how best to represent wage-workers’ interests in the new age of capitol and labor; twenty-six years hence, in 1871, indiaaround the world in imperial India, Britain’s administrators originated the dandy notion of criminalizing plus-or-minus five percent of the population at birth, with the Criminal Tribes Act, which facilitated ‘dividing and conquering’ the Subcontinent and accomplished much the same work as enslavement, convict-leasing, and other machinations of capital and British Imperialism, all-too-little studied and understood now; four years farther along time’s arc, in 1875, a baby boy came along who would mature as the master of mystery and words, Aleister Crowley; another seventeen years onward, in 1892, on the ‘four hundredth anniversary of Columbus’ discoveries,’ students in the United States first enunciated their “Pledge of Allegiance” to ‘God and country’ and imperial imprimatur; six years henceforth, in 1898, across the continent in Virden, Illinois, attempts to organize a ‘color-blind’ United Mineworkers of America ran into the murderous actions of company ‘security guards’ who were importing Black workers to break a strike; an additional four years nearer to now, in 1902 in nearby Pana, Illinois, hired “scabherders” murdered over a dozen miners and wounded a score for resisting the placement of replacement labor in the coal fields of Illinois; thirteen years still later on, in the midst of World War One’s growing carnage in 1915, German soldiers shot nurse and educator Edith Cavell to pieces for the crime of helping wounded British soldiers to escape; nine years more proximate still to the present day, in 1924, the acclaimed writer and civil libertarian Anatole France breathed his last; a year after that conjunction, in 1925 across the Atlantic in South Carolina, a baby girl was born, the result of a liaison between arch-segregationist and bigot Strom Thurmond and a Black woman, who would grow up as the educator Essie Mae Washington-Williams, who would reveal her ‘secret’ ten years after the death of the father who eschewed all contact with his daughter;  four years afterward, in 1929, a male infant entered our midst in standard fashion en route to a life of documenting and resisting bigotry and inequality as Robert Coles, whose Children of Crisis volumes remain must reading; three more years further onward, in 1932, another baby boy was born whom destiny had called to rise as the monumental thinker and comedic performer, Dick Gregory; three hundred sixty-five days solidaritysubsequent to that, in 1933, across North America in Los Angeles, garment workers rose up in a strike that shut down Los Angeles’ dressmaking trades, and North of that in the San Francisco area, the military Alcatraz Citadel opened for business as the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary; seven years later, on the dot, in 1940, the iconic performer and screenwriter Tom Mix lived out his final day; half a decade past that point, in 1945, Desmond Doss became the first conscientious objector to receive the U.S. Medal of Honor; eight years after that juncture, in 1953, the first performance opened of Herman Wouk’s iconic drama, The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial;  seven years hence, in 1960, also in New York City, Nikita Khrushchev pounded his shoe on the podium to dramatize his protest of the Philippines representative’s characterization of the Soviet Union as a colonial power, a case at the least of a pot calling the kettle black, and across the Pacific, Japanese television viewers unexpectedly bore witness to the assassination of the leader of the Japan Socialist Party, who was stabbed and killed during a live broadcast; four years thereafter, in 1964, the Soviet space program launched Voskhod I, the first spacecraft that carried a multi-person crew without space suits; nine years hence, in 1975, the baby boy opened his eyes on his way to becoming Ahmed, the talented American rapper; another year onward, in 1976, roughly six thousand miles West in Canada, more than a million protesters hit the streets to cry out against wage suppression; three years beyond that moment in time and space, in 1979, Douglas Adams issued the first volume in his multipart Hitchhiker series, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; around the

Towel Day 2005, Innsbruck, Austria, where, by his own account, Adams got the inspiration to write the Guide.
Towel Day 2005, Innsbruck, Austria, where, by his own account, Adams got the inspiration to write the Guide.

world four years yet more proximate to the current context, in 1983, a former Japanese Prime Minister, Tanaka Kakuei, went to prison for accepting a $2 million bribe from the Lockheed Corporation; eight years afterward, in 1991, the beloved Russian novelist and critic, Arkady Strugatsky, lived out his last chapter; six years even closer to today, in 1997, the singer and songwriter John Denver experienced his final stanza; three more years along the way, in 2000, seven thousand miles or so Southeast, nearly twenty crew members died and double that received grievous injuries in an attack on the U.S. Destroyer, Cole, near Aden, in Yemen, an assault for which Yemenis continue to pay penance in the scheme of things; six years back, the accomplished writer and novelist Belva Plain made her exit from this realm; one year later, in 2011, the gifted computer scientist who invented the C programming language, died;  three years ago, the well-loved and widely read storyteller, Oscar Hijuelos, took his ultimate breath.