12.13.2016 Day in History

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For all those who remember the tale of Evangeline and the coming of the Cajuns, today marks Acadian Remembrance Day; on the Iberian Peninsula, where complex conflicts among Jews, Christians, and Muslims was already a century long fare, eight hundred twelve years ago, the respected and insightful spiritual leader and philosopher Maimonides came to the end of his road; returning to his more solitary and inward spiritual pursuits, nine decades later in 1294, the fifth Pope Celestine resigned his papacy after only five months of service; a hundred seventy-two years onward in space and time, in 1466, the renowned sculptor Donatello composed his final piece; four hundred seventy-one years ahead of today, in one of the periodic attempts to ameliorate the contradictions of Catholicism, the Council of Trent began in Central Europe; precisely eighty-one years after that, in 1636, leaders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony conscripted males in the territory to prepare to butcher the Pequot Indians, the accepted beginning of what is now the National Guard; one hundred thirty-three years forward along time’s track, in 1769, a royal charter permitted the founding of the now-venerable collegiate institution of Dartmouth; a decade and a half afterward, in 1784, the acclaimed English wordsmith and lexicographer Samuel Johnson composed his last entry; thirteen additional years n the direction of today, in 1797, the male child came into the world who would mature as the poet of all Germany Heinrich Heine; precisely seventy years hence, in 1867, the rebellious Fenian terror struck in Clerkenwell, London, in an explosion that killed six and injured many more; a hundred fourteen years back, the little baby boy opened his eyes who would rise as one of the primary scholars of sociology, Talcott Parsons; the very next year, in 1903, a different sort of intelligence was born into the world in the form of a baby girl who would become the activist and champion of social justice Ella Baker; twenty-one years thereafter, in 1924, the labor leader and ‘establishment’ promulgator of ‘labor rights,’ Samuel Gompers, drew his last breath; a thousand four hundred sixty-one days past that final passage, in 1928, George Gershwin’s An American in Paris premiered in Carnegie Hall, New York; a mere three years nearer to the here and now, in 1931, the venerable theorist of social psychology and crowd control, Gustave Le Bon, lived out his final day; half a world and half a dozen years away from that, in 1937, Japanese imperial soldiers managed completely to crush Chinese Nationalist opposition in Nanjing, a prelude to the coming slaughter of tens of thousands; a single cycle round the solar center after that, in 1938, in the Western prong of the fascist experiment, Nazi Germany opened the Bergendorfer concentration camp near Hamburg; half a decade forward from that, as the fascist debacle unfolded in 1943 in Greece, German troops undertook reprisals against resistance activity near the town of Kalabryta by wantonly murdering more than 700 civilians, primarily men, in the population of that village; another year yet later on, in 1944, the iconic modernist painter Wassily Kandinsky,

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who had started out in Russia but ended up a citizen of France, died in that war-torn country; a thousand ninety-five days further along, in 1947, the thinker and storyteller Henry James breathed his last; a pair of years past that passing on, in 1949, across the wide Atlantic and much of the Mediterranean, the new government of Israel transferred the capital city to Jerusalem, much to the chagrin of Palestine’s continued co-inhabitants; eleven years subsequently, in 1960, while on a visit to Brazil, Haile Selassie lost his imperial imprimatur to his son as plotters removed him from power while he was on the road; a year even closer to the current context, in 1961, the venerable and esteemed artist, Grandma Moses, painted a final scene for herself; one more year on the march toward today, in 1962, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration launched the world’s first active repeater communications satellite; six years henceforth, in 1968, reactionary established criminals in Brasilia by decree ended habeas corpus and other aspects of ‘liberal democracy’ in Brazil; corcovado_rio_twilight_2 brazilthirteen years farther down the pike, in 1981, a different sort of reactionary occurrence unfolded in Poland as that country’s military leadership declared martial law because of the successful organizing tactics of the Solidarity labor organization; seven years still more proximate to the present pass, in 1988, Palestine Liberation Organization head Yasser Arafat delivered a United Nations general assembly speech in Switzerland when the US government refused his request for a visa to New York; a thirteen years span past that, in 2001, a terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament in Delhi led to the deaths of the five terrorists themselves, half a dozen military intervenors, and a single civilian; three hundred sixty-five days later still, in 2002, the European Union expanded its membership to include Cyprus and nearly a dozen former members of the Warsaw pact, violating the spirit it not the formal letter of the agreement between the Soviet Union as it dissolved and the imperial phalanx of the United States and NATO; another year along the temporal arc, in 2003, the mercurial and complicated dictatorial ruler Saddam Hussein surrendered to invading American captors in his home town of Tikrit; a pair of years in even greater proximity to the current point in time, in 2005, the still fairly young founder of the California Crips gang lived out his final scene; a half dozen years onward from that, in 2011, the science fiction, fantasy, and children’s storyteller and popular interlocutor Russel Hoban played out his final chapter.