Tag Archives: New York City

Gotham City: DC Comics’ Batman character


 

Gotham City

Gotham City is a fictional city that is best known as the home of DC Comics’ Batman character. Gotham is known to be architecturally modeled after New York City, but with exaggerated elements and styles. Gotham also sometimes serves as a nickname for New York, and was first popularized as such by the author Washington Irving. What is Arkham Asylum? More… Discuss

Published on Apr 4, 2015

Cartoon Movie Batman works desperately to find a bomb planted by the Joker while Amanda Waller hires her newly formed Suicide Squad to break into Arkham Asylum to recover vital information stolen by the Riddler.
Best Cartoon Movies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IE_eF…

 

this pressed for you: read on! Flash – Will latest migrant drama prod Europe into action? – France 24


© Eurokinissi/AFP / by Christian Spillmann | Local residents and rescue workers try to help migrants after their boat sank off the island of Rhodes, Greece, on April 20, 2015

20 April 2015 – 22H05

Will latest migrant drama prod Europe into action?

BRUSSELS (AFP) –

EU nations have long had the recipes for managing migrant flows and sharing out the burden of illegal migration but have lacked the political will for action despite multiple dramas in the Mediterranean, critics say.

“It’s shameful of Europe,” a high-ranking EU official told AFP after a boat carrying more than 700 people — perhaps as many as 1,000 — capsized off Libya days after a series of similar accidents sparked international outrage.

The European Union’s 28 members states had “no more excuses” to avoid action, warned the bloc’s foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini.

Amid the anger caused by the Lampedusa disaster of late 2013, in which 366 people drowned off Italy while seeking to reach Europe’s shores, the EU finessed plans to deal with the problem.

The action plan outlined at the time included improving the legal means of migration, combatting people-smugglers, beefing up the cash made available to Frontex, the EU’s frontier control agency, and rewriting the rules on dealing with migrant and refugee arrivals.

There has been no real follow-up however.

“The latest tragedies on the Mediterranean show how urgent it is to agree a share-out of responsibility,” said Cecilia Malmstroem, the EU’s former migration commissioner.

But at a summit on the issue in December 2013, EU leaders merely agreed to “prioritise efforts to stop departures” and show “appropriate solidarity” on dealing with new migrant arrivals.

The EU’s current migrant and refugee regime is set out in what is known as the Dublin II accords. They require that the country of first arrival — most often Italy recently – process migrants as well as asylum requests and be responsible for expelling those whose applications have been rejected.

A European Commission proposal to review the rule in the interests of better burden-sharing was flatly rejected by 24 of the EU’s 28 member states.

Only Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Malta — on the frontline of the migrant tide — backed the idea.

Malmstroem said European politicians had allowed populist and xenophobic movements to dictate policy and put the emphasis on repatriation.

– ‘Something has to change’ –

Now, public anger and shock over the steadily mounting death toll at sea may force a change.

“These are people like you and me — they’re not cockroaches,” thundered The Times of London, referring to controversial remarks made by a British newspaper columnist that “gunships” should be used on migrant boats to turn them back.

Malmstroem’s successor, Greece’s Dimitris Avramopoulos, is set to introduce a new approach to the problem in May.

Among his initiatives are greater funding for Frontex’s Triton operation monitoring the Mediterranean, new European programmes and facilities to handle incoming migrants, and legal and security rules “for people fleeing conflicts.”

Central to Avramopoulos’ push is his conviction that “something has to change” in the logic of the Dublin II accord, which leaves each country to deal with its individual share of the bloc’s immigration problem, limiting collective measures.

At a March 12 meeting, EU interior ministers looked at ways of stopping would-be migrants from leaving home.

Among these was setting up centres to examine immigration and asylum requests at major departure points in Africa to help stop people from setting out in rickety boats for a perilous journey across the Mediterranean sea.

“The only way to truly change the reality is to address the situation at its roots,” a Commission statement read.

Italy suspended its Mare Nostrum search-and-rescue operation late last year in protest over its rising cost and it was replaced by a smaller and much more restricted EU-led mission called Triton.

The recent flood of migrants and the growing loss of life have put Triton in the spotlight, with EU diplomatic sources saying Monday there was an emerging consensus that it had to get more resources to cope with the growing problem.

EU leaders will hold an emergency summit on the issue on Thursday and will be under intense pressure to come up with concrete proposals.

EU foreign and interior ministers meeting on Monday came up with a 10-point plan for action to be submitted to the leaders at the summit.

by Christian Spillmann

? 2015 AFP

News videos : UK elections – Miliband wins debate as PM Cameron absent

via Flash – Will latest migrant drama prod Europe into action? – France 24.

related Readings:  HERE

best classical music, Hamelin plays Gershwin – Concerto in F , great compositions/performanes


Hamelin plays Gershwin – Concerto in F

This day in the yesteryear: St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (1929)


St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (1929)

When Jack McGurn, a member of Al Capone’s gang, was almost killed by members of rival George “Bugs” Moran’s gang, Capone decided to retaliate by luring Bugs and some of his men to a warehouse and killing them. On the day of the massacre, Capone’s men thought that the rival crime boss had entered the warehouse and opened fire. They killed seven men but not Bugs—he had grown suspicious and changed his plans. One of the seven victims initially survived, despite how many gunshot wounds? More… Discuss

this day in the yesteryear: US President Bill Clinton Is Acquitted (1999)


US President Bill Clinton Is Acquitted (1999)

In January 1998, President Clinton was questioned in a civil suit charging him with sexual harassment. Before the Grand Jury, he denied having an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, which turned out to be untrue. The US House of Representatives impeached Clinton on December 19, 1998, charging him with perjury and obstruction of justice. In 1999, two impeachment counts were tried in the Senate, which voted to acquit Clinton. Who is the only other US President to have been impeached? More… Discuss

The Right to Human Civilization Evolution and preservation of its past : Buddhas of Bamiyan



Buddhas of Bamiyan

Historic footage of Bamiyan statues

Uploaded on Jan 25, 2007

A sequence on the Bamiyan statues from “Adventure in Afghanistan” from Hal, Halla and David Linker’s television travelogue series, “The Wild, the Weird, and the Wonderful”, circa 1973. The Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003; it is noted as being a World Heritage Site in Danger. The film clip is from the Human Studies Film Archives, Smithsonian Institution collection of historical moving images.
http://siris-archives.si.edu/ipac20/i…

Buddhas of Bamiyan

 From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Cultural Landscape and Archeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Afghanistan Statua di Budda 1.jpg

The taller of the two Buddhas of Bamiyan in 1976

Type Cultural
Criteria i, ii, iii, iv, vi.
Reference 208
UNESCO region Asia-Pacific
Inscription history
Inscription 2003 (27th Session)
Endangered 2003–present

The Buddhas of Bamiyan (Persian: بت های باميان – but hay-e bamiyan) were two 6th-century[1] monumental statues of standing buddha carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamyan valley in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan, 230 km (140 mi) northwest of Kabul at an altitude of 2,500 meters (8,200 feet). Built in 507 AD (smaller) and 554 AD (larger),[1] the statues represented the classic blended style of Gandhara art.[2]

The main bodies were hewn directly from the sandstone cliffs, but details were modeled in mud mixed with straw, coated with stucco. This coating, practically all of which wore away long ago, was painted to enhance the expressions of the faces, hands and folds of the robes; the larger one was painted carmine red and the smaller one was painted multiple colors.[3]

The lower parts of the statues’ arms were constructed from the same mud-straw mix while supported on wooden armatures. It is believed that the upper parts of their faces were made from great wooden masks or casts. Rows of holes that can be seen in photographs were spaces that held wooden pegs that stabilized the outer stucco.

