8.12.2016 Day in History

"African Bush Elephant" by Muhammad Mahdi Karim Facebook -
“African Bush Elephant” by Muhammad Mahdi Karim Facebook –

Today is both International Elephant Day and, through the United Nations, World Youth Day; in Egypt, six years shy of two thousand fifty years ago, the Ptolemaic queen, Cleopatra, took her own life, purportedly through the asperity of an asp bite; nine hundred seventeen years prior to today, the last battle of the First Crusade took place, a ‘Christian victory;’ five hundred thirty-six years ahead of today, after the Ottoman victory at the Battle of Otranto, the victors beheaded plus-or-minus 800 Christians for their refusal to convert to Islam; two centuries and fifty-one before this exact moment in time, the British East Indian Company imposed a treaty on Mughal rulers that effectively installed imperial rights over India in favor of British commercial interests; two hundred ten years prior to the present pass, Argentinian forces recaptured Buenos Aires from the British after the first English invasion in the Southern Cone; twenty-one years beyond that conjunction, in 1827, the astonishing poet, William Blake, breathed no more; two decades and two year subsequent to that moment, in 1849, Albert Gallatin, the Swiss-American ethnologist, linguist, and politician who became the 4th United States Secretary of the Treasury, breathed his last; two years subsequently, in 1851, Isaac Singer received a patent for his sewing machine; one hundred fifty years in advance of today’s dawn, the child who became Nobel Prize winning Spanish playwright Jacinto Benavente came into the world; fourteen years ahead of this event, in 1880, across the Channel, the baby boy who was destined to become Radclyffe Hall, the celebrated English poet, author, and activist, drew his first breath; one year subsequent to those events, in 1881, thirty-six carpenters founded the National Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners; one decade subsequently, in 1891, poet James Russell Lowell died; seven years further along, in 1898, an armistice brought the Spanish American war to an end, and back in the American Midwest, coal company thugs attacked 40 striking miners who are trying to stop scabs; one hundred five years ahead of the here and now, South of the border, the baby boy first opened his eyes who would later become the well-loved Mexican actor, screenwriter, and producer Cantinflas; a mere year later, in 1912, North of said border, the baby took his first breath on his way to becoming Samuel Fuller, the American actor, director, and screenwriter; one hundred two years back, first the United Kingdom and then other members of the Commonwealth of nations declared war on Austria-Hungary; five years further down the pike, in 1919, the chorus girls in the Ziegfeld Follies created the Chorus Equity Association, the foundation of which was helped by a big donation from superstar and former chorus girl Lillian Russell; nine decades and a year prior to today, the twin baby boys bounced into the world on the way to becoming the Scottish publishers and activists who founded Guinness World Records; seven hundred thirty days beyond that point in time, the infant who would become American singer-songwriter and guitar music art performanceguitarist Porter Wagoner joined the human family; two years after that, in 1929, another American musical singer and songwriter, Buck Owens, was born; two years henceforth, in 1931, the infant male who grew up to become novelist and screenwriter William Goldman was born; another thirteen years nearer to now, in 1944, the Wola massacre came to an end with the slaughter of 40,000 people in a week by Nazi forces in Poland; sixty-seven years ago, in the British Isles, a baby boy entered our midst who was destined to become Scottish-English singer-songwriter for the Dire Straits, among other acts; three years thereafter, in 1952, thirteen prominent Jewish poets and intellectuals were murdered in Moscow; three hundred sixty-five days later, in 1953, the Soviet Union exploded the first ‘super,’ or hydrogen bomb, a thermonuclear weapon that began the ticking of a ‘doomsday clock’ that we can only forestall with the elimination of these killing machines; two years hence, in 1955, German Nobel Prize Winner Thomas Mann died, and, across the pond and all the way out in California, Teamsters official William Grami, who was leading a drive to organize apple plant workers, was kidnapped, bound, and beaten; five

Hubble Space Telescope
Hubble Space Telescope

years beyond that moment, in 1960, NASA launched the first successful communications satellite; four years after that juncture, in 1964, English spy and spy-novelist Ian Fleming died; forty years back, plus-or-minus 2,200 Palestinians died in one of the bloodiest massacres of the Lebanese Civil War; two years still closer to current time, in 1978, Japan and China signed a treaty of friendship and peace; another two years later still, in 1980, Latin American signatories in Montevideo created the Latin American Integration Association, a combination of ‘free trade zone’ and common market in the region; one year onward from that, in 1981, IBM released its first DOS-based personal computer; another year after, in 1982, Mexico’s inability to meet its debt obligations triggered a hemispheric, and then a worldwide, credit crisis; a decade further along time’s road, in 1992, the U.S., Canada, and Mexico finished negotiations for NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement; and, twenty-four months from that juncture, in 1994, major league baseball players organized what was to become a 232-day strike over owners’ demands for team salary caps, an action that led to almost 1,000 games to be cancelled; seven years ago, the guitar innovator, singer, and song-writer who composed and performed as Les Paul played his final set; four years more proximate to now, in 2013, historian Pauline Maier died.