5.18.2017 Day in History

Today around the world is both International Museum Day and World AIDS Vaccine Day, and Syria celebrates Teachers’ Day on this date in May; in Constantinople, sixteen hundred eighty-five years ago, Emperor Constantine the Great proclaimed free food for all the city’s citizens in order to ameliorate hunger and general crisis; six hundred and sixty-four years subsequently, in 1096, five hundred miles to the North, a horrifying precursor of solutions final and barbarous took place when First ‘Crusaders’ massacred plus or minus a thousand Jewish residents of Worms, Germany; once more with ‘past as prelude’ one hundred seventy-two years later, in 1261, Maimluk Sultan Baibars overthrew the Principality of Antioch in a siege that attacked First Crusade redoubts at the present-day Turkish-Syrian border; another twenty-three years thereafter, in 1291, Christians lost their last substantial hold on the so-called Holy Land of the Eastern Mediterranean when a bloody siege dislodged or killed all the Europeans at Acre, near present-day Haifa, in Israel, in what was then the Kingdom of Jerusalem; a bit less than a thousand miles North, and eleven years after that carnage, in 1302, a centrally important and defining moment at the initiation of capital’s imprimatur in Europe took place when Flemish bourgeois in Bruges massacred as many as two thousand or more French troops garrisoned there to oversee ‘free trade’ in favor of French manufacturers; five hundred eighteen years ahead of this day in time, Spanish explorer-bandit Alonso de Ojeda set out from Cadiz in the first sally of conquest into what is now Venezuela; sixty-six years hence, in 1565, Ottoman fighters initiated the Great Siege of Malta, which sought and failed to conquer the island and expel the Europeans who ruled there; a few years beyond a quarter century closer to now, in 1593, hundreds of miles North in London, the estimable playwright Thomas Kyd, after brutal torture, implicated the brilliant Christopher Marlowe, which led to his arrest on this very day and probably assassination less than a fortnight later; three hundred sixty-four years back,slavery racism brutalityRhode Island became the first British Colony to outlaw slavery; a century and four years henceforth, in 1756, one of Europe’s early conflicts that ended up spanning the globe began as the Seven Years War; a quarter century down the road, in  1781, Peruvian revolutionary leader Tupac Amaru breathed his last; two years subsequent to that conjunction, in 1783, North in the United States the first batch of exiled Royalists arrived from the former colonies in New Brunswick; twenty-one years later, in 1804,the inevitable tendency of France’s ‘revolution’ manifested itself in the proclamation of Napoleon as emperor; four years hence, in 1808, back across the Atlantic, an entirely different sort of noble Frankish exercise culminated in the death of Elijah Craig, the preacher who first formulated Bourbon whiskey; three years thereafter, and 4000 miles South in 1811, the initial triumph of the rebellion against Spain in Uruguay took place in the Battle of Las Piedras; eleven years onward from that, back in the US in 1822, the baby boy was born who would grow up as the photographer and documentarian of life and war, Matthew Brady; thirty-three years further along time’s road, in 1855, well North in the United States, a baby boy came along who would grow up as preacher and poet Francis Bellamy, whose ‘Christian socialist’ contribution would include the Pledge of Allegiance; five years after to the day, in 1860, Abraham Lincoln won the Republican nomination for President over William Seward; a dozen years beyond that conjunction, in 1872, across the North Atlantic a baby boy was born to great privilege who would end up as an advocate of peace and social justice and socialism, who would win the Nobel Prize as mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russell; just short of two decades past that exact point, in 1891, a male infant entered the world who matured as the philosopher and proponent of logical positivism and correspondent of Russell, Rudolf Carnap; four years further solidarityalong time’s arc, in 1895,Southwest across the Atlantic, a very different male infant uttered his first cry en route to a few decades as an opponent of U.S. empire and proponent of Nicaraguan liberation, Augusto Cesar Sandino; just three hundred sixty six days after that moment, in 1896,the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a different sort of oppression from what Sandino fought against in its Plessy v. Ferguson legitimization of ‘separate but equal;’ one more year down