Today over much of the Earth marks World Crohn’s and Colitis Day, as well as World Turtle Day, while Mexico celebrates Students’ Day and Germany commemorates its Constitution; on the Iberian Peninsula eleven hundred seventy-three years ago, the Battle of Clavijo, purportedly because of a ghostly saint’s intervention, favored a significantly outnumbered force of Christian Asturians who were fighting the troops of the then-ascendant Emir of Cordoba; almost a decade and a half less than four centuries subsequent to that conjunction, in 1430, Joan of Arc, whose rebellion in a later, more internecine, European struggle threatened both the Church’s rule in and the crowned heads of Europe, fell into the hands of Burgundian captors as she led troops to relieve Compiegne; sixty-eight years henceforth, in 1498, another continental imbroglio concluded with the hanging and burning at the stake of Girolamo Savonarola for his actions in favor of the French and against the Pope’s imprimatur; exactly seven decades later, in 1568, the Netherlands pronounced independence from Spain, which Dutch rebels made tangible with a defeat of Spanish-supported forces at Heiligerlee that initiated the 80 Years’ War; forty further years onward toward today, in 1618, Protestant insurgents threw representatives of Catholic nobility out of windows in Prague, a defenestration which sparked the Thirty Years’ War; three hundred sixteen years before this instant in space and time, a prominent privateer, William Kidd, who, like many of his fellows, had upon the withdrawal of permission to loot and plunder from on high, gone into business as freelancers, died at the end of a rope on a gallows in London;one and a quarter centuries, plus a year, farther down time’s path, in 1827, the first ‘nursery school’ in North America opened in New York City, both to facilitate more
efficient exploitation of young mothers and to inculcate ‘market
values’ among youngsters; seven hundred thirty-one days past that intersection, across the wide Atlantic and much of Europe in 1829, an Austrian garnered the patent for the world’s first accordion; seventeen decades and a year back, meanwhile, back in North America, Mexico’s President ‘unofficially’ but really declared war on the United States; a hundred thirty-four years prior to the present pass, a baby boy was born who would grow up as the performer and filmic storyteller, Douglas Fairbanks; eight years onward from that, in 1891, over the great north Atlantic, a male child opened his eyes who would rise as the Nobel Literary Laureate and poet and writer, Par Lagerkvist; seven years subsequently, in 1898 California, another male infant first cried out who would mature as a prolific storyteller, one who would compose dozens of children’s yarns, in addition to many other volumes, as Scott O’Dell; half a decade further along, on the other side of the continent in 1903, as many as a hundred thousand or more textile workers, including over ten thousand children, went on strike for union recognition, higher wages, and better working conditions; a thousand ninety-six days hence, in 1906, the powerful and critically acclaimed dramatist and thinker, Henrik Ibsen, lived through his final scene; another five years in the direction of now, in 1911, the New
York Public Library opened its main branch in Manhattan, which still serves the public a century and five years in the future; three additional years on the trek toward today, in 1914, a female infant called out en route to her destiny, the life and work of journalist and columnist Celestine Sibley; eighteen years afterward, in 1932, police-state killers in Brazil shot down four students who were participating in a Manifestation against Rio’s dictator, and their names formed the letters of the revolutionary organization that would later, temporarily, restore democracy in the land; seven hundred thirty days nearer to now, in 1934, back in the U.S., police picked a fight in the “Battle of Toledo” when they arrested strike leaders for the crime of advocating a union at the Auto-Lite plant, which caused ten thousand or more picketers to close access to the facility, resulting in police murder of several strikers and the turning out of the National Guard, though the organizing demands were ultimately successful, in any event, and Bonnie and Clyde met their ignoble end at the hands of police; a dozen years after that instant, in 1946, the class war continued in the aftermath of World War as it had before, and railway workers throughout the U.S. went on strike for a fairer share of their ‘surplus value;’ three hundred sixty-five days more proximate to the present passage of time, in 1947, a little baby girl cried out who would go on to life as the poet and critic Jane Kenyon; still another year yet later on, in 1948, the U.S. envoy to the transition of Mandatory Palestine to Israel, Thomas C. Wasson, died at the hands of an assassin as he returned to the consulate in Jewish-controlled West Jerusalem from attempts to negotiate an end to carnage; just a mere year down the pike, in 1949,the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany came to pass, along with ‘Allied’ agreement as to the new nation’s ‘basic law;’ nine years henceforth, in 1958, a boy child first shouted out on his way to a life as the journalist and popular chronicler, Mitch Albom; two years later, in 1960, notorious Nazi Adolf Eichmann was captured; another near seven years forward in time, in 1967, across the Atlantic and through much of the Mediterranean, Egypt, acting as the United Arab Republic, engaged the geopolitical mayhem of the Northern Africa and Southwest Asia when it announced the closing of the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli
shipping, thereby laying the basis for war in short order; a quarter century farther down time’s path, in 1992, across the choppy Mediterranean, Sicilian Mafia gangsters exploded a half ton car bomb, killing a prominent anti-organized-crime judge, his wife, and three bodyguards, in what many observers call a ‘turning point’ in Italy’s longstanding conflict with Mafioso; three years still later in space and time, in 1995, developers released the first version of the Java computer programming language; seven years after that, in 2002, Iceland’s ratification fulfilled the first condition of the establishment of the United Nations Kyoto climate protocols as international convention; an additional six years forward on the trek to this moment, in 2008, the estimable activist, crooner, and lyricist Utah Phillips sang his swan song; another half dozen years forward in time, in 2014, mass murder unfolded in Santa Barbara, near the University of California campus, with seven deaths, including the shooter, and fourteen serious injuries.