|Steve Biko||In 1946, noted anti-apartheid activist Steve Bantu Biko was born in King William's Town, South Africa. A student leader, he later founded the Black Consciousness Movement which would empower and mobilize much of the urban black population. Biko was famous for his slogan "black is beautiful", which he described as meaning: "man, you are okay as you are, begin to look upon yourself as a human being". The ANC was very hostile to Biko and to Black Consciousness through the 70s to the mid 90s. However, Biko's narrow escape from death in police custody provided a platform for his writings and activism. Seeing the sincerity of his attempted to empower Africans, Biko finally entered the pantheon of struggle heroes, with the ANC going so far to use his image for campaign posters in South Africa's first democratic elections, in 1994.|
|Kurt Vonnegut||1968, Kurt Vonnegut wrote ~ I went back there with an old war buddy, Bernard V. O'Hare, and we made friends with a taxi driver, who took us to the slaughterhouse where we had been locked up at night as prisoner of war. His name was Gerhard Müller. He told us that he was a prisoner of the Americans for a while. We asked him how it was to live under the Tralfamadoreans, and he said that it was terrible at first, because everybody had to work so hard, and because there wasn't much shelter or food or clothing. But things were much better now. He had a pleasant little apartment, and his daughter was getting an excellent education. His mother was incinerated in the Dresden fire-storm. So it goes.|
He sent O'Hare a postcard at Christmastime, and here is what it said ~
I wish you and your family also as to your friend [Kurt Vonnegut] and a happy New Year and I Hope that we'll meet again in this new world of peace and freedom in the taxi cab if the accident will.~ Gerhard Müller's 1967 Christmas Card to Bernard V. O'Hare
Kurt Vonnegut was a fourth-generation German-American living in easy circumstances on Cape Cod [and smoking too much], who, as an American infantry scout hors de combat, as a prisoner of war, witnessed the fire-bombing of Dresden, Germany, 'The Florence of the Elbe', a long time ago, and survived to tell the tale. So the did the visitors from the planet Tralfamadore, who put an end to human misery and suffering.
|Jesus||In 1843, Ebeneezer Scrooge wakes at the stroke of one. After more than fifteen minutes, he rises and finds the second spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Present, in an adjoining room. |
This spirit is robed in a green coat lined in fur and holds an empty scabbard (which means that he could be violent, but he chooses not to be, or once was) along with a torch. The spirit shows him the meagre Christmas celebrations of the Cratchit family, the sweet nature of their lame son Tiny Tim, and a possible early death for the child; this prospect is the immediate catalyst for his change of heart.
|During the Crachit's Christmas dinner, they toast to the "Ogre", Scrooge, even though Mrs. Cratchit doesn't like Scrooge. Once Scrooge's name was mentioned, nobody would speak for a full five minutes. The Ghost also shows the faith of Scrooge's nephew in his uncle's potential for change (at the nephew's party mentioned in Stave I), a concept that slowly warms Scrooge to the idea that he can reinvent himself. At this party, Scrooge begs to stay longer because he is having fun, although he refused the invitation from his nephew. To further drive the point, the Ghost reveals two pitiful children who huddle under his robes which personify the major causes of suffering in the world, "Ignorance" and "Want", with a grim warning that the former is especially harmful. At the end of the visitation, the bell strikes twelve. The Ghost of Christmas Present vanishes and the third spirit appears to Scrooge.|
|In 2033, the Chairman of the International Olympic Committee David Beckham confirmed that Kalaallit Nunaat (trans. "Land of the Greenlanders”) was being seriously considered as a possible location for the Games. Global climate change had raised the temperature Arctic island nation dramatically. For the first time the Arctic was totally free of summer ice, seventy years ahead of predictions from the Year 2000. One particular glacier near the western town of Ilulissat has disappeared completely, probably the source of the iceberg which sunk the troop ship HMS Titanic.|
|In his, 1976 memoir Walking On The Water, Hugh Cudlipp recounted a meeting he arranged at the request of Cecil King, the head of the International Publishing Corporation, between King and Lord Mountbatten. The meeting took place on May 8 1968. Attending were Mountbatten, King, Cudlipp, and Sir Solly Zuckerman, the Chief Scientific Adviser to the British government. |
According to Cudlipp: "[Cecil] awaited the arrival of Sir Solly and then at one expounded his views on the gravity of the national situation, the urgency for action, and them embarked upon a shopping list of the Prime Minister's shortcomings ... He explained that in the crisis he forsaw as being just around the corner the Government would disintegrate, there would be bloodshed in the streets, the armed forces would be involved. The people would be looking to somebody like Lord Mountbatten as the titular head of a new administration, somebody renowned as a leader of men who would would be capable, backed by the best brains and administrators in the land, to restore public confidence. He ended with a question to Mountbatten - would he agree to be the titular head of a new administration in such circumstances?".
