7.14.2017 Day in History

delacroix art revolution bastille france frenchToday in France, and in all places that treasure true liberty, is Bastille Day, whatever the tragic dialectic of empire and terror that might erupt at any given moment; in the relatively populous and prosperous East Asian centers of world civilization at the time, twelve centuries  six decades and a year ago, the An Lushan rebellion in China, which nearly toppled the Tang Empire altogether and resulted in an enormous loss of life—estimates range as high as one sixth of the entire planet’s human population of plus or minus 250 million at that time—impelled the emperor to take flight from the capitol; six centuries, six decades, and four years further along time’s current, in 1420, at the Battle of Litkov Hill near Prague, Protestant rebels used firearms to devastating effect against Crusading knights whom the Pope had ordered to attack and annihilate the insurgents, who by their actions, gained a measure of local control in what is now the Czech Republic; meanwhile, an important incident in the development of what we now know as California took place two hundred and forty-eight years back, as Gaspar de Portolá established the outpost that would become the city of Monterey; as advertised, twenty-one years henceforth, in 1790,  the citizens of Paris gathered for wild celebrations of the first anniversary of the liberating of prisoners from the Bastille; three hundred sixty-five days thereafter, in 1791, thinker and scientist Joseph Priestley experienced the anger of the British bourgeoisie and aristocracy when riots in Birmingham forced

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him to flee the city because he had spoken favorably of the French Revolution that his compatriots across the English Channel were celebrating on the second Bastille Day; seven years later, in 1798, across the Atlantic in the ‘bastion of freedom’, the United States enacted the sedition law that made even criticizing the government a crime; thirteen years on the course toward now, in 1811, Lord Byron returned from a two year trek through the Levant and Southern Europe, which he had started after he had published his excoriating satire of ‘English literary icons’ in 1809; six years beyond that juncture, in 1817, Germaine de Stael, the fiery heiress and fighter for the French Revolution, albeit not in the Napoleonic way, lived out her final day; thirty-six years closer to the current moment, in 1853, a little North of Washington, in the center of U.S. business and financial interests then as now, New York City, the first day of the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations, the initial world’s fair in North America, took place in Manhattan; nine years down the road, in 1862,  an Austrian baby boy came along in the usual way who would become the radical and evocative artist Gustav Klimt; a

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dozen years along time’s arc, in 1874, the Great Chicago Fire broke out and caused a significant increase in the say-so of insurance industries vis a vis government and governance; a thousand ninety-six days later, in 1877, the railroad strike that participants called “The Great Uprising”  began in West Virginia when owners reduced wages for the second time in a year; four years beyond that to the day, in 1881, Pat Garrett killed William Bonny, AKA Billy the Kid, in order to collect the blood money on his head; not quite twenty years later, in 1900, the imperial alliance that intended to carve up China captured Tientsin to bring the Boxer Rebellion to its disastrous ending for the people of the nation;

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three years after the turn of the century, in 1903, a baby male took his first breath who would go on to popular literary fame as Irving Stone; nine years more proximate to the present, in 1912, a male infant uttered his first cry who would grow up as the crooner and balladeer of working class humanity Woody Guthrie; four years onward from that point, in 1916,  Italian novelist and short story writer Natalia Ginzburg, who secretly edited an anti-Fascist newspaper during World War II, was born; two years afterward, in 1918, a baby boy was born who would mature as the iconic Swedish filmmaker and screenwriter Ingmar Bergman, and the young scion to the Roosevelt family was shot down by Germans;  three additional year’s in today’s direction, in 1921, Nicolo Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti faced capital criminal convictions for robbery and murder that they did not commit; seven tenths of a decade henceforth, in 1928 Vietnam, the New Vietnam Revolutionary Party came into existence as a ‘laboratory’ for future rebel leaders of the Southeast Asian region’s resistance to empire; five years closer to today, in 1933, around the world in Germany, a development opposite to that in Vietnam took place, as the Nazis proclaimed themselves the only legitimate political force, and mandated sterilization for ‘defective’ genetic specimens; five years further on, in 1938, a baby boy was born who would cause many a ‘yippie’ moment later on in his life as Jerry Rubin; three trips around the sun further along, in 1941, a Maryland infant male opened his eyes en route to a life of choosing the name Maulana Karenga and founding the Black Power organization US and generally leading a life of witness and learning about African American life and history generally; a pair of years after that conjunction, in 1943,  in Missouri, officials dedicated a monument to George Washington Carver, the first such sculptural representation of African American accomplishment; another seven hundred thirty-one days subsequently, in 1945, the boy child entered our midst who would become the rocking percussionist and songwriter Jim Gordon, guitar music art performancewhose life fell to pieces when, in his mid-thirties, he murdered his mother; three years precisely even closer to the current context, in 1948, would-be assassins shot the Italian politician and leader of the Communist Party near the country’s Parliament; six years in the aftermath of that brutality, in 1954 in nearby Spain, the trust-funded playwright who had won the Nobel prize thirty-two years prior, and had supported Franco in the fight against the Republic, lived out his last scene; a mere year more on the path to today, in 1955, another elite baby shouted out on his way to a life as the reactionary critic and media ideologue, L. Brent Bozell III; just two years yet later on, in 1957, Rawya Ateya became the first woman legislator in an Islamic nation when she took her seat in Egypt’s National Assembly; an additional three hundred sixty-five days onward, in 1958, hundreds of miles to the East in Iraq, populist locals dealt a temporary setback to British empire by overthrowing the Iraqi royal family; another two years yet nearer to the here and now, in 1960, Jane Goodall arrived at her post in a Tanzanian game preserve, where she would conduct her monumental studies on chimpanzee behavior;  three years from that point onward, in 1963, the schism between the two leading Communist powers, China and the USSR, grew more severe; two years subsequent to that passage, in 1965, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Mariner space craft passed close enough to Mars to deliver the first high quality close ups of Earth’s planetary neighbor; forty years ahead of the here and now,  Canada became part of the civilized world when it abolished the death penalty; sixteen years beyond that moment in time, in 1992, another ‘civilized’ development took place with the release of the 386BSD Open Source protocols that soon enough elicited Linus Torvald’s Linux operating system; three years hence, in 1995, music history came about with the creation of the now ubiquitous MP3 file format;  two years short of a decade hence, in 2003, the Washington Post violated even a minimally imperial code of ethics by outing Iraq War critic Joseph C. Wilson’s CIA wife; a dozen years later still, in 2015, just last year, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration celebrated the success of its New Horizons spacecraft in a flyby of distant Pluto.