On this date every year, Cuba celebrates a Day of the National Rebellion to commemorate the launching of the 26th of July Movement under the aegis of Fidel Castro; on the Arabian Peninsula, meanwhile, a thousand three hundred and sixty years ago, the factional and fractious fighting of the early post-Prophet period of Islam continued with the Battle of the Siffin, where the forces of so-called “Rightly-Guided,” or Rashidun Caliphs clashed with the supporters of the ‘Sons of Umayya,’ or nascent Umayyad Caliphs; a thousand ninety-seven years ahead of today, in the Islamic incursions into Europe via the Iberian Peninsula, an utter rout of Christian forces occurred at Pamplona, laying the basis for nearly complete Muslim dominion over what is now Spain; eight hundred thirty-eight years onward from there, in 1758, across the wide Atlantic, English fighters succeeded in ousting the French from Louisburg and taking control of the Gulf of St Lawrence in the midst of the French and Indian Wars, the North American version of an early world conflict of capitalism; twenty-seven years later, in 1775, the Continental Congress established the mail delivery service that would become the US Post Office, pacing Benjamin Franklin in charge of the entire operation; twenty-one years on the dot past that momentous passage, in 1796, a baby boy was born who would grow to become the artist and explorer George Catlin; just over a quarter century thereafter, in 1822, further South in the Western Hemisphere, Jose de San Martin arrived in Guayaquil to parlay with another Latin American Revolutionary, Simon Bolivar, and across the wide Atlantic and through most of the Mediterranean, in Greece, Ottoman Imperial defenders clashed with Greek rebels at Dervenakia; exactly a quarter century subsequent to that conjunction, in 1847, with the help of nascent US imperial adventurers, Liberia declared its ‘independence;’ nine years to the
day henceforth, in 1856, a little baby boy opened his eyes who would rise as George Bernard Shaw, a redoubt of truth and empowering women and working people, not to mention winning the Nobel Literary Laureates; just shy of two decades farther along the path to now, in 1875, another male infant entered our midst who would mature as the maestro of myth and psyche and introspection, Carl Jung; seven hundred thirty-one days more in the direction of today, in 1877, across the wide Atlantic from Europe and Africa, U.S. soldiers gunned down thirty workers in the Battle of the Viaduct in Chicago, where five thousand or more strikers and protesters had been assembling and seeking redress in what later court decisions agreed was an entirely legal and acceptable manner, not that this observation did much to assist the dead proletarians or to minimize the cruel class war that characterized America then, much as it still does now; eight additional years along time’s path, in 1885, back in Europe, a male infant first looked round him to see his family’s great fortune en route to a life as a thinker and writer and storyteller who took the name Andre Maurois in times of the tumult and depredation about which he wrote prolifically as a French bourgeois operative of empire and intrigue; another two years further along, in 1887, ‘Dr. Esperanto’s first book,’ Unua Libro introduced the concept of a Babel-deconstructing tongue to the world, a favorite of certain occultists, new-age thinkers, and others at the cultural fringe; an additional thousand ninety-six days past that point, in 1890, roughly six thousand miles or so to the Southwest in Argentina, a disjointed ‘Revolution of the Park’ unfolded that managed to unseat the Republic’s president, even as its inchoate program and disorganized uprising didn’t accomplish a lot else except to show the underpinnings of influence and corruption that were operating then, much as now, in the Southern Cone; fourteen hundred sixty-one days yet later on, in 1894, President Grover Cleveland ordered the creation of a Strike Commission to investigate the recent Pullman and railroad strikes that vaulted Eugene Debs to national prominence as a spokesperson for labor rights that amounted to more than a slightly less noxious form of slavery that what the Emancipation Proclamation had supposedly ended, and an infant boy cried out who would mature as the omniscient writer and social critic, Aldous Huxley; three years yet nearer to the here and now, in 1897, halfway round the world at the border where England’s and Russia’s empires met, something like 10,000 Pashtun fighters in a third Anglo-Pakistan War laid siege to a British outpost in what is now the ‘tribal’ area of Pakistan; not quite a full decade onward from that, in 1908, back round the globe in North America, the U.S. Attorney General Joseph Bonaparte, inaugurated the Office of the Chief Examiner, which soon enough, after another transitional name change, would become the Federal Bureau of Investigation; four years afterward, in 1912, in West Virginia, clashing colliers and company gun thugs exchanged 100,000 shots, which resulted in the death of a dozen miners and four of the so-called guards; seven hundred thirty days in the future from that, in 1914, back across the wide Atlantic in the Balkans, Serbia and Bulgaria recalled their ambassadors in anticipation of the greatest martial blood-letting in human history to that point; eleven years hence, in 1925, the important analytical philosopher and mathematical logician Gottlob Frege underwent his final theorem, and the baby boy bounced into the world who would rise up as the filmmaker and screenwriter of terror and fetish and psychological