They were dynamited and destroyed in March 2001 by the Taliban, on orders from leader Mullah Mohammed Omar,[4] after the Taliban government declared that they were idols.[5] An envoy visiting the United States in the following weeks explained that they were destroyed to protest international aid exclusively reserved for statue maintenance while Afghanistan was experiencing famine,[6] while the Afghan Foreign Minister claimed that the destruction was merely about carrying out Islamic religious iconoclasm. International opinion strongly condemned the destruction of the Buddhas, which in the following years was primarily viewed as an example of the extreme religious intolerance of the Taliban. Japan and Switzerland, among others, have pledged support for the rebuilding of the statues.[7]

History

Further information: Buddhism in Afghanistan

 Drawing of the Buddhas of Bamiyan by Alexander Burnes 1832

 
Taller Buddha in 1963 and in 2008 after destruction

 
Smaller Buddha in 1977

Bamiyan lies on the Silk Road, which runs through the Hindu Kush mountain region, in the Bamiyan Valley. The Silk Road has been historically a caravan route linking the markets of China with those of the Western world. It was the site of several Buddhist monasteries, and a thriving center for religion, philosophy, and art. Monks at the monasteries lived as hermits in small caves carved into the side of the Bamiyan cliffs. Most of these monks embellished their caves with religious statuary and elaborate, brightly colored frescoes. It was a Buddhist religious site from the 2nd century up to the time of the Islamic invasion in the later half of the 7th century. Until it was completely conquered by the Muslim Saffarids in the 9th century, Bamiyan shared the culture of Gandhara.

The two most prominent statues were the giant standing Buddhas Vairocana and Sakyamuni, identified by the different mudras performed. The Buddha popularly called “Solsol” measures 53 meters tall, and “Shahmama” 35 meters – the niches in which the figures stand are 58 and 38 meters from bottom to top.[8][9] Before being blown up in 2001 they were the largest examples of standing Buddha carvings in the world (the 8th century Leshan Giant Buddha is taller,[10] but the statue is sitting). Since then the Spring Temple Buddha has been built in China, and at 128 m (420 ft) it is the tallest statue in the world. Plans for the construction of the Spring Temple Buddha were announced soon after the blowing up of the Bamiyan Buddhas and China condemned the systematic destruction of the Buddhist heritage of Afghanistan.

The smaller of the statues was built between 544 and 595, the larger was built between 591 and 644.[11] The larger figure was also said to portray Dīpankara Buddha. They were perhaps the most famous cultural landmarks of the region, and the site was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site along with the surrounding cultural landscape and archaeological remains of the Bamiyan Valley. Their color faded through time.[12]

Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Xuanzang visited the site on 30 April 630 AD,[13][14][15] and described Bamiyan in the Da Tang Xiyu Ji as a flourishing Buddhist center “with more than ten monasteries and more than a thousand monks”. He also noted that both Buddha figures were “decorated with gold and fine jewels” (Wriggins, 1995). Intriguingly, Xuanzang mentions a third, even larger, reclining statue of the Buddha.[3][15][16] A monumental seated Buddha, similar in style to those at Bamiyan, still exists in the Bingling Temple caves in China’s Gansu province.

The destruction of the Bamyan Buddhas became a symbol of oppression and a rallying point for the freedom of religious expression. Despite the fact that most Afghans are now Muslim, they too had embraced their past and many were appalled by the destruction.[17][18][19]

Attacks on the Buddha’s statue

11th to the 20th century

In 1221 with the advent of Genghis Khan “a terrible disaster befell Bamiyan,”[20][21] nevertheless, the statues were spared. Later, the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, tried to use heavy artillery to destroy the statues. Another attempt to destroy the Bamiyan statues was made by the 18th century Persian king Nader Afshar, directing cannon fire at them.[22]

The enormous statues, the male Salsal (“light shines through the universe”) and the (smaller) female Shamama (“Queen Mother”),[23] as they were called by the locals, did not fail to fire the imagination of Islamic writers in centuries past. The larger statue reappears as the malevolent giant Salsal in medieval Turkish tales.[24]

Afghan king Abdur Rahman Khan destroyed its face during a military campaign against the Shia Hazara rebellion.[25] A Frenchman named Dureau had pictured it in 1847.[26]

Preface to 2001, under the Taliban

Abdul Wahed, a Taliban commander operating in the area, announced his intention to blow up the Buddhas in 1997 even before he had taken control of the valley. Once he was in control of Bamiyan in 1998, Wahed drilled holes in the Buddhas’ heads for explosives. He was prevented from taking further action by the local governor and direct order of Mullah Omar, although tyres were burnt on the head of the great Buddha.[27] In July 1999, Mullah Mohammed Omar issued a decree in favor of the preservation of the Bamiyan Buddha statues. Because Afghanistan’s Buddhist population no longer exists, so the statues are no longer worshipped, he added: “The government considers the Bamiyan statues as an example of a potential major source of income for Afghanistan from international visitors. The Taliban states that Bamiyan shall not be destroyed but protected.”[28] In early 2000, local Taliban authorities asked for UN assistance to rebuild drainage ditches around tops of the alcoves where the Buddhas were set.[29]

However, Afghanistan’s radical clerics began a campaign to crack down on “un-Islamic” segments of Afghan society. The Taliban soon banned all forms of imagery, music and sports, including television, in accordance with what they considered a strict interpretation of Sharia.[30]

Information and Culture Minister Qadratullah Jamal told Associated Press of a decision by 400 religious clerics from across Afghanistan declaring the Buddhist statues against the tenets of Islam. “They came out with a consensus that the statues were against Islam,” said Jamal.

