11.29.2016 Day in History

palestine israelToday worldwide among those who acknowledge the necessity of social justice marks an International Day of Solidarity With the Palestinian People; in the rude and crude internecine fractiousness that characterized Rome a thousand two hundred sixteen years ago, the Frankish ruler Charlemagne arrived on the scene in order to oversee investigations of crimes and corruption, allegedly at the behest of a third Pope Leo; a century and three years beyond that unfolding of imperial conflict, in 903, schismatic Islamic contention unfolded in the vicinity of present-day Hama, Syria, with the complete local victory of the forces of the Abbasid caliphate over the fighters of Qarmatians allegiance, though this ‘radical’ sect has continued to have influence to the current day; six hundred twenty-two years ahead of this precise interlude, the first Joseon Dynasty king first declared what is now Seoul the capital city; two hundred eighteen years subsequently, in 1612, also in the vast reaches of Asia but to the West and South in the Subcontinent, Portuguese colonial rule was under attack in the British East India Company’s victory at the Battle of Swally; two hundred eighty-seven years back, meanwhile, in proof that the conflicts over conquering North America itself remained highly volatile in times not so far removed from our own, Natchez Indians captured Fort Rosalie, near today’s City of Natchez, and massacred well over two hundred residents, their nearly a hundred of whom were women and children; three decades more in the direction of today, in 1759, the estimable calculator and empiricist Nicolaus Bernoulli, from the noted family of mathematicians, drew a final breath; eighteen years further than that point, in 1777, a Spanish soldier six thousand miles or so to the West claimed credit for founding the settlement—an

J.M.W. Turner, The Slave Ship (1840)
J.M.W. Turner, The Slave Ship (1840)

imperial outpost—that evolved into San Jose, California; a bare four years later, in 1781, much more grotesque expressions of empire-building, and plundering mercantilism, transpired as the British slaver Zong’s crew threw some hundred thirty-odd hapless slaves into the sea in order to collect insurance on their deaths; twenty-two years further on time’s path, in 1803, the baby boy was born who would grow up as the important scientist of energy and the cosmos, Christian Doppler; twenty-seven years hence, in 1830, a November Uprising began in Poland to initiate widespread rebellion against Russian rule; two additional solar cycles forward from that, in 1832across Europe and the wide Atlantic, a little baby girl opened her eyes who would rise as Louisa May Alcott, the beloved storyteller of American peasants and other ‘middle-class’ families; another eighteen years past that precise passing instant, in 1850, back in Europe, Prussian elites acceded to Austrian leadership in the German Federation, acceptance that would soon enough end; fourteen years thereafter, in 1864, American troops in Colorado’s extensive territories butchered Indian settlements that were overwhelmingly non-combatants in the Sand Hill Massacre; eight years more on time’s relentless march, in 1872, the conquering moves of America’s ‘manifest destiny’ continued with the initiation of the Modoc War;half a decade on the dot onward from that, in 1877, Thomas Edison gave his first public demonstration of the phonograph and its functioning as a ‘sound machine;’ thirteen years afterward, in the meantime, in 1890 and nearly half a world away in Japan, the ‘Western-modeled’ Meiji Constitution took effect in Tokyo; eight more years on the road to today, in 1898, a male infant bounced into the world en route to his life as the storyteller and Christian thinker, C.S. Lewis; a decade yet later on, in 1908, the baby boy cried out whom fate had selected to be the political and spiritual leader and ethnic advocate, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.; a mere nine years nearer to the here and now, in 1917, the baby male shouted out who would soon mature as country crooner and lyricist and ‘outlaw,’ Merle Travis; the very next 365-day cycle past that, in 1918, the girl child entered our midst in standard fashion who would become the beloved and influential mythologist and writer, Madeleine L’ Engle; sixteen years to the day in still closer vicinity to today’s light and air, in 1934, Wisconsin employees of Milwaukee’s Boston Hands solidarity diversity cooperationStores went on strike at the start of the Christmas shopping season, a little-attended instance of organized class conflict that has many lessons to teach; just shy of a decade subsequent to that moment’s receding in the past, in 1943, soon-to-be victorious and mainly communist partisans met in a second Anti-Fascist Council in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovena; just seven hundred thirty-one days farther down the pike, in 1945, the fruition of that meeting came to pass with the formation of a Marxist-Leninist and avowedly socialist Yugoslavia; the next circuit of the sun on the way to now, in 1946, maybe five thousand miles or so West and South, the baby boy beamed at those about him on his way to a long life as musician and singer-songwriter of Cuban life, Sylvio Rodriquez; one more year past that, in 1947, the United Nations passed a resolution calling for a partitioning of Palestine, while French imperial storm troopers conducted one of Paris’ exercises in Indochinese mass murder at My Trach, and the female infant came into the world who would grow up as the petulant and powerfully critical Petra Kelly, who founded the German Green Party and organized for a world that embodied solidarity, ecological consciousness, and non-violence; five years still closer to the current context, in 1952, Dwight Eisenhower fulfilled a campaign promise and as President-elect ventured to the Korean Peninsula to sound out possibilities for ending the conflict there; two years beyond that courageous move, in 1954, a male child came along who would mature as the redoubtable filmmaker and screenwriter, Joel Cohen; on that boy’s ninth birthday afterward, in 1963, Lyndon Johnson announced the formation of a Warren Commission, composed largely of Kennedy opponents, to investigate his murder and cover up any allegations of conspiracy; a thousand ninety-six days in the future from that travesty, in 1966, rescuers discovered a hardy and dauntless young seaman floating on a wintry Lake Huron in a Pea Coat and his underwear after his berth, a freighter, had sunk and taken all but him and his three dead companions with it to the icy depths of the inland waterway; three hundred sixty-five days yet more proximate to the present pass, in 1967, former Ford executive and then Secretary of helicopter war vietnamDefense Robert McNamara tendered his resignation over what was becoming a decidedly despised imperial war in Vietnam; five years past that passage, in 1972 Japan, the Atari Corporation ushered in the modern video-game era with its release of the Pong experience; eight years henceforth, in 1980, the redoubtable writer and organizer and social justice advocate Dorothy Day spend her final day as a Catholic Worker; another decade’s amble onward, in 1990, the United Nations issued a pair of resolutions that called, to avoid going to war, for Iraqi compliance with U.S. and NATO mandates; nine years in still greater proximity to the new millennium and now, in 1999, the National Labor Relations Board issued guidances that permitted medical doctor interns to organize in trade unions, and at the other end of the continent to the West, the massive clash took shape between opponents of globalized ‘New World Orders’ and the Seattle police-force, which was aggressively resisting any attempt by activists in the city to make contact with participants in the World Trade Organization meetings there; two years later, in the first year of the ‘new age’ in 2001,both novelist and essayist John Knowles and singer-songwriter, and former Beatle, George Harrison, came to the ends of their respective lifespans;eleven years past that passing away, in 2012, the United Nations granted the Palestine Liberation Organization observer status at the General Assembly, an acknowledgment of the widely held belief that the Palestinians constituted a people whose nation was nascent and imminent.