ennui, Stanley Kubrick; nine years past that precise moment in space and time, in 1936, back in Europe, the fascists announced intentions to intervene in the Spanish Civil War on the side of Francisco Franco’s reactionary forces, with no similar support, except from Russia, for the Republicans; half a decade onward, in 1941, Japan’s occupation of French Indochina led President Roosevelt to declare a freezing of all Japanese assets in the United States; a mere year subsequently, in 1942, the literary genius and popular storyteller William Faulkner accepted a job with Universal Studios to write screenplays; six thousand miles to the East, and another three hundred sixty-five days onward in time, in 1943, a male child was born in wartime England who would become in some senses the King of Rock lyrics an showmanship, Mick Jagger; another year en route to today, in 1944, across the English Channel and much of Europe, Soviet troops liberated Lviv in Western Ukraine from German occupation to discover that fewer than 1,000 of the more than 100,000 Jews who had lived there five years before remained alive; another year toward today, in 1945, England’s Labour Party displaced Winston Churchill in an electoral victory that suggested the social changes that war had wrought, while across the English Channel, Churchill himself, Harry Truman, and Joseph Stalin signed the Potsdam Declaration which fatefully – if disingenuously—called for ‘unconditional surrender’ of the Japanese, at the same time that shipboard components arrived in the South Pacific of the nuclear weapon which would soon incinerate Hiroshima, Truman’s ‘ace in the hole’ against the Soviets in Europe; two years even closer to the current context, in 1947, Harry Truman signed off on a police state and militarized economy by putting his signature on the National Security Act, which projected the creation of the President’s National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the subtly bogus Department of Defense among other components of the Federal bureaucracy of control and catastrophe; another year further down the pike, in 1948, in a subtly divergent development of imperial America, Harry Truman signed Executive Order 9981, which advanced the absolutely essential element of social justice, equal opportunity, that rulers and founding fathers and such had for hundreds of years been blatantly and purposefully withheld from people of color, among others; three years more on the march to this moment, in 1951, Walt Disney’s wizards of animation debuted Alice in Wonderland in London; a pair of years further onward in time, in 1953, Fidel Castro and his comrades conducted an assault on the barracks at Moncada, a disastrous raid that nevertheless marked the initiation of the Cuban Revolution; three additional years more proximate to the present pass, in 1956, Egypt’s leaders, having pondered the World Bank’s denial of further funding to the Aswan High Dam, elected to nationalize the Suez Canal Zone and begin a crisis of earthshaking scope; another three hundred sixty-five days in time’s flow, in 1957, thousands of miles to the West in Guatemala, a likely-paid assassin who conveniently enough soon ‘committed suicide,’ murdered Carlos Castillo Armas, the beneficiary of the C.I.A. coup against Jacobo Arbenz, within a day or so of which United Fruit regained all of the lands that it had lost as a result of earlier nationalization; a half dozen years hence, in 1963, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration launched Syncom 2, Earth’s first geosynchronous satellite, and in a completely different sort of advance for the forces of order and empire, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development voted to permit Japan into its ranks; half a decade past those big days for modern capital, in 1968, a more dour, and in the event dire, situation unfolded in Vietnam as the leader of the ‘democratic republic’s’ opposition faced a five year sentence at hard labor for suggesting a coalition government with the Viet Minh; a half dozen years in still closer proximity to today’s light and air, in 1974, Byzantine developments in Greek politics saw a civilian Prime Minister assume administrative oversight for the first time in seven years; a thousand ninety-six days forward from that occurrence, in 1977, Quebec’s National Assembly declared French to the province’s official language; another three years later still, in 1980, the farsighted analyst of public opinion, George Gallup, lived through his final poll; nine years subsequent to that passing, in 1989, a defining moment of the computer age took place when Federal authorities orchestrated an indictment of a Cornell graduate student, Robert Morris, for his part in ‘infecting’ the early Internet with the Morris Worm; three hundred and sixty-five days thereafter, in 1990, the still young performer and songwriter of the Grateful Dead, Brent Mydland, overdosed and died; two years nearer still to today, in 1992, Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act, which mandated “reasonable accommodation” on the job for folks with crippling injuries or congenital disabilities, and a progenitor of Motown’s signature sounds, Mary Wells, sang her swan song; seven years back, in 2008, a series of twenty-one terrorist bombings happened in Ahmedabad, India, killing fifty-six and injuring hundreds, one of a series of three days of attacks in different cities; another cycle round the sun toward the present point, in 2009, a vastly more hideous and deadly uprising transpired in Nigeria, as the state police summarily executed a Boko Haram leader for sedition and conspiracy and his cohorts the day after that led attacks on police stations and a state of near civil war ensued, in which at least a thousand citizens lost their lives.