According to UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, a meeting of ambassadors from the 54 member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) was conducted. All OIC states – including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, three countries that officially recognised the Taliban government – joined the protest to spare the monuments.[31] Saudi Arabia and the UAE later condemned the destruction as “savage”.[32] Although India never recognised the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, New Delhi offered to arrange for the transfer of all the artifacts in question to India, “where they would be kept safely and preserved for all mankind.” These overtures were rejected by the Taliban.[33] Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf sent Moinuddin Haider to Kabul to try to prevent the destruction, by arguing that it was un-Islamic and unprecedented.[34] According to Taliban minister, Abdul Salam Zaeef, UNESCO sent the Taliban government 36 letters objecting to the proposed destruction. He asserted that the Chinese, Japanese and Sri Lankan delegates were the most strident advocates for preserving the Buddhas. The Japanese in particular proposed a variety of different solutions to the issue, these included moving the statues to Japan, covering the statues from view and the payment of money.[35]

A statement issued by the ministry of religious affairs of Taliban regime justified the destruction as being in accordance with Islamic law.[36] Abdul Salam Zaeef held that the destruction of the Buddhas was finally ordered by Abdul Wali, the Minister for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.[37]

Dynamiting and destruction, March 2001

 Destruction of the site by the Taliban

 
Site of the larger statue after it was destroyed

 
Site of the smaller statue in 2005

The statues were destroyed by dynamite over several weeks, starting on 2 March 2001,[38] carried out in stages. Initially, the statues were fired at for several days using anti-aircraft guns and artillery. This caused severe damage, but did not obliterate them. During the destruction, Taliban Information Minister Qudratullah Jamal lamented that, “this work of destruction is not as simple as people might think. You can’t knock down the statues by shelling as both are carved into a cliff; they are firmly attached to the mountain.”[39] Later, the Taliban placed anti-tank mines at the bottom of the niches, so that when fragments of rock broke off from artillery fire, the statues would receive additional destruction from particles that set off the mines. In the end, the Taliban lowered men down the cliff face and placed explosives into holes in the Buddhas.[40] After one of the explosions failed to completely obliterate the face of one of the Buddhas, a rocket was launched that left a hole in the remains of the stone head.[41]

On 6 March 2001 The Times quoted Mullah Mohammed Omar as stating, “Muslims should be proud of smashing idols. It has given praise to Allah that we have destroyed them.”[42] During a 13 March interview for Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun, Afghan Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Mutawakel stated that the destruction was anything but a retaliation against the international community for economic sanctions: “We are destroying the statues in accordance with Islamic law and it is purely a religious issue”.

On 18 March, The New York Times reported that a Taliban envoy said the Islamic government made its decision in a rage after a foreign delegation offered money to preserve the ancient works. The report also added, however, that other reports “have said the religious leaders were debating the move for months, and ultimately decided that the statues were idolatrous and should be obliterated.”[43]

Then Taliban ambassador-at-large Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi said that the destruction of the statues was carried out by the Head Council of Scholars after a Swedish monuments expert proposed to restore the statues’ heads. Hashimi is reported as saying: “When the Afghan head council asked them to provide the money to feed the children instead of fixing the statues, they refused and said, ‘No, the money is just for the statues, not for the children’. Herein, they made the decision to destroy the statues”; however, he did not comment on the claim that a foreign museum offered to “buy the Buddhist statues, the money from which could have been used to feed children.”[44]

The destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas despite protests from the international community has been described by Michael Falser, a heritage expert at the Center for Transcultural Studies in Germany, as an attack by the Taliban against the globalising concept of “cultural heritage”.[45] The director general of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Koichiro Matsuura called the destruction a “…crime against culture. It is abominable to witness the cold and calculated destruction of cultural properties which were the heritage of the Afghan people, and, indeed, of the whole of humanity.”[46]

Commitment to rebuild

Though the figures of the two large Buddhas are almost completely destroyed, their outlines and some features are still recognizable within the recesses. It is also still possible for visitors to explore the monks’ caves and passages that connect them. As part of the international effort to rebuild Afghanistan after the Taliban war, the Government of Japan and several other organizations, among them the Afghanistan Institute in Bubendorf, Switzerland, along with the ETH in Zurich, have committed to rebuilding, perhaps by anastylosis, the two larger Buddhas.

Developments since 2002

In May 2002, a sculpture of the Buddha was carved out of a mountain in Sri Lanka. It was designed to closely resemble one of the Buddhas of Bamiyan.

In September 2005, Mawlawi Mohammed Islam Mohammadi, Taliban governor of Bamiyan province at the time of the destruction and widely seen as responsible for its occurrence, was elected to the Afghan Parliament. On 26 January 2007, he was assassinated in Kabul.

Swiss filmmaker Christian Frei made a 95-minute documentary titled The Giant Buddhas (released in March 2006) on the statues, the international reactions to their destruction, and an overview of the controversy. Testimony by local Afghans validates that Osama Bin Laden ordered the destruction and that, initially, Mullah Omar and the Afghans in Bamiyan opposed it.[47]

Since 2002, international funding has supported recovery and stabilization efforts at the site. Fragments of the statues are documented and stored with special attention given to securing the structure of the statue still in place. It is hoped that, in the future, partial anastylosis can be conducted with the remaining fragments. In 2009, ICOMOS constructed scaffolding within the niche to further conservation and stabilization. Nonetheless, several serious conservation and safety issues exist and the Buddhas are still listed as World Heritage in Danger.[48]

In the summer of 2006, Afghan officials were deciding on the timetable for the re-construction of the statues. As they wait for the Afghan government and international community to decide when to rebuild them, a $1.3 million UNESCO-funded project is sorting out the chunks of clay and plaster—ranging from boulders weighing several tons to fragments the size of tennis balls—and sheltering them from the elements.

The Buddhist remnants at Bamiyan were included on the 2008 World Monuments Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites by the World Monuments Fund.

Discoveries

 
Grotto painting in 2008

After the destruction of the Buddhas, 50 caves were revealed. In 12 of the caves, wall paintings were discovered.[49] In December 2004, an international team of researchers stated the wall paintings at Bamiyan were painted between the 5th and the 9th centuries, rather than the 6th to 8th centuries, citing their analysis of radioactive isotopes contained in straw fibers found beneath the paintings. It is believed that the paintings were done by artists travelling on the Silk Road, the trade route between China and the West.[50]

Scientists from the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties in Tokyo (Japan), the Centre of Research and Restoration of the French Museums-CNRS (France), the Getty Conservation Institute (United States) and the ESRF (the European Synchrotron radiation facility) in Grenoble analysed samples from the paintings,[51] typically less than 1 mm across.[52] They discovered that the paint contained pigments such as vermilion (red mercury sulfide) and lead white (lead carbonate). These were mixed with a range of binders, including natural resins, gums (possibly animal skin glue or egg)[52] and oils, probably derived from walnuts or poppies.[50] Specifically, researchers identified drying oils from murals showing Buddhas in vermilion robes sitting cross-legged amid palm leaves and mythical creatures as being painted in the middle of the 7th century.[49] It is believed that they are the oldest known surviving examples of oil painting, possibly predating oil painting in Europe by as much as six centuries.[50] The discovery may lead to a reassessment of works in ancient ruins in Iran, China, Pakistan, Turkey and India.[50]

