This date marks, though the delineation makes Americans especially uncomfortable, International Sex Workers Day, a demarcation of the ‘profession,’ along with the military labors that bring it to the fore, that is as old as civilization; one thousand five hundred seventy-two years ago, Vandal fighters whose honor the imperious Roman rulers had trampled breached the defenses of Rome and proceeded to plunder the city and its surrounding areas for a fortnight or more; five hundred sixty-five years hence, just over a millennium ago in 1010, the martial engagement at Aqbat al-Bakr effected a defeat that foreshadowed the dissolution of the Caliphate of Cordoba and the extension of the Reconquista in the Iberian Peninsula; eighty-eight years after that point, in 1098, Christian crusaders overthrew the city of Antioch’s defenses, in the still-troubled-today Levant, and entered as its conquerors; extending the metaphor that the cross leads the flag, or at least accompanies it, French missionaries four centuries and two years back to the day arrived in Quebec City as part of the Recollect Order, which subsequently joined the Franciscans; seventy-seven years past that juncture on the dot, in 1692, the trial of Bridget Bishop for witchcraft began in Salem, Massachusetts; forty-eight years subsequent to that passing horror, in 1740, a baby boy came squalling into the world en route to a life of dissolute popularity as Marquis de Sade, perfect for aristocrats and other decadent sorts; Pontiac’s rebellion across the ocean in Michigan unfolded twenty-three years later, in 1763, when Chippewa warriors used a Lacrosse game as a pretext for entering Fort Michilimackinan, near what is now Mackinaw City, Michigan; eleven years precisely more proximate to the present, in 1774, England’s Parliament passed colonial Quartering Acts that fueled anger in America that would soon erupt in open rebellion; a dozen years onward from that momentous occasion, in 1786, twenty-six journeymen printers in newly liberated Philadelphia conducted the first strike in the new United States; back across the waters of the Atlantic, seven years thereafter, in 1793, Paris’ National Guard orchestrated the arrest of twenty-two Girondists, as the revolution entered its most internally ‘terrifying’ and bloody phases; four decades and two years additional in the direction of today, in 1835, P.T. Barnum’s first circus tour of the U.S. started; half a decade hence, in 1840, a baby boy was born whose destiny was to publish literary masterpieces as Thomas Hardy; eight years further down the pike, in 1848, in Southern Europe, the first international Pan Slavic Congress, an event of significance in relation to empire, nationalism, and the rise of German and Austrian power, happened in Prague; seven years beyond that point, across Europe and the Atlantic in 1855, Portland, Maine underwent an uprising, or rum riot, in protest at an early version of the corruption and idiotic righteousness of prohibition, while back on the continent a baby boy was born en route to his life as the poet and thinker and Nobel Literary Laureate, Karl Adolph Gjellerup; eleven years closer to now, in 1866, Irish-American nationalists conducted successful raids against British Canadian fortresses at Erie and Ridgeway; a decade henceforth, in 1876, Bulgarian and other Balkan national revolutionaries died in combat against the Ottomans at Stara Planina, including Bulgaria’s heroic people’s poet, Hristo Botev; two decades further along
time’s arc, in 1896, Guglielmo Marconi applied for a patent for the form of radio broadcasting, more or less, still in use; eleven years more proximate to the present, in 1907, a baby girl entered our midst who would mature as the popular writer of upper-class Black stories, Dorothy West; another half-dozen years down the line, in 1913, a female child took a first breath whose life some have called the maturation of the “most underrated novelist” of the twentieth century, Barbara Pym; a thousand ninety-six days subsequently, in 1916, across the Atlantic in the U.S., a widespread strike began in the Mesabi Iron Range of Minnesota, an uprising of solidarity that International Workers of the World organizers orchestrated into a massive regional campaign; precisely three further years after that juncture, in 1919, in part as a result of business’ impunity in its resistance to working class organization, eight cities in which anarchist and radical organizing was prominent experienced explosions, bombings allegedly the result of anarchist outbursts; across the ocean in Spain three years yet later on, in 1922, a male infant shouted out who would mature as Juan Antonio Bardem, a filmmaker and storyteller of socially real and even radical narratives; two further years subsequently, in 1924, President Calvin Coolidge
signed the legislation that permitted Native American citizenship in the lands that they had occupied time immemorial and that European interlopers stole out from under them, while the Senate acceded to a Constitutional Amendment that the House of Representatives had already passed, which permitted legislation to restrict child labor, a beacon of social progress that only 28 of the requisite thirty-seven States saw fit to ratify; twenty-two years still later, in 1946, Italians voted overwhelmingly to rid themselves of monarchs and become a Republic, exiling their second King Umberto in part because of his cozy connection to fascists and other denizens of reaction; six years onward in space and time, in 1952, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that President Truman’s seizure of the steel mills to prevent a strike was unconstitutional, which meant that 600,000 steelworkers instantly went back to the picket lines; a mere year to the day thereafter, in 1953, a male infant uttered an initial cry on his way to a life as popular thinker and writer, Cornel West; eight years even closer to the current context, in 1961, popular and prolific playwright and director George S. Kaufman lived out his final scene; another three hundred sixty-five days after that conjunction in time, in 1962, member of the Bloomsbury circle, Vita Sackville-West, breathed her last; fourteen hundred sixty-one days afterward, in 1966, an important milestone in the U.S. drive to
put a man on the moon passed when a Surveyor spacecraft made a controlled landing on the lunar surface; one year in time closer to the present, in 1967, modern mass murderer Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi visited Berlin, and thousands protested violently, with one protester a victim of police in this action to bear witness against fascist puppets; not quite a decade past that instant, in 1976, the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America merged with the Textile Workers Union of America to form the potent expression of working class prowess, the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union; three years still more proximate to the present pass, in 1979, Catholicism’s prelate, a second Pope John Paul, returned to his native Poland in the first pontifical visit to a Communist Country ever; eight years more along the temporal roadway, in 1987, legendary classical guitarist Andres Segovia died; a decade onward toward the here and now, in 1997,jurors in Denver convicted Timothy McVeigh of murder and conspiracy in the mass-killing of bystanders at the Oklahoma City Federal Courthouse bombing; two years hence, in 1999, Wailers singer-songwriter Junior Braithwaite cried no more, forever; another four year trek along time’s path, in 2003, the European Space Agency launched its first extraterrestrial rover, the Mars Express, from its space facility in Kazakhstan; half a decade beyond that, in 2008, the popular singer and scribe of the popular song, Bo Didley, took a final breath; four years later, in 2012, Egyptian courts sentenced former President and darling of the military-imperial establishment Hosni Mubarak to life in prison for his role in the suppression of Egyptian popular protests.