January 31

Amber pages

On yesterday’s page I suggested that some days in history appear to have themes, and outlined one - tyranny against the individual - with some examples. To which I could easily add, on today's date, the expulsion of Trotsky from the Communist Party, today in 1929 - he was first deported to Alma-Ata in Central Asia, then forced to emigrate, and finally hunted down and assassinated in Mexcio in 1940; but you can read all that on August 20.

So today, the inversion of the theme, the overthrow of tyrannies:

the execution of Guy Fawkes in 1606

the abolition of slavery in the United States, the 13th amendment, passed by Congress today, in 1865, ratified on December 6th of the same 1865, (sadly still awaiting full implementation in most states, today, in 2018) - and see January 31 to realise just how far behind the rest of the world the US was with this

the instigation in the United States of Social Security payments, today in 1940 (the tyranny of poverty)

and some would include the opening of the first MacDonald's in Russia, in 1990 (and some would argue that it was opened yesterday, on the 30th), but really that is just the partnering of one form of tyranny with another, and it has not yet been proven which was the more damaging to humanity in the long run, though I think we can safely guess

And then, among the waxworks in the creative section:

Franz Schubert, composer, born today in 1797

Freya Stark, travel writer, born today in 1893

John O'Hara, poet, born today in 1905

And in addition:

the première of Anton Chekhov's play "Three Sisters" in Moscow, today in 1901

Luna 9 launched, today in 1966

Apollo 14 launched, today in 1971

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