Initial suspicion that the oils might be attributable to contamination from fingers, as the touching of the painting is encouraged in Buddhist tradition,[52] was dispelled by spectroscopy and chromatography giving an unambiguous signal for the intentional use of drying oils rather than contaminants.[52] Oils were discovered underneath layers of paint, unlike surface contaminants.[52]

Scientists also found the translation of the beginning section of the original Sanskrit Pratītyasamutpāda Sutra translated by Xuanzang that spelled out the basic belief of Buddhism and said all things are transient.[53]

Another giant statue unearthed

On 8 September 2008 archeologists searching for a legendary 300-metre statue at the site of the already dynamited Buddhas announced the discovery of parts of an unknown 19-metre (62-foot) reclining Buddha, a pose representing Buddha’s Parinirvana.[54]

Restoration

The UNESCO Expert Working Group on Afghan cultural projects convened to discuss what to do about the two statues between 3–4 March 2011 in Paris. Researcher Erwin Emmerling of Technical University Munich announced he believed it would be possible to restore the smaller statue using an organic silicon compound.[11] The Paris conference issued a list of 39 recommendations for the safeguarding of the Bamiyan site. These included leaving the larger Western niche empty as a monument to the destruction of the Buddhas, a feasibility study into the rebuilding of the Eastern Buddha, and the construction of a central museum and several smaller site museums.[55] Work has since begun on restoring the Buddhas using the process of anastylosis, where original elements are combined with modern material. It is estimated that roughly half the pieces of the Buddhas can be put back together according to Bert Praxenthaler, a German art historian and sculptor involved in the restoration. The restoration of the caves and Buddhas has also involved training and employing local people as stone carvers.[56] The project, which also aims to encourage tourism to the area, is being organised by UNESCO and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). The work has come under some criticism. It is felt by some, such as human rights activist Abdullah Hamadi, that the empty niches should be left as monuments to the fanaticism of the Taliban, while NPR reported that others believe the money could be better spent on housing and electricity for the region.[57] Some people, including Habiba Sarabi, the provincial governor, believe that rebuilding the Buddhas would increase tourism which would aid the surrounding communities.[57]

See also

References

Notes

  1. Kakissis, Joanna (27 July 2011). “Bit By Bit, Afghanistan Rebuilds Buddhist Statues”. National Public Radio. Retrieved 22 April 2013.

Further reading

External links

 

this day in the yesteryear: General Tom Thumb Marries Lavinia Warren (1863)


General Tom Thumb Marries Lavinia Warren (1863)

General Tom Thumb, born Charles Sherwood Stratton, began touring with circus pioneer P.T. Barnum in 1843 at the tender age of four. Stratton’s short stature—he was a mere 3 feet, 4 inches (102 cm) tall when he died—and his comedic impersonations made him an international hit. His courtship of Lavinia Warren, another one of Barnum’s performers, led to a fashionable New York City wedding in 1863, and the pair was later received at the White House. Stratton died in 1883. What marks his grave? More… Discuss

Today In History. What Happened This Day In History


Today In History. What Happened This Day In History

A chronological timetable of historical events that occurred on this day in history. Historical facts of the day in the areas of military, politics, science, music, sports, arts, entertainment and more. Discover what happened today in history.

February 4

786   Harun al-Rashid succeeds his older brother the Abbasid Caliph al-Hadi as Caliph of Baghdad.
1194   Richard I, King of England, is freed from captivity in Germany.
1508   The Proclamation of Trent is made.
1787   Shay’s Rebellion, an uprising of debt-ridden Massachusetts farmers against the new U.S. government, fails.
1795   France abolishes slavery in her territories and confers slaves to citizens.
1889   Harry Longabaugh is released from Sundance Prison in Wyoming, thereby acquiring the famous nickname, “the Sundance Kid.”
1899   After an exchange of gunfire, fighting breaks out between American troops and Filipinos near Manila, sparking the Philippine-American War
1906   The New York Police Department begins finger print identification.
1909   California law segregates Caucasian and Japanese schoolchildren.
1915   Germany decrees British waters as part of the war zone; all ships to be sunk without warning.
1923   French troops take the territories of Offenburg, Appenweier and Buhl in the Ruhr as a part of the agreement ending World War I.
1932   Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt inaugurates the Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, N.Y.
1941   The United Service Organization (U.S.O.) is formed to cater to armed forces and defense industries.
1944   The Japanese attack the Indian Seventh Army in Burma.
1945   The Big Three, American, British and Soviet leaders, meet in Yalta to discuss the war aims.
1966   Senate Foreign Relations Committee begins televised hearings on the Vietnam War.
1980   Syria withdraws its peacekeeping force in Beirut.
1986   The U.S. Post Office issues a commemorative stamp featuring Sojourner Truth.
Born on February 4
1881   Fernand Leger, French painter.
1900   Jacques Prevert, French poet, screenwriter (The Visitors of the Evening, The Children of Paradise).
1902   Charles Lindbergh, the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic.
1906   Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German Protestant theologian.
1906   Clyde Tombaugh, astronomer, discovered Pluto.
1913   Rosa Lee Parks, civil rights activist.
1921   Betty Friedan, writer, feminist, founded the National Organization of Women in 1966.
1925   Russell Hoban, artist and writer (Bedtime for Frances, The Mouse and His Child).
1932   Robert Coover, novelist & short story writer.
1947   Dan Quayle, vice president under President George H.W. Bush.

– See more at: http://www.historynet.com/today-in-history#sthash.fNGS84mj.dpuf

#PopeFrancis leads a #Candlemas procession in the Vatican — Catholic News Agency


today’s holiday: Yaya Matsuri (2015)


Yaya Matsuri (2015)

The Yaya Matsuri, held in Owase, Japan, during the first week in February, features mikoshi (portable shrines) carried through the streets by groups of young men who meet and deliberately crash into each other. The festival takes its name from their shouts—”Yaya! Yaya!”—as they run into one another. Several special events, including dances, are held during the five-day festival. On the last night, there is a ceremony at the Owase Shrine to determine who will participate in the festival the next year. More… Discuss

‘Book lover’, 1933. Photo by Brassaï — ✍ Bibliophilia (@Libroantiguo)


Health officials: N.Y. Amtrak passenger had measles


WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — A college student who rode an Amtrak train through New York to last Sunday has the measles, prompting health officials to warn anyone who came in contact with the patient to watch for signs of the illness.

The Bard College student took the No. 283 Empire line train from Penn Station at 1:20 p.m. Jan. 25. The train made stops in Yonkers and Croton-Harmon before continuing to Poughkeepsie, Rhinecliff and the Albany area.

Bard, a liberal arts college in Dutchess County, has held an immunization clinic for students.

Anyone who might have come into contact with the student and is not fully vaccinated or unsure of their vaccination status is urged to see a doctor, health officials said.

