9.28.2016 Day in History

pens-keith-williamson-flickrToday round the planet is Right to Know Day, arguably of note to most writers, as well as a triple celebration of health in World Heart Day, World Rabies Day, & Freedom From Hunger Day, while on this date the U.S. commemorates Ask a Stupid Question Day & Good Neighbor Day; back in ancient China, two thousand five hundred sixty-seven years prior to today, the important teacher, editor, politician and philosopher who helped define the entire Chinese identity, wrote his final words; two thousand sixty-four years ago, as he tried to land at Alexandria, Pompey the Great encountered his assassins instead of a welcoming party as he fled from Caesar’s pursuit and the initiation of imperial Rome; two hundred eighty-eight years subsequently, in 235, a temporary Christian Rome’s Pope Pontian found himself exiled to the Sardinian mines where he met Hippolytus and martyrdom; nine hundred fifty years prior to the present pass, William, the Conqueror led his forces in the initiation of the conquest of England; a hundred seventy-two years hence, in 1238, further South in Europe, another conqueror, James, led armies that forced the surrender of Muslim fighters of Valencia, in an important part of the Reconquista; three centuries thereafter on the dot, in 1538, a different Islamic force in the form of the Ottoman Empire inflicted a major defeat on the Holy League fleet of Venice at the Battle of Preveza; four years later, and eight thousand miles west, in 1542, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo first claimed part of what is now California for Spain when he arrived in what is now San Diego; two hundred thirty-five years before the present pass, colonial forces closed the trap at Yorktown which would lead to the final British defeat in the American Revolution; six years henceforth, in 1787, the U.S. Congress approved the draft Constitution to send to the states for ratification; three years beyond that, in 1791, across the Atlantic, revolutionary France became the first nation on the planet formally to emancipate its Jewish population; thirty-three years further in the future, in 1824, the baby boy drew a breath who would mature as the poet and anthologist Francis Turner Palgrave; four decades afterward precisely, in 1864, Karl Marx and others formed the marx socialism communismInternational Workingmen’s Association as a resource and networking node for wage earners; four years after the fact, in 1868, the Battle of Alcolea causes Queen Isabella II of Spain to flee to France; three years subsequent to that event, in 1871, Southwest across the Atlantic in Brazil the legislature passed the initial statutes that led to the manumitting the slaves when it declared all children born of slaves free; eighteen years later, in 1889, the first General Conference on Weights and Measures defined the length of a meter, thus helping to codify measurements for all time; two years beyond that point, in 1891, the iconic American author, Herman Melville, breathed his last; another decade still later on, in 1901, Philippine guerrillas sprung a surprise attack on Americans on Samar island, and killed 40 soldiers; eight years still down the pike, in 1909, the baby boy destined to become Al Capp, the American author and illustrator, was born; three years still further along time’s arc, in 1912, the Ulster Covenant was signed by some 500,000 Ulster Protestant Uniomists in opposition to the Third Irish Home Rule Bill; five years nearer to now, in 1917, back in North America, Federal agents belied freedom of speech and assembly by arresting over 150 International Workers of the World organizers who were opposing U.S. involvement in World War One; two years onward from that juncture, in 1919, in the middle of the continent, Whites in Nebraska instigated ‘race riots’ against people of color there; nine years afterward, in 1928, East across the Atlantic, England continued what would become a century-long Anglo American ‘drug war’ by prohibiting cannabis, and elsewhere in the British Isles, Alexander Fleming first noticed the propensity of a citrus mold to kill bacteria; two years later, in 1930, the male infant was born who would become the accomplished political sociologist, Immanuel Wallerstein; another seven hundred thirty-one days further forward, in 1932, a male child entered our midst in Chile who would become the working-class troubadour and martyr, Victor Jara; twelve months further along, in 1933, the baby boy first cried out on his way to becoming renowned American singer-songwriter Johnny ‘Country’ Mathis; two years more thereafter, in 1935, William Kennedy Dixon, the actual inventor of the Kinetoscope—though Edison owned the patent—lived out his final scene; three years even more proximate to the current context, in 1938, a male baby entered our midst whose fate was to make music and songs as a ‘Drifter’ by the name of Ben King; one year afterward, in 1939, the Nazi blitzkrieg of Poland came to a conclusion with Warsaw’s surrender to the Germans; five years later on, in 1944, the Soviet Army troops liberated Klooga concentration camp in Estonia; six years even closer to this day, in 1950, a baby boy shouted out who would create iconic films of life and labor as John Sayles; a year exactly hence, in 1951, the Columbia Broadcasting System made color televisions available for sale for a brief period before they withdrew all the sets from the market; in 1952, the male infant entered the world in standard fashion who as a child of privilege would grow up to be a well regarded storyteller and script creator by the name of Christopher Buckley; three hundred sixty-five days closer to today’s light and air, in 1953, the brilliant astronomer and scholar Edwin Hubble observed his last quasar; five years past that moment in time, in 1958, France adopted a new imperial constitution that matched the realities of the country’s ‘reduced circumstances’ although it asserted its hegemony in such a way that former colonies such as Guinea rejected the new instruments’ sway; three years later, in 1961, in a related geopolitical and imperial

By NASA Kennedy Space Center (NASA-KSC)
By NASA Kennedy Space Center (NASA-KSC)

development, the short-lived United Arab Republic that conjoined Egypt and Syria came to an end with a coup in Damascus; seven hundred and thirty days further along the temporal path, in 1963, modern artist Roy Lichtenstein’s definite cultural statement, “Whaam!”, went on display at the Leo Castelli Gallery where it remained until October 24th; three years beyond that instant, in 1966, France’s poet and writer and critic Andrê Breton took his final gulp of air; four years subsequent to that day, in 1970, Egypt’s president and diplomatic star Gamal Abdel Nasser died of a heart attack, and Anwar Sadat replaced him, the first of many Anglo American stooges to run Egypt between then and now, and across the Atlantic, the writer and thinker and ‘complicated man,’ John Dos Passos, died; a year after that, in 1971, England further amplified its accession to the vicious and stupid ‘war on drugs’ by outlawing even the medicinal use of cannabis; two years beyond that conjunction, in 1973, across the Atlantic in Manhattan, bombs exploded at the ITT corporate headquarters in retaliation for the company’s role in the murderous, CIA-backed coup in Chile; eighteen years subsequently, in 1991, the legendary jazz musician and composer, Miles Davis, played his final improvisation in life; another two years further along the pike, in 1993, writer and editor Peter De Vries died; two years nearer to now, in 1995, a group of African and French soldiers of fortune invaded and took over the Comoros Islands for a few weeks before French Special Forces drove them out, and in the Middle East, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat signed the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip; a year later, in 1996, former president of Afghanistan was tortured and brutally murdered by the Taliban; four years later, in 2000, in a similar attempt at political engagement, Ariel Sharon visited Al Asqa Mosque; three years closer still to the current context, in 2003, the director and screenwriter and cultural icon Elia Kazan played out his last scene; half a decade hence, in 2008, SpaceX launched its first Falcon flight for civilian treks outside Earth’s atmosphere.