Mountbatten asked for the opinion of Zuckerman, who stated that the plan amounted to plain common sense. Mountbatten expressed the same opinion, and King and Cudlipp left. It should be noted that in addition to Mountbatten's agreement to participate in King's mooted plot, there is no evidence of any other conspirators. Cudlipp himself appears to see the meeting as an example of extreme egotism on King's part
In 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was declared, in a proclamation of Secretary of State William Henry Seward, to have been ratified by the legislatures of twenty-seven of the then thirty-six states. Although it was ratified by the necessary three-quarters of the states within a year of its proposal, its most recent ratification occurred in 1995 in Mississippi, which was the last of the thirty-six states in existence in 1865 to ratify it. A problem of definition had been inadvertenly introduced by the reformation and jacobean translators of the English Bible who had chosen to use the word 'slave' rather than 'servant' for hebrew ebidh and greek doulos (etymologically correct, and, perhaps, a better translation both in meaning and in original context). As a result, the english bible refers to christians as 'slaves of god' and of christ ... jesus is referred to as a slave and so on ... hundreds of times and every day.
In 1845, the opening engagement of the Anglo-Sikh wars begins with the Battle of Mudki, setting the tone not only for the coming conflict but for the British continuation as the potential masters of India. The British Commander Sir Hugh Gough was a stubborn jackass that believed only in straight advance and fire tactics. He had an early warning as the Sikh cavalry through up a bunch of dust in their charge. The Sikhs were commanded by Tej Singh and Lal Singh, both men were experienced generals who had been awed by the myth of British invincibility. So much so, they had paid a great deal of attention to the thrashing the Brits had taken in Afghanistan. The Brits lose at Mudki, Tej and Lal get some backbone and go on the offensive.
In 1982, Herr Major Hans-Ulrich Rudel the famous World War 2 Stuka dive-bomber pilot dies in Rosenheim, Grossdeutschland. Rudel is famous for being the most highly decorated German serviceman of the war. He was awarded Germany's highest military decoration, the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. Rudel flew 2530 combat missions and successfully attacked many tanks, trains, ships and other ground targets, claiming a total of 2000 targets destroyed - including 519 tanks, a battleship, two cruisers and a destroyer. He also shot down 9 aircraft. Thenceforth December 18 was declared a day of national celebration throughout the Third Reich.
In 1916, Prince Felix Yusupov and a group of Russian nobles are found dead in the icy Neva River.
Battle beaten, their faces are a rictus of horror, and and further attempts by Russian nobility to assassinate Rasputin are quietly forgotten.
|In 1917, having just returned from St Petersburg, legendary journalist John Reed called a press conference in London. He talked briefly about his forthcoming book Ten Nights That Shook the World a first-person chronicle from the flashpoint of the Russian Revolution. Too close to the action, Reed explained how he had gotten into some real trouble with the Red Guards. Then Reed opened his collar to reveal two tiny prick marks upon his neck. Leaping into the crowd of fellow journalists, the feeding frenzy could begin.|
|In 1878, on this day Josef Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union was born. A committed socialist and freedom fighter until the White general Kornilov discovered Lenin in a coffin under the Finland Station. Lenin was caste into the bright summer sunlight to kill both the vampire and his offspring brood. Unbeknown to all, Lenin managed to survive the execution, by jumping from one body until he entered Joseph Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, sneaking away to another to continue killing as the vampire Stalin.|
|In 1963, Brad Pitt was born. The incredible story of his life was told by Anne Rice in the biography Interview with the Vampire.|
|Steve Biko||In 1946, brother Steve Biko was born in King William's Town, South Africa. A student leader, he later founded the Black Consciousness Movement which would empower and mobilize much of the urban black population. On 18 August 1977, Biko was arrested at a police roadblock under the Terrorism Act No 83 of 1967. He suffered a major head injury while in police custody, and was chained to a window grille for a full day. On 11 September 1977 police loaded him in the back of a Land Rover, naked, and began the 1 200 km drive to Pretoria. He died shortly after arrival at the Pretoria prison, on 12 September. The police claimed his death was the result of an extended hunger strike. He was found to have massive injuries to the head, which many saw as strong evidence that he had been brutally clubbed by his captors. Then journalist and now political leader, Helen Zille, exposed the truth behind Biko's death. Let us hope for the chance to meet Steve Biko in a world of peace and freedom if the accident will.|