The disease is highly contagious and can take several days after exposure to develop. It causes fever, runny nose, cough and a rash all over the body.

USA TODAY

Measles has infected 84 people in 14 states this year

via Health officials: N.Y. Amtrak passenger had measles.

Google Art Project originally shared: Enjoy the tour! #museweb #art #museum #Uffizi


 
250 years ago, in 1765, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence was officially opened to the public. Have you ever been to this art museum, one of the oldest and most famous in the world?

If you haven’t, you definitely should! And in the meantime, you can take a virtual peak at the splendid galleries with #StreetView at:  http://goo.gl/d9p0Iq
Enjoy the tour! #museweb #art #museum #Uffizi

CNA – Catholic News Agency January 31 -2015 (for the “lukewarm Christians everywhere”)


CNA - Catholic News Agency January 31 -2015 (click to access Reports of  interest to Christians at CNA)

CNA – Catholic News Agency January 31 -2015 (click to access Reports of interest to Christians at CNA)

word: petulant


petulant

Definition: (adjective) Unreasonably irritable or ill-tempered.
Synonyms: peevish, testy, cranky, fractious
Usage: After their fight, her friend came to make amends, but she was feeling petulant and sulky and ignored him. Discuss.

Leonard Bernstein – Maria (from West Side Story) , great compositions/performances


English: Leonard Bernstein, conductor and musi...

English: Leonard Bernstein, conductor and musical director of New York City Symphony Español: Leonard Bernstein, director de orquesta y director musical de la New York City Symphony (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Leonard Cohen – Take This Waltz [Official Music Video], great songs/interpretations


Leonard Cohen – Take This Waltz [Official Music Video]

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 

this day in the yesteryear: Nellie Bly Goes Around the World (1890)


Nellie Bly Goes Around the World (1890)

Elizabeth Jane Cochran—better known by her pen name, Nellie Bly—was a pioneering investigative reporter. She feigned insanity in order to be committed to the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on New York City’s Blackwell’s Island and expose the institution’s horrific and abusive treatment methods. In 1889, she embarked on a 24,899-mile (40,071-km) journey around the world inspired by the Jules Verne novel Around the World in Eighty Days. Her trip, however, was somewhat shorter. How long did it take? More… Discuss

Fabbrica di paste #watercolor #pencil #illustration #pasta #Italy — Virginia (@myartpainting)


http://www.virginiart.net/aboutme.html

http://www.virginiart.net/aboutme.html (access this site when you click!)

Google translates:

The Good Things and the Bad Things of Today:

Beautiful things today: the sparrows that seek and found crumbs of food provided just in time, religious songs of women that fill my heart with joy and hope, the elderly gentlemen who smile at me.
The colorful fruits in stalls, the flame of the candle that doesn’t extinguish, greeting without exception everyone who who was here before me my time, the heavenly part of the sky.
The reflection of the sun on the bells, the wind that refreshes the skin, a mother holding the hand of his son, the marijuana that grows wild.
The bleating of goats, the sound of cymbals and drums, children laughing merrily.
A homeless man on the street who loves me!

The bad things of today are those who do not want to see!!!

_Virginia

 

(California): This is the one simple truth car insurance company don’t want you to know. (New Rule Leaves Drivers Furious and Shocked!)


New Rule Leaves Drivers Furious and
Shocked!

And I promised myself not to allow myself to be shocked this year!


Warning: Do Not Pay Your Next Car Insurance
Bill Until You Read This…

January 14, 2015

(California): This is the one simple truth car insurance company don’t want you to know. If you are currently insured, drive less than 35 miles/day and live in a qualified zip code you can receive some huge discounts. Also, if you have no DUI’s on your record, you may qualify for some of the biggest discounts of all. But do you think your car insurance company will tell you that?

When drivers enter their zip code and vehicle information at Provide-Insurance.com many are shocked at the results they find. Most just can’t believe that the available rates are in fact real, but the truth is rates have dropped significantly for many people over the past 12 months. Also, thanks to new program policies it’s now easy to save up to 45% with rates as low as $9/week.

We had Kristen Pereira, our in house financial expert, test these types of services out. She came back a few days later to report a number of exciting things – including that she will now save over $400 during the next year. She found many others who have done the same.

Does this mean Kristen was overcharged by her previous insurance company? Well, it’s possible since they neglected to share with her a number of lower cost insurance options. When confronted, she was told in a hesitant voice,”There are just so many options, and I didn’t think you would be interested in that specific one.”   continue reading here

Nadya (from “Wonderland”). Michael Nyman. Valentina Lisitsa


Nadya (from “Wonderland”). Michael Nyman. Valentina Lisitsa

Max Bruch: Violin Concerto no. 1 in G minor, op. 26 – Akiko Suwanai (諏訪内 晶子), great compositions/performances ( 偉大な組成物/公演)


Max Bruch: Violin Concerto no. 1 in G minor, op. 26 – Akiko Suwanai (諏訪内 晶子)

Movements:

  1. Vorspiel: Allegro moderato

  2. Adagio

  3. Finale: Allegro energico

Are you or someone you know a student in New York Public? Cell Phone Ban Lifted for New York Students


Cell Phone Ban Lifted for New York Students

The ban on students having cell phones in New York City’s public schools will soon end, with mayor Bill de Blasio announcing that phone regulation will be up to school principals. Each principal is free to create a policy or use a default one that allows students to bring their phones, so long as they are not used during school hours. The new rules are scheduled to go into effect in March. Currently, many students pay a small fee to leave their phones at a storage location—typically a grocery store or a roaming van—during the school day. More… Discuss

History – The World of Journalism – William Randolph Hearst


The World of Journalism - William Randolph Hearst

The World of Journalism – William Randolph Hearst (several software were employed to create this collage: Brothers scanner, FastStone image editor, Irfan View Collage function)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
For other people named William Randolph Hearst, see William Randolph Hearst (disambiguation).
William Randolph Hearst
William Randolph Hearst cph 3a49373.jpg
Hearst in 1906, photograph by James E. Purdy
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York‘s 11th district
In office
March 4, 1903 – March 4, 1907
Preceded by William Sulzer
Succeeded by Charles V. Fornes
Personal details
Born April 29, 1863
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Died August 14, 1951 (aged 88)
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
Political party Democratic Party (1896–1935)
Independence Party (1905–1910)
Municipal Ownership League (1904–05)
Spouse(s) Millicent Willson Hearst (1903–1951)
Relations Phoebe Apperson Hearst, mother
George Hearst, father
Patty Hearst, granddaughter
Anne Hearst, granddaughter
Lydia Hearst-Shaw, great-granddaughter
Amanda Hearst, great-granddaughter
Marion Davies, mistress
Children George Randolph Hearst (1904–1972)
William Randolph Hearst, Jr. (1908–1993)
John Randolph Hearst (1910–1958)
Randolph Apperson Hearst (1915–2000)
David Whitmire Hearst (1915–1986)
Residence Hearst Castle
San Simeon, California
Alma mater Harvard University
Occupation Businessman & publisher
Signature

William Randolph Hearst (/ˈhɜrst/;[1] April 29, 1863 – August 14, 1951) was an American newspaper publisher who built the nation’s largest newspaper chain and whose methods profoundly influenced American journalism.[2] Hearst entered the publishing business in 1887 after taking control of The San Francisco Examiner from his father. Moving to New York City, he acquired The New York Journal and engaged in a bitter circulation war with Joseph Pulitzer‘s New York World that led to the creation of yellow journalism—sensationalized stories of dubious veracity. Acquiring more newspapers, Hearst created a chain that numbered nearly 30 papers in major American cities at its peak. He later expanded to magazines, creating the largest newspaper and magazine business in the world.