the pike, in 1897, another baby boy took an initial breath in Italy, prior to his stinking steerage passage to America where he gained renown and fortune as director and filmmaker of individualist fantasies, Frank Capra; three years precisely further along the path to the present, in 1900, England imposed a ‘protectorate’ on three quarters of a million square miles of the Pacific, the ‘nation’ of Tonga; a dozen years subsequent to that juncture, in 1912, and roughly five thousand miles Northeast in another ‘corner’ of the British Empire, Indian filmmakers produced the first Hindi movie, a feature that showed up in theaters in Mumbai, and the estimable ball player and consummate bigot Ty Cobb, led an early professional labor action with the Detroit Tigers, and the male infant came bouncing into the world who would mature as the screenwriter and film producer Richard Brooks; half a decade later, in 1917, around the world in the District of Columbia, Congress passed the Selective Service Act, which legalized both military conscription and the repression of those who disliked it, and the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butchers Union began to organize across the United States aggressively enough to grow their ranks from just over 5,000 to nearly 100,000 in just two years; eight years yet later on, in 1925, the little baby girl opened her eyes who would rise as the popular creator of children’s stories and illustrator, Lillian Hoban; just a year afterward, in 1926, across North America in Venice, California, Aimee Semple McPherson vanished from the beach, only to show up weeks later, wandering in the Mexican desert after she supposedly escaped the clutches of kidnappers who may have loathed her sermonizing enough to welcome her departure without any ransom payment; another year more proximate to the present, in 1927, a depressed, pre-SSRI mass murderer killed plus or minus thirty-eight elementary school kids and half-a-dozen or so adults in the Bath School Massacre; three hundred sixty-six leap days further along, in 1928,  the stalwart leader of labor, Big Bill Haywood, drew his final breath; five years still later on, in 1933, Franklin Roosevelt signed the legislation that created the critically important Tennessee Valley Authority; eleven years henceforth, in 1944, victorious Red Army advances led Soviet authorities to deport Tatar Nazi collaborators, and their entire communities in some cases, from Crimea; four years thereafter, in 1948, a baby Korean boy came into our midst whose father had defected to the North, in spite of which he grew up as acclaimed literature professor and progressive storyteller, Mun-Yol Yi; seven hundred thirty days farther in the direction of today, in 1950, Atlanta’s transit workers went on strike to protest fingerprinting as a condition of employment; half a decade more along the route to today, in 1955, halfway round the globe in Indochina, Operation Passage to Freedom delivered several hundred thousand soldiers and civilians who were fleeing France’s Dien Bien Phu debacle to Southern Vietnam; a decade still later, in 1965,  Syrian authorities executed an Israeli spy in Damascus; five years even closer to the current context, in 1970, a girl child called out for the first time en route to a life as the entertainer and screenwriter Tina Fey; exactly four hence, in 1974, in the Subcontinent, India detonated its first nuclear weapon, the so-called Smiling Buddha blast; four years exactly after that day, in 1978, a baby girl was born in America who would grow up as salacious and free-living blogger and gadfly, Jess Cutler; a single year more proximate to the present pass, in 1979,the murdered Karen Silkwood’s estate won a multimillion dollar settlement against nuclear predator Kerr-McGee for that company’s grossly negligent poisoning of the union member and activist with plutonium; around the world on the Korean Peninsula one year thereafter, in 1980, a popular uprising occurred against the Korean government dictatorship that led to the murder by police and troops of over six hundred citizens who began to take up arms to democratize South Korea; just a year afterward, back in the U.S. in 1981, author and thinker William Saroyan died; seven hundred thirty additional days toward today’s light and air, in 1983, across the wide Atlantic, the Irish government cracked down on pirate media by closing Dublin’s primary underground radio broadcaster; ten years after that, in 1993, Danish citizens rioted with such intensity against the imposition of European Union protocols that police in Copenhagen fired on people for the first time since World War Two and its aftermath.