Today in the United States is a celebration of the birth of President, slaveholder, and true-genius ‘founding father,’ Thomas Jefferson, while Burmese and related cultures begin to celebrate a ‘New Year’ with the Thingyan Festival, which commemorates a Brahmin king’s decapitation to fulfill a wager;
in Constantinople eight hundred thirteen years ago, members of the Fourth Crusade overthrew and temporarily ended the Byzantine Empire; three centuries and sixty-six years beyond that instant, in 1570, the male child first looked around who would grow up as the critic and conspirator and hero of anarchists everywhere, Guy Fawkes; twenty-eight additional years in the future from that, in 1598, Henry IV of France issued the Edict of Nantes, which instituted a form of freedom of religion of the Huguenots; fifteen years subsequently, in 1613, the English leader in Virginia orchestrated the capture of Powhatan’s daughter Pocahontas in order to gain leverage for the release of British prisoners; two hundred seventy-five years before the here and now, the epic Messiah of George Frideric Handel premiered in Dublin; a single year farther along, in 1743, the baby boy opened his eyes who would rise as an erstwhile champion of liberty and slavery at the same time, by the name of Thomas Jefferson; eight decades and six years on the nose henceforth, in 1829, Britain lifted its nearly two-century ban on Catholics’ serving in Parliament or other high office; a quarter of the distance more along time’s path towards now, in 1849, Hungary participated in a certain sort of European revolution and became a republic; a dozen years after that, in 1861, the Union garrison at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, surrendered under threat of continued Confederate bombardment; five years later, in 1866, a male baby came along who would become criminal mastermind Butch Cassidy; four years yet later on, in 1870, New York City founded the metropolitan Museum of Art; three years after that fact, in 1873, in Colfax, Louisiana, a slaughter of sixty African American men defined the contradictions and hypocrisy of the politics of so-called Reconstruction; twelve years later exactly, in 1885, a male child was born in Hungary who would grow into Marxist thinker and genius theoretician Georg Luckacz; one short year later, in 1886, the life of John Noyes ended, near the time that the complicated social structure which he founded as the Oneida Community also came to an end; eight years nearer to now, in 1894, the railroad union leader Eugene Debs led a strike that across the Northern Pacific route won wage increases, work improvements, and massive increases in labor’s ranks; five years thereafter, in 1899, the little baby boy entered our midst who would endear himself to wordsmiths everywhere with the invention of Scrabble as Alfred Mosher Butts; seven hundred thirty days afterward, in 1901, across the Atlantic in France, a male infant took a modernist breath on his fated path to become psychiatrist and deconstructionist Jacques Lacan; half a decade beyond that point, in 1906, a baby boy both French and Irish gave an initial cry on his way to a life as Nobel Prize wining playwright and critic Samuel Beckett; three years later, in 1909, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, a baby girl started out on the road to life as acclaimed writer
Eudora Welty; a decade closer to today’s sunrise, in 1919, the Republic of Korea first formed, and in a different expression of imperial hegemony, 2000 miles south and west, British troops murdered scores of unarmed civilians and injured thousands of others at Amritsar, and on the other side of the world, Eugene Debs went to U.S. Federal prison for the crime of raising his voice against the barbarism of the conscription for World War One’s slaughterhouse, and, moreover, a female child came into the world in the usual way who would mature as atheist instigator Madalyn Murray O’Hare; eighty-seven years back, a youthful Jimmy Hoffa led his co-workers on a highly-leveraged strawberry strike against the Kroger company that won wage increases and relief in draconian work rules for him and his fellows; three hundred and sixty-five days farther down the pike, in 1931, in France, a little boy took his first breath who would become the Academy Award filmmaker Robert Enrico; a year later, three hundred sixty-six days as a result of the Leap Year, in 1932, in Chile, a baby boy uttered his first cry on his way to a brief life as justice-oriented economist Orlando Letelier; an additional six years on the road to today, in 1938,the British man who had acculturated as an Ojibwe Indian in Great Lakes Canada, under the name Grey Owl, in which capacity he moved millions with his thinking on conservation and commodification, spent his final day among the beavers and birds; one year on the dot after that, in 1939, an Irish boy entered the world who would grow up as Nobel prose winning poet and author Seamus Heaney; another year further on, in 1940, across the English Channel, another baby boy entered the world who would go onto Nobel fame as writer and educator J.M.G. Le Clézio, ; around the world still another year closer to today, in 1941, Japan and the Soviet Union agreed to neutrality, despite the fact that the one’s mortal enemy and the other’s fast friend was Nazi Germany; seven hundred and thirty days henceforth, in 1943, the United States dedicated the Jefferson Memorial on his 200th birthday; a year later still, in 1944, way down under, New Zealand established diplomatic relations with Communist Russia; four years down the road from that point, in 1948, scores of noncombatant Jewish medical personnel died at Hadassah at the hands of Arabic fighters; a year closer to now, in 1949, a male infant uttered his first cry en route to a life as journalist and critic Christopher Hitchens; fourteen hundred sixty-one days beyond that exact conjunction, in 1953, Allen Dulles, Catholic neo-Nazi CIA director, inaugurated the MKULTRA CIA mind control operation, which included dosing clueless civilians with LSD; another four years beyond that moment, in a 1957 counterpoint to Dulles’ perfidy, a baby girl entered the world who would mature as the journalist-for-progress Amy Goodman; a single year past that precise point in space and time, in 1958 Moscow, a high point in ‘Cold War Cultural Cooperation’ transpired when Van Cliburn won the top prize in the International Tchaikovsky Competition; two more years even closer to the current context, in 1960, the United States launched Transit 1 B, the world’s first satellite navigation system; three years hence, in 1963, in Russia, a baby boy was born who became the chess genius and political leader Gary Kasparov; one leap year after that, in 1964, Sidney Poitier became the first African American to win the Academy Award for Best Actor; two years hence, in 1966, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference adopted a resolution that was critical of the government’s acts in South Vietnam; an extra six years more proximate to the present pass, in 1972, the Universal Postal Union came to grips with reality in recognizing the People’s Republic of China as the only ‘Chinese Nation,’ replacing
Taiwan’s place at that designated position; two years more proximate to today, in 1974, Western Union and Hughes Aircraft collaborated with the National Aeronautics & Space Administration in launching TelStar-I, the world’s first commercial geosynchronous communications orbiter; a year shy decade hence precisely, in 1984, India extended its dominion over more territory in the disputed regions of Kashmir, furthering the so-called Line of Control over parts of the Siachen Glacier; three years thereafter, in 1987, Portugal and the People’s Republic of China agreed to Macao’s return to Chinese control twelve years down the road, in 1999; six years beyond the original agreement, in 1993, the historian and critic and thinker Wallace Stegner died; eleven years ahead of this juncture, the complex and brilliant British writer, Muriel Spark, breathed her last; eight years after that, to the day, in 2014, the investigator and thinker Michael Ruppert killed himself; onward and upward another year toward the now, in 2015, two masterful thinkers and writers breathed their last, in Ecuador, Eduardo Galeano and over the wide ocean in Germany, the novelist and storyteller and Nobel Prize winner, Gunter Grass.