He was twice elected as a Democrat to the U.S. House of Representatives, and ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of New York City in 1905 and 1909, for Governor of New York in 1906, and for Lieutenant Governor of New York in 1910. Nonetheless, through his newspapers and magazines, he exercised enormous political influence, and was famously blamed for pushing public opinion with his yellow journalism type of reporting leading the United States into a war with Spain in 1898.

His life story was the main inspiration for the development of the lead character in Orson Welles‘s film Citizen Kane.[3] His mansion, Hearst Castle, on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean near San Simeon, California, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, was donated by the Hearst Corporation to the state of California in 1957, and is now a State Historical Monument and a National Historic Landmark, open for public tours. Hearst formally named the estate La Cuesta Encantada (“The Enchanted Slope”), but he usually just called it “the ranch.”

Ancestry and early life

William R. Hearst was born in San Francisco to millionaire mining engineer, goldmine owner and U.S. senator (1886–91) George Hearst and his wife Phoebe Apperson Hearst.

His paternal great-grandfather was John Hearst, of Scots-Irish origin, who emigrated to America with his wife and six children in 1766 and settled in South Carolina. Their immigration to South Carolina was spurred in part by the colonial government’s policy that encouraged the immigration of Irish Protestants.[4] The names “John Hearse” and “John Hearse Jr.” appear on the council records of October 26, 1766, being credited with meriting 400 and 100 acres (1.62 and 0.40 km2) of land on the Long Canes (in what became Abbeville District), based upon 100 acres (0.40 km2) to heads of household and 50 acres (200,000 m2) for each dependent of a Protestant immigrant. The “Hearse” spelling of the family name never was used afterward by the family members themselves, or any family of any size. A separate theory purports that one branch of a “Hurst” family of Virginia (originally from Plymouth Colony) moved to South Carolina at about the same time and changed the spelling of its surname of over a century to that of the emigrant Hearsts.[5] Hearst’s mother, née Phoebe Elizabeth Apperson, was of Irish ancestry; her family came from Galway.[6] She was the first woman regent of University of California, Berkeley, funded many anthropological expeditions and founded the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology.

Following preparation at St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, Hearst enrolled in the Harvard College class of 1885. While there he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon, the A.D. Club (a Harvard Final club), the Hasty Pudding Theatricals, and of the Harvard Lampoon before being expelled for antics ranging from sponsoring massive beer parties in Harvard Square to sending pudding pots used as chamber pots to his professors (their images were depicted within the bowls).[7]

Publishing business

 An ad asking automakers to place ads in Hearst chain, noting their circulation.

Searching for an occupation, in 1887 Hearst took over management of a newspaper, the San Francisco Examiner, which his father received in 1880 as repayment for a gambling debt.[8] Giving his paper a grand motto, “Monarch of the Dailies,” he acquired the best equipment and the most talented writers of the time, including Ambrose Bierce, Mark Twain, Jack London, and political cartoonist Homer Davenport. A self-proclaimed populist, Hearst went on to publish stories of municipal and financial corruption, often attacking companies in which his own family held an interest. Within a few years, his paper dominated the San Francisco market.

New York Morning Journal

Early in his career at the San Francisco Examiner, Hearst envisioned running a large newspaper chain, and “always knew that his dream of a nation-spanning, multi-paper news operation was impossible without a triumph in New York.”[9] In 1895, with the financial support of his mother, he bought the failing New York Morning Journal, hiring writers like Stephen Crane and Julian Hawthorne and entering into a head-to-head circulation war with Joseph Pulitzer, owner and publisher of the New York World, from whom he “stole” Richard F. Outcault, the inventor of color comics, and all of Pulitzer’s Sunday staff as well.[10] Another prominent hire was James J. Montague, who came from the Portland Oregonian and started his well-known “More Truth Than Poetry” column at the Hearst-owned New York Evening Journal.[11]

When Hearst purchased the “penny paper,” so called because its copies sold for only a penny apiece, the Journal was competing with New York’s 16 other major dailies, with a strong focus on Democratic Party politics.[12] Hearst imported his best managers from the San Francisco Examiner and “quickly established himself as the most attractive employer” among New York newspapers. He was generous, paid more than his competitors, gave credit to his writers with page-one bylines, and was unfailingly polite, unassuming, “impeccably calm,” and indulgent of “prima donnas, eccentrics, bohemians, drunks, or reprobates so long as they had useful talents.”[13]

Hearst’s activist approach to journalism can be summarized by the motto, “While others Talk, the Journal Acts.”

Expansion

In part to aid in his political ambitions, Hearst opened newspapers in some other cities, among them Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston. The creation of his Chicago paper was requested by the Democratic National Committee, and Hearst used this as an excuse for Phoebe Hearst to transfer him the necessary start-up funds. By the mid-1920s he had a nation-wide string of 28 newspapers, among them the Los Angeles Examiner, the Boston American, the Atlanta Georgian, the Chicago Examiner, the Detroit Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Washington Times, the Washington Herald, and his flagship the San Francisco Examiner.

Hearst also diversified his publishing interests into book publishing and magazines; several of the latter are still in circulation, including such periodicals as Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Town and Country, and Harper’s Bazaar.

 Cartoonist Rogers in 1906 sees the political uses of Oz: he depicts William Randolph Hearst as the Scarecrow stuck in his own Ooze in Harper’s Weekly.

In 1924 he opened the New York Daily Mirror, a racy tabloid frankly imitating the New York Daily News, Among his other holdings were two news services, Universal News and International News Service, or INS, the latter of which he founded in 1909.[36] He also owned INS companion radio station WINS in New York); King Features Syndicate, which still owns the copyrights of a number of popular comics characters; a film company, Cosmopolitan Productions; extensive New York City real estate; and thousands of acres of land in California and Mexico, along with timber and mining interests.

