9.20.2016 Day in History

CC BY-NC-ND by Gwinnett County Public Library
CC BY-NC-ND by Gwinnett County Public Library

Today, because of the leap year and the cosmic turnings, is not the Equinox, as Germany celebrates Universal Children’s Day; in the arid reaches of the Arabian Peninsula, thirteen hundred and ninety-four years ago, Muhammad and his loyal collaborator and father in law Abu Bakr reached Medina in their flight from Mecca in the early days of Islam;five hundred sixty-five years further along time’s path, in 1187, the military genius Saladin led his forces in a siege of Jerusalem that was a direct result, in part, of Muhamad and Abu Bakr’s earlier work; seven hundred fifty-six years ahead of today, Prussian gentry and other fighters initiated their ultimately successful uprising against the Teutonic Knights; a single year shy of twenty-six decades later, in 1519, Ferdinand Magellan and his more than 250 collaborators set sail in six ships for what would become the first successful circumnavigation of our fair orb; two hundred seventy-nine years back, ‘friendly’ Pennsylvanians fraudulently extracted 1.2 million acres from indigenous Delaware occupants in the so-called ‘Walking Purchase’ deal; precisely ninety-eight additional years in the direction of today, in 1835, Brazilian rebels, who did not insists on uniforms or other pretenses of empire, captured Porto Alegre and initiated the decade-long Ragamuffin War; thirteen years subsequent to that passage, in 1848, intrepid practitioners, academics, and industrialists formed the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which still exists today; half a dozen years onward from that, in 1854, roughly 5,000 miles to the East, French and British imperial plunderers contested with Russian forces and succeeded in defeating them in Crimea at the Battle of Alma; three hundred sixty-five days past that opportunistic conjunction, in 1857, additional English imperial victories transpired as the Sepoy Uprising of 1857 came to pieces with the successful occupation india, temple, hinduof Delhi by co-opted Indian troops loyal to British corporate interests; six years toward today’s light and air, in 1863, back around the world in Europe, the iconic and beloved mythologist and collector of folk tales Jacob Grimm lived out his final story; seven years hence, in 1870, a battalion of the elite Italian Bersaglieri infantry broke through a breach in the Roman wall and succeeded in pacifying resistance in favor of the Pope’s temporal power, thereby finalizing the unification of modern Italy; eight years farther down the pike, in 1878, the baby boy was born who would mature as the masterful narrator and commentator on the American condition, Upton Sinclair; not quite a decade beyond that precise point in space and time, in 1887, folklorists have declared that John Henry, somewhere in the Appalachians or their foothills, out-hammered a steam drill before he expired from the effort; an additional half dozen years thereafter, in 1893, the Duryea brothers drove the first automobile powered by gasoline on American roads; seven hundred thirty days even closer to the current context, in 1895, a male infant entered the world in standard fashion in Germany who grew up as the mathematician and philosopher of the Vienna Circle, Walter Dubislav; four years on toward our own future, in 1899, a boy child cried out whom fate had selected to emphasize, as Leo Strauss, a political philosophy of conservative consequence that would underlie much of imperial and neofascist thinking in the current day; a decade yet later on, in 1909, England’s Parliament acceded to the imperially convenient formation of a Union of South Africa, which would serve geopolitical and White Supremacist purposes for the better part of the twentieth century; twenty-three years past that troubling eventuality, in 1932, the Paiute spiritual leader and founder of the modern Ghost Dance, Wovoka, lived out his final scene; a mere year nearer to the here and now, in 1933, theosophist, socialist, and free-thinking feminist Annie Besant breathed her last; thirteen more years on time’s relentless march, in 1946, the seven year

"Film strip" by Bart from New Orleans, Louisiana ,cc 2.0
“Film strip” by Bart from New Orleans, Louisiana ,cc 2.0

delay for holding the first Cannes Film Festival gave way to the founding instance of that now iconic annual gathering; two years subsequently, in 1948, a baby boy bounced into our midst who en route to a life as the storyteller and prolific narrator of wild yarns, George R. R. Martin; fourteen more years in the future from that conjunction, in 1962, young Black scholar James Meredith faced a temporary delay of his entry into the University of Mississippi because of his color; eight years further forward on the temporal arc, in 1970, Syrian tanks crashed cross the border into Jordan to halt skirmishing there between Jordanian troops and the Fedayeen; another year onward, in 1971, the son of the upper crust whose poetry had won him a Nobel Prize and whose diplomatic skill had sent him to posts in Ankara and London, Giorgos Seferis, took a final breath two years after he had spoken unequivocally against the fascist junta in his native Greece; three hundred sixty-six days toward today, in 1972, the French popular, prolific, and progressive historian and storyteller Pierre-Henri Simon gazed on this mortal coil one final time; still one more year still more proximate to the present pass, in 1973, Billie Jean King crushed Bobby Riggs on the tennis court, after he had challenged her to a match despite his age and lack of superstar stature since, guitar music art performanceobviously, she was ‘only a girl,’ and popular performer and lyricist Jim Croce sang his swan song; two years after that, in 1975, France’s peripatetic poet and Nobel Laureate and diplomat, Saint-John Perse, breathed his last; seven hundred thirty-one days afterward, in 1977, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam joined the United Nations; half a decade henceforth, in 1982, players of the National Football League stood up for themselves off the gridiron by going on strike for better conditions and remuneration for their brutal efforts; two years past that cultural benchmark, in 1984, the folksinger and cultural savant Steve Goodman died of leukemia at age thirty-six; a year exactly further along, in 1985,the librarian and creator of mysterious yarns, Helen MacInnes, lived through her final day on Earth; sixteen years still later, in 2001, George Bush opportunistically declared a ‘war on terror’ that would cause the greatest uptick in ‘terrorism’ in history; a thousand four hundred sixty-one days in even greater proximity to our present point, in 2005, doughty Holocaust survivor, activist, and thinker Simon Wiesenthal bid his final farewell; two years hence, in 2007, as many as twenty thousand or more protesters marched against the harsh persecution of a dozen Black kids whom the authorities in Jena, Louisiana had accused of assaulting a lone White boy; a year past that point precisely, in 2008, a horrific truck bomb in Islamabad killed scores and injured hundreds; another three years en route to now, in 2011, the U.S. Military ended its ‘don’t-ask, don’t-tell’ policy and allowed gays to serve openly in the armed forces, while esteemed historian and public intellectual Oscar Handlin spent his final day among us.