Around the planet today is World Civil Defence Day and Self-Injury Awareness Day, while the U.S. commemorates National Pig Day, and the Marshall Islands celebrates Remembrance Day to recall H-bombs dropped on their neighborhoods, as Iceland lifts a mug to the ending of prohibition in its Beer Day; in the legendary realm of ancient Rome, supposedly two thousand seven hundred sixty-eight years ago, the Republic’s mythic founder, Romulus, succeeded in finding wives for his soldiers and followers by overthrowing and slaughtering the men of Rome’s neighbor, Caenina, in the storied crime, the Rape of the Sabine Women; theoretically exactly six hundred sixty-six years later, in 86 BCE, a later incarnation of a Republican Roman empire overthrew an Athenian tyrant and cemented imperial control of Greece; a hundred twenty-six years further along, in the year 40 according to some calculations, the baby boy was born who would become the great Roman poet from the Iberian Peninsula, Martial; five hundred sixty years ahead of today,on the borders of Bohemia and Moravia, present-day Czech Republic, the second oldest Protestant denomination took shape, evolving into the worldwide Moravian Church; a century and half a decade henceforth, in 1562, Catholics in Wassy, France massacred more than a score of Huguenots, thus initiating the French Wars of Religion; a thousand ninety-six days onward, over six thousand miles Southwest in Portuguese South America in 1565, the city of Rio de Janeiro came into existence; seventy-seven years subsequent to that point in time, in 1642, four thousand miles or so North in the Americas, the first British city in the English colonies incorporated in Massachusetts Bay, in what is today York Maine; a half century after that on the dot, in 1692, also in what is now Massachusetts, magistrates incarcerated two local women of English descent and a female slave, initiating in Salem Village what became a famous set of witch trials; twenty-one years past that conjunction, hundreds of miles to the South in the Carolinas in 1713, British colonial authorities led primarily a force of other indigenous peoples to begin a siege of a huge Tuscarora fortress, the subsequent destruction of which, with attendant slaughter and enslavement, ‘opened’ what is now Western North and South Carolina to ‘efficient development’ and further depredation and genocide; precisely eight decades later on, in 1803, Ohio became the seventeenth jurisdiction that Anglo-Americans ‘carved’ out of indigenous territory as a ‘State of the Union;’ two years henceforth, in 1805, a largely political, but arguably also justifiable, attempt to impeach the ‘activist’ Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase, ended with the Senate’s clearing him of the charges that the House of Representatives had brought, thereby guaranteeing the link between the protection of wealth and power and the Federal Court system; five years past that juncture in time and space, in 1810, the baby boy opened his eyes who would rise as the great musician and composer, Frederic Chopin; three hundred sixty-five days thereafter, in 1811, the Albanian-descended Ottoman ‘pasha’ of Egypt consolidated his and the empire’s imprimatur by slaughtering over seven hundred Mamluks in an ambush as they made their way to a ‘party’ to which he had invited them; twenty-six years more down time’s path, in 1837, the male child came forth who would mature as the novelist and critic, William Dean Howells; eight years yet farther onward, in 1845, President John Tyler signed the annexation of Texas into law, thereby setting the stage for war with Mexico and further territorial expansion during the Polk Presidency; two years subsequently, in 1847, the relatively new State of Michigan banned capital punishment; twenty five years even closer to the current context, in 1872, Yellowstone National Park became the world’s first such establishment of a ‘nature preserve;’ a single year more in the direction of today, in 1873, the capitalist Eliphalet Remington expanded on his factories’ production of armaments by setting up the world’s first facility for the production of typewriters; seven further years down the pike, in 1880, a baby boy was born in England en route to life as the biographer and critic, Lytton Strachey; thirteen additional years toward today, in 1893, the
electrical genius Nikola Tesla first demonstrated a radio to a crowd in St. Louis; three years after that, in another first in relation to understanding fundamental forces, in 1896, Henri Becquerel gave the first essentially accurate description of the phenomenon of radioactivity; another decade on the road to contemporary time, in 1906, a boy baby in New York cried out who would become the renowned seaman and founding executive officer of the National Maritime Union, Joseph Curren; one hundred three years back, the male child took a first breath whom fate had designated to become the masterful writer and thinker, Ralph Ellison; three years yet nearer to now, in 1917, the U.S. government released the unencrypted text of the Zimmerman telegram to the American public, in which Germany offered Mexico some of its lost territory in return for a declaration of war against its Northern neighbor, and a baby boy gave a first cry on his way to a life as the poet, Robert Lowell; another decade hence, in 1927, a male child entered the world in standard fashion who would grow up to sing and write and bear witness as the iconic Harry Belafonte; nine more years along the temporal arc, in 1936, the triumph of engineering and skilled and manual labor known as Hoover dam, which had cost over a hundred lives to finish, began to generate electricity every day, and, aboard the steamship California, a huge strike among merchant mariners laid the basis, on the founding president’s birthday, for the National Maritime Union; a year subsequent to that, in 1937, the Congress of Industrial Organization’s John L. Lewis and the notoriously, if not fanatically, antiunion United States Steel Corporation’s executives signed a contract which recognized the United Steelworkers and won a big pay raise to boot; four years hence, in 1941, a radio station in Nashville became the planet’s first Frequency Modulation facility; three more years toward our own light and air, in 1944, in war-torn Britain, a male infant shouted out who would go on to become the crooner and rocker and lyricist, Roger Daltrey; two years still more proximate to the present pass, in Daltrey’s 1946 Great Britain, the government nationalized the Bank of England; in a related development a single year later, in 1947, the International Monetary Fund began operations; another three years on time’s path, in 1950, England’s ‘atomic spy,’ Klaus Fuchs, faced conviction
for having spied for and funneled secrets to the Soviet Union; four further years after that conjunction, in 1954, the United States detonated a thermonuclear device in the South Pacific for which Fuchs had done some of the theoretical calculations, a so-called Hydrogen bomb roughly 1,000 times more powerful and murderous than the killing machines that had incinerated and poisoned hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and Puerto Rican Nationalists assaulted the U.S. Congress, wounding five; seven years thereafter, in 1961, President John Kennedy signed his name to the creation of the Peace Corps; forty-three years before the here and now, seven operatives and officials of the Nixon White House faced indictments for their roles
in the Watergate break-in and cover-up; just shy of a decade henceforth, in 1983, acclaimed writer and thinker, Arthur Koestler, breathed his last; seven years onward, in 1990, the Secret Service brutally raided Steve Jackson Games in Austin, Texas, leading to the formation of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a hefty damage award against the U.S. government; five years afterward, in 1995, Yahoo! incorporated for business; seven years later, in 2002, the United States with impunity began its predatory and murderous trillion dollar invasion of Afghanistan; another year farther along time’s arrow, in 2003, the Department of Homeland Security subsumed into its maw the Customs Bureau and Secret Service; three years beyond that, in 2006, Wikipedia posted its millionth English article; a year yet later on, in 2007, the eviction of Danish Squatters caused Copenhagen’s March Riots to erupt.