Hearst’s father, US Senator George Hearst, had acquired land in the Mexican state of Chihuahua after receiving advance notice that Geronimo – who had terrorized settlers in the region – had surrendered. George Hearst was able to buy 670,000 acres (270,000 ha),[37] the Babicora Ranch, at 20–40 cents each because only he knew that they had become much more secure.[38] George Hearst was on friendly terms with Porfirio Díaz, the Mexican dictator, who helped him settle boundary disputes profitably. The ranch was expanded to nearly 1,000,000 acres (400,000 ha) by George Hearst, then by Phoebe Hearst after his death.[38][39] The younger Hearst was at Babicora as early as 1886, when, as he wrote to his mother, “I really don’t see what is to prevent us from owning all Mexico and running it to suit ourselves.”[37][40] During the Mexican Revolution, his mother’s ranch was looted by irregulars under Pancho Villa. Babicora was then occupied by Carranza’s forces. Phoebe Hearst willed the ranch to her son in 1919.[41] Babicora was sold to the Mexican government for $2.5 million in 1953, just two years after Hearst’s death.[42]

Hearst promoted writers and cartoonists despite the lack of any apparent demand for them by his readers. The press critic A. J. Liebling reminds us how many of Hearst’s stars would not have been deemed employable elsewhere. One Hearst favorite, George Herriman, was the inventor of the dizzy comic strip Krazy Kat; not especially popular with either readers or editors at the time of its initial publication, it is now considered by many to be a classic, a belief once held only by Hearst himself.

Two months before the Wall Street Crash of 1929, he became one of the sponsors of the first round-the-world voyage in an airship, the LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin from Germany. His sponsorship was conditional on the trip starting at Lakehurst Naval Air Station, NJ, so the ship’s captain, Dr. Hugo Eckener, first flew the Graf Zeppelin across the Atlantic from Germany to pick up Hearst’s photographer and at least three Hearst correspondents. One of them, Grace Marguerite Hay Drummond-Hay, by that flight became the first woman to travel around the world by air.[43]

The Hearst news empire reached a circulation and revenue peak about 1928, but the economic collapse of the Great Depression and the vast over-extension of his empire cost him control of his holdings. It is unlikely that the newspapers ever paid their own way; mining, ranching and forestry provided whatever dividends the Hearst Corporation paid out. When the collapse came, all Hearst properties were hit hard, but none more so than the papers; Furthermore, his now-conservative politics, increasingly at odds with those of his readers, only worsened matters for the once great Hearst media chain. Having been refused the right to sell another round of bonds to unsuspecting investors, the shaky empire tottered. Unable to service its existing debts, Hearst Corporation faced a court-mandated reorganization in 1937. From that point, Hearst was reduced to being merely another employee, subject to the directives of an outside manager.[25] Newspapers and other properties were liquidated, the film company shut down; there was even a well-publicized sale of art and antiquities. While World War II restored circulation and advertising revenues, his great days were over. Hearst died of a heart attack in 1951, aged eighty-eight, in Beverly Hills, California, and is buried at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Colma, California.

The Hearst Corporation continues to this day as a large, privately held media conglomerate based in New York City.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Randolph_Hearst

Muslim conquest of Egypt: “We have conquered Alexandria. In this city there are 4,000 palaces, 400 places of entertainment, and untold wealth. -‘Amr”


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

Muslim conquest of EgyptPart of the Muslim conquests and the Arab–Byzantine WarsGiza Plateau - Great Sphinx with Pyramid of Khafre in background.JPG

Date 639–642
Location Egypt, Libya
Result Rashidun victory.
Territorial
changes
Muslims annexed Egypt, Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Fezzan.

BelligerentsEastern Roman EmpireRashidun CaliphateCommanders and leadersEmperor Heraclius
Theodorus
Aretion
Constans II

Cyrus of Alexandria

Caliph Umar
Amr ibn al-Aas
Zubair ibn al-Awam
Miqdad bin Al-Aswad
Ubaida bin As-Samit

Kharija bin Huzafa

At the commencement of the Muslim conquest of Egypt, Egypt was part of the Byzantine/Eastern Roman Empire with its capital at Constantinople. However, it had been conquered just a decade before by the Persian Empire under Khosrau II (616 to 629 AD). Emperor Heraclius re-captured Egypt after a series of campaigns against the Sassanid Persians, only to lose it to the Muslim Rashidun army ten years later. Before the Muslim conquest of Egypt had begun, the Eastern Romans had already lost the Levant and its Arab ally, the Ghassanid Kingdom, to the Muslims. All this left the Eastern Roman Empire dangerously exposed and vulnerable.[1]

Rashidun invasion of Egypt

Prologue

Rashidun army crossing the Egyptian border

 

Pyramids of Gizah.

In December 639 ‘Amr ibn al-‘As left for Egypt with a force of 4,000 troops. Most of the soldiers belonged to the Arab tribe of ‘Ak, although Al-Kindi mentions that one third of the soldiers belonged to the Arab tribe of Ghafik. The Arab soldiers were also joined by some Roman and Persian converts to Islam. However, ‘Umar, the Muslim caliph, reconsidered his orders to Amr, thinking it foolhardy to expect to conquer such a large country as Egypt with a mere 4,000 soldiers. Accordingly, he wrote a letter to ‘Amr commanding him to come back.[2]

The messenger, ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Amr, caught up to Amr at Rafah, a little short of the Egyptian frontier. Guessing what might be in the letter, ‘Amr ordered the army to quicken its pace. Turning to ‘Uqbah, ‘Amr said that he would receive the caliph’s letter from him when the army had halted after the day’s journey. ‘Uqbah, being unaware of the contents of the letter, agreed and marched along with the army. The army halted for the night at Shajratein, a little valley near the city of El Arish, which ‘Amr knew to be beyond the Egyptian border.[3] ‘Amr then received and read the ‘Umar’s letter and went on to consult his companions as to the course of action to be adopted. The unanimous view was that as they had received the letter on Egyptian soil, they had permission to proceed.

When ‘Umar received the reply, he decided to watch further developments and started concentrating fresh forces at Madinah which could be dispatched to Egypt as reinforcements. On Eid al-Adha, the Muslim army marched from Shajratein to El Arish,[2] a small town lacking a garrison. The town put up no resistance, and the citizens offered allegiance on the usual terms. The Muslim soldiers celebrated the Eid festival there.

