12.20.2016 Day in History

slavery racism brutalityThis date in French Guiana serves as the Abolition of Slavery Day, while people around the world appropriately enough celebrate International Human Solidarity Day; as the most predatory period of the Roman empire accelerated one thousand nine hundred forty-seven years ago, one of Nero’s henchmen, and hatchetmen, Vespasian, assumed the imperial throne in Rome; one hundred forty-eight years onward in time, in 217, the early Catholic Church evinced similar proclivities to factionalism and internal strife with the replacement of Pope Zephyrinus with Pope Callixtus I, with an immediate result of accusations against the new pontiff that he lacked ideological rigor about the nature of the Holy Trinity; eight and three quarter centuries later, in 1192, after England’s first King Richard – with his ‘lion heart’ – had negotiated an end to the Third Crusade, he faced imprisonment for a time by the Austrian crown on his way back to England; thirty-three distant decades in the future from that, in 1522, a somewhat similar happenstance of Islamic and Christian conflict unfolded as the most magnificent Suleiman accepted the surrender of the knights who remained alive on Rhodes giving them safe passage that eventually led them to a new sinecure and a new name on Malta; four hundred ten years back, the ships that would carry the first passengers to Jamestown departed their berth in England; three years short of two centuries after that, in 1803, US and French negotiators formally finalized the Louisiana Purchase in New Orleans; nine years hence, in 1812, the estimable guide and grassroots ‘diplomat,’ Sacagawea, departed on her final journey; forty-eight years further along, in 1860, South Carolina took a first stab at being the first state to secede from the Union, which it eventually succeeded in becoming; precisely thirty-nine years on the path to today from that point, in 1899, the American Federation of Labor demonstrated its progressive bona fides by endorsing the female franchise; a thousand ninety-five days more on time’s relentless march, in 1902, a little baby boy opened his eyes who would rise as the thinker and writer Sidney Hook; another three years subsequent to that entry point, in 1906, the United States first availed itself of its imperial imprimatur in the Philippines to mass ship sugar workers from that archipelago to the Hawaiian Islands; half a decade afterward, in 1911, a girl child came along who would lead a long and productive life as the writer and thinker Hortense Calisher; half a dozen years further onward, in 1917, the male infant bounced into the world who would grow up as the scientist of cognition and psyche and neuroscientist David Bohm; a quarter century trip past that moment, in 1942, erstwhile conquering Japanese conquering belligerents ventured far afield in their attacks, bombing Calcutta in the Indian subcontinent; one thousand four hundred sixty-one days down the pike from that, in 1946, the iconic, if

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disingenuous, popular movie It’s a Wonderful Life, first debuted in New York, and the infant boy gave an initial cry who would eventually astonish audiences as the magician and showman and ‘psychic,’ Uri Geller; a mere five years nearer to the here and now, in 1951, through the Mediterranean and across the Atlantic and North America in Idaho, the experimental breeder reactor became the first commercial design of nuclear power to generate electricity; another three years in the direction of today, in 1954, a girl child entered the world in standard fashion who would grow up as the poet and writer and critic Sandra Cisneros; three years yet later on, in 1957, an English boy cried out for the first time en route to his work and life as the rocker and lyricist Billy Bragg; four years thereafter, in 1961, the well known and well loved playwright and producer Moss Hart acted out his final scene; seven years still more proximate to the present pass, in 1968, the brilliant and prolific writer and recipient of Nobel laureates John Steinbeck breathed his last; seven hundred thirty days after that conjunction, in 1970, the United States joined the ‘civilised world’ in operationalizing the Occupation Safety and Health Administration; the very next year, in 1971, across the ocean in France, medical professionals met in Paris to inaugurate Medecins Sans Frontiers, which in English has the name Doctors Without Borders; two years subsequently, in 1973, as the end of Spanish fascism approached, assassins murdered the country’s prime minister with a car bomb; a dozen years even closer to the current context, in 1985, the second Pope John Paul pronounced this day as International Youth Day; an additional two years more in the direction of our precise point in space and time, in 1987, a horrific nautical accident took place in the Philippines Sea as a freighter collided with an oil tanker, crushing and otherwise eliminating from the mortal coil somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,000 human beings; another pair of years henceforth, in 1989, United States hegemons and their ‘spook’ servants initiated an attack on the CIA’s ‘asset’ in Panama, Manuel Noriega, further deepening that nation’s corruption and establishing the basis for a more perfect union of crime and capital; another pair of years later still, in 1991, roughly 25,000 to the North in Missouri, a Palestinian immigrant father and Brazilian mother received the death sentence for murdering their own daughter with a knife because she had violated certain ‘honor’ protocols; four years in even greater proximity to our particular point in time, in 1995, having decimated the Yugoslav republic, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization began peacekeeping operations in Bosnia; the very next year, in 1996, the magnificent genius of Carl Sagan was no more; another single spin around the sun forward in space an time, in 1997, the poet and critic Denise Levertov composed her final stanza; seven hundred thirty days further forward toward today, in 1999, Portugal ‘returned’ its colonial possession of Macau to China; exactly another two years further along, in 2001, one of the founders of Negritude, Leopold Sedar Senghar, lived out his final day after nine and a half decades of insight and leadership; four additional years on the temporal arc, in 2005, an erstwhile illegal transit strike in New York City resulted in the arrest of the transportation union president and a 2.5 million dollar fine against the union.