Today is World Standards Day; nine hundred fifty years ago, King Harold died with an arrow in the eye as the Normans won the Battle of Hastings and took over England; six hundred ninety-four years before the here and now, meanwhile, a little further North, forces of Robert Bruce defeated the English King’s armies at Byland, guaranteeing an independent Scotland; the trial of Mary, Queen of Scots, for conspiracy, began two hundred sixty-four years later precisely, in 1586, the outcome of which was that she lost her head; fifty-eight years after that, in 1644, the male infant of privilege who would mature as the founder of Pennsylvania, William Penn, uttered his first cry; a dozen years beyond that intersection, in 1656, Puritans in Massachusetts, having come to the new world to escape religious persecution made membership in the Penn Family’s denomination, the Society of Friends, a crime in their colony of Massachusetts Bay; the original Education Minister anywhere on Earth accepted his post two hundred forty-three years ahead of today in the Commonwealth of Lithuania and Poland, and six thousand miles to the West, ships of the British East India company burned and sank near Annapolis, Maryland as a result of local protests against British taxes; a hundred seventy-six years in advance of this moment in time, a sectarian Lebanese leader surrendered to England and went into exile, permitting European oversight of that corner of the Ottoman Empire; activist Daniel O’Connell three years subsequent to that imperial fiat, in 1843, faced incarceration after arrest by the British for sedition in Ireland; one hundred thirty-nine years back, cigar-makers under the leadership of Samuel Gompers began a strike in New York that would result in Gomper’s blacklisting and, ultimately, union leadership; one hundred thirty-six years ahead of today, Mexican soldiers killed Victorio, one of the greatest Apache military strategists; two years afterward, in 1882, in another aspect of English imperial operations, in what is now Pakistan, the University of Punjab opened its doors; around the globe, three hundred sixty-five days beyond that pass, in 1883, workers in Pittsburgh participated in the founding of the International Working People’s Association, the initiation of an affiliation in North America between trade unionism and anarchism; another year subsequently, in 1884, George Eastman received a patent for paper photographic film; only four years later, in 1888, Frenchman Louis le Prince shot the world’s first moving picture, and the baby girl who became acclaimed author Katherine Mansfield first came into the world; two years further along, in 1890, a baby boy and future President, Dwight Eisenhower, was born; another four years closer to this instant, in 1894, the male child who matured into grammatical gadfly and poet e.e. cummings was born; twelve years more along the road of life, in 1906, across the Atlantic in Germany, the girl child was born who would rise to become acclaimed philosopher and moral theorist, Hannah Arendt; a British aviator four years subsequent to that happy event, in 1910, landed his biplane adjacent to the White House on Executive Avenue; Theodore Roosevelt, seven hundred thirty-one days henceforth, in 1912, wounded in an assassination attempt in Milwaukee, delivered his speech with the bullet still in his chest; one year further on, in 1913, in Wales, four hundred thirty-nine miners died in England’s worst coal mining accident ever;
Finland ceded territory to the young Soviet Union seven years thereafter, in 1920; in the Levant five years beyond that, in 1925, Syrians in Damascus rose against French rule, causing most French citizens to flee; a year later, in 1926, A.A. Milne published the first edition of Winnie the Pooh; Nazi Germany withdrew from the League of Nations seven years nearer to now, in 1933, foreshadowing its move toward conquest and war; a decade subsequently, to the day, in 1943, mainly Jewish inmates of the Polish extermination camp, Sobibor, rose up against the S.S. there, killing a dozen Germans and managing to facilitate several hundred escapes from certain death; on the same day that Field Marshall Erwin Rommel committed forced suicide three hundred sixty-six days later, in 1944, after authorities implicated him in a plot to kill Adolf Hitler, British armed forces liberated Athens from the Wehrmacht; three years afterward, in 1947, Chuck Yeager became the first pilot to fly faster than sound during a level flight, in a jet airplane high above California’s Eastern desert; two more years more proximate still to the present, in 1949, the U.S. convicted eleven members
of the U.S. Communist Party of a plot to overthrow the government, on the very same day that, half a world away, Communist forces continued their drive to establish the People’s Republic of China with a victory in Canton, at the very same time that the infant female who grew up to become poet and author Katha Pollitt was busy being born; sixty-two years prior to the present pass, the baby boy opened his eyes on his way to becoming Mordechai Vanunu, the celebrated Moroccan-Israeli technician and academic; two years beyond that point, in 1956, the leader of India’s Untouchable caste converts to Buddhism along with close to 400,000 of his followers; two years further after that, in 1958, the Atomic Energy Commission conducted an underground detonation of a nuclear warhead just outside Las Vegas and the District of Columbia Bar Association accepted its first Black member; four years hence, in 1962, with the revelation from a U-2 surveillance overflight that missiles were present in Cuba, the Cuban Missile Crisis began; two years yet later on, in 1964, Leonid Brezhnev and allies ousted Nikita Khrushchev as the Soviet Premier, and Martin Luther King, Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work against Jim Crow and White supremacy; three years even farther along time’s path, in 1967, Joan Baez went to jail for taking part in a Vietnam War protest; just a year after that, in 1968, twenty-five veterans suffered the same fate for their part in an action against the war, on the same day that the U.S. announced the return of 24,000 soldiers to involuntary second tours of duty in Southeast Asia, which occurred at the same time that the Apollo Seven mission beamed the first TV broadcast to Earth from a NASA flight; five years subsequently, in 1973, over 100,000 people protested in Thailand against the Thanom military government, 77 were killed and 857 were injured by soldiers during the Thammasat Student uprising; just four years past that juncture, in 1977, crooner and song-writer Bing Crosby died; another two years closer to the current context, in 1979, the U.S.’s first Gay-Pride march took place in D.C.; two years down the road from that, in 1981, undermining any notion of ‘liberty and justice for all,’ Amnesty International accused the U.S. of holding American Indian Movement activist Richard Marshall as a political Prisoner; one year hence, in 1982, Ronald Reagan declared the corrupt and fraudulent War on Drugs, essentially institutionalizing Nixon’s policies, at the same time that his administration oversaw drug networks through the Central Intelligence Agency; yet three hundred sixty-five days more proximate to our day and time, in 1983, in complicated maneuvering that resulted in a U.S. counterrevolutionary invasion, Maurice Bishop, the Marxist leader of Granada, officially lost his job in a coup that in a few days would claim his life; one year still closer to this moment in time, in 1984, in a moment of medical advancements intersecting with commodity capitalism, the baby who received
the first successful xenotransplant and managed to live for a full month afterwards had her fated operation; ten years after that exact point, in 1994, Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin, and Shimon Peres shared the Nobel Peace Prize for their Roles in the hammering out of the Oslo Accords; three more years more along the temporal pathway, in 1997, the author of innumerable ‘pot-boilers,’ Harold Robbins, breathed his last; a year subsequently, in 1998, activist and author Cleveland Amory lived out his final day; eight years further along time’s pathway, in 2006, Freddy Fender, the American singer-songwriter, died; four years even closer to our day, in 2010, Benoit Mandelbrot, the inventor of fractal math and a populizer of complex market algorithms, breathed his last; another two years later still, in 2012, British performer and author John Clive lived out his final scene.