Conquering of Pelusium and Belbeis

In the later part of December 639 or in early January 640, the Muslim army reached Pelusium, an Eastern Roman garrison city that was considered Egypt’s eastern gate at the time. The Muslims siege of the town dragged on for two months. In February 640 an assault group led by a prominent field commander Huzaifah ibn Wala successfully assaulted and captured the fort and city.[4][5][6][7][8][9] Armanousa, the daughter of Cyrus who fiercely resisted the Muslims in Pelusium and fell hostage in their hands, was sent to her father in the Babylon Fortress.[10]

The losses incurred by the Arab Muslim army were ameliorated by the number of Sinai Bedouins who, taking the initiative, had joined them in conquering Egypt.[11] These Bedouins belonged to the tribes of Rashidah and Lakhm[12] The ease with which Pelusium fell to the Muslim Arabs, and the lack of Byzantine reinforcements to aid the city during the month-long siege is often attributed to the treachery of the Egyptian governor, Cyrus, who was also the Melchite (i.e., Byzantine–Chalcedonian Diaphysite) Patriarch of Alexandria.[13][11]

After the fall of Pelusium the Muslims marched to Bilbeis, 40 miles from Memphis via desert roads and besieged it. Belbeis was the first place in Egypt where the Byzantines showed some measure of resistance towards the Arab invaders. Two Christian monks accompanied by Cyrus of Alexandria and the famous Roman general Aretion came out to negotiate with ‘Amr ibn al-‘As. Aretion was previously the Byzantine governor of Jerusalem, and had fled to Egypt when the city fell to the Muslims. ‘Amr gave them three options: to either convert to Islam, or to pay Jizya, or to fight the Muslims. They requested three days to reflect, then – as mentions al-Tabari – requested two extra days. At the end of the five days, the two monks and the general decided to reject Islam and Jizya and fight the Muslims. They thus disobeyed their ruler, Cyrus of Alexandria, who wanted to surrender and pay Jizya. Cyrus subsequently left for the Babylon Fortress, while the two monks and Aretion decided to fight the Arabs. The fight resulted in the victory of the latter and the death of Aretion. ‘Amr ibn al-‘As subsequently attempted to convince the native Egyptians to aid the Arabs and surrender the city, based on the kinship between Egyptians and Arabs via Hagar.[14] When the Egyptians refused, the siege of Bilbeis was continued until the city fell after a month. Towards the end of March 640 the city surrendered to the Muslims.[13] With the fall of Belbeis, the Arabs were only one day away from the head of the Delta.

Siege of Babylon

 

Map detailing the route of the Muslims’ invasion of Egypt.

Amr had visualized that the conquest of Egypt would be a walkover. This expectation turned out to be wrong. Even at the outposts of Pelusium and Bilbeis the Muslims had met stiff resistance. The siege of Pelusium had lasted for two months and that of Bilbeis for one month. Both battles were preludes to the siege of Babylon, which was a larger and more important city. Here resistance on a larger scale was expected.[15] After the fall of Bilbeis the Muslims advanced to Babylon, near modern Cairo. The Muslims arrived at Babylon some time in May 640 AD.[16] Babylon was a fortified city, and the Romans had prepared it for a siege. Outside the city, a ditch had been dug, and a large force was positioned in the area between the ditch and the city walls. The Muslims besieged the fort of Babylon some time in May 640. The fort was a massive structure 60 ft. high with walls more than 6 ft. thick and studded with numerous towers and bastions. A Muslim force of some 4,000 men attacked the Roman positions unsuccessfully. Early Muslim sources place the strength of the Byzantine force in Babylon about six times the strength of the Muslim force.[17] For the next two months fighting remained inconclusive, with the Byzantines having the upper hand by repulsing every Muslim assault.[18]

Some time in May 640 AD, ‘Amr sent a detachment to raid the city of Fayoum. The Byzantines had anticipated this raid, and thus strongly guarded the roads leading to the city. They had also fortified their garrison in the nearby town of Lahun. When the Muslim Arabs realized that Fayoum was too strong for them to invade, they headed towards the Western Desert where they looted all the cattle and animals they could. They subsequently headed to Oxyrhynchus (Per-Medjed), which was defeated. The Arabs then returned to Lower Egypt down the River Nile.[19]

Reinforcements from Madinah

In July, ‘Amr wrote to ‘Umar requesting reinforcement; but before the letter reached him, the caliph had already dispatched the first reinforcement, which was 4000 strong. The army was composed mostly of the veterans of Syrian campaigns. Even with these reinforcements, ‘Amr was unsuccessful. By August 640, ‘Umar’s assembling of the 4000 strong elite force had been completed. It consisted of four columns. Each column was one thousand strong and appointed a commander each, while Zubair ibn al-Awam, a renowned warrior and commander, veteran of the Battle of Yarmouk and once a part of Khalid ibn Walid‘s elite force mobile guard, was appointed the supreme commander of army. ‘Umar had indeed offered Zubair the chief command and governorship of Egypt, but Zubair had declined the offer. Other commanders were Miqdad ibn al-Aswad; Ubaidah ibn as-Samit, and Kharijah ibn Huzaifah. These reinforcements arrived at Babylon sometime in September 640. The total strength of the Muslim force now rose to 12,000, quite a modest strength to resume the offensive.[3]

Battle of Heliopolis

Ten miles from Babylon was Heliopolis.[20] The Muslim army reached Heliopolis in July 640.[21] It was the city of the Sun Temple of the Pharaohs, and was famous for its grandiose monuments and learning institutions.[22] There was the danger that forces from Heliopolis could attack the Muslims from the flank while it was engaged with the Roman army at Babylon. With some detachments ‘Amr and Zubair marched to Heliopolis. There was a cavalry clash near the current neighbourhood of Abbaseya. The engagement was not decisive although it resulted in the occupation of the fortress located between the current neighbourhoods of Abdyn and Azbakeya. The defeated Byzantine soldiers retreated to either the Babylon Fortress or the fortress of Nikiû.[23] At an unguarded point of the wall of Heliopolis, Zubair and some of his picked soldiers scaled the wall of the city, and after overpowering the guards, opened the gates for the main Muslim army to enter the city. Heliopolis was thus captured by the Muslims. ‘Amr and Zubair returned to Babylon.

Conquering of Fayoum and Babylon

When news of the Muslims’ victory at Heliopolis reached Fayoum, its Byzantine garrison under the command of Domentianus evacuated the city during the night and fled to Abuit. From Abuit, they fled down the Nile to Nikiu without informing the people of Fayoum and Abuit that they were abandoning their cities to the enemy. When news of this reached ‘Amr, he ordered a body of his troops to cross the Nile and invade Fayoum and Abuit. The Muslim soldiers captured the entire province of Fayoum without any resistance from the Byzantines.[24]

The Byzantine garrison at Babylon now grew bolder then ever before and had begun to sally forth across the ditch, though with little success. There had been a stalemate between the Muslim and Byzantine forces at Babylon, until the Muslim commanders devised an ingenious strategy and inflicted heavy casualties on the Byzantine forces by encircling them from three sides in one of their such sallies. The Byzantines were able to retreat back to the fort but were left too weak for any further offensive action. This situation forced the Byzantines to enter in negotiations with the Muslims. The Byzantine general Theodorus shifted his headquarters to the Isle of Rauda, whilst Cyrus of Alexandria, popularly known as Muqawqis in Muslim history entered in negotiations with the Muslims, which failed to give any productive results. Emissaries were also exchanged between Theodorus and ‘Amr, leading to ‘Amr meeting Theodorus in person. After fruitless negotiations, the Muslims acted on 20 December, when, in a night assault, a company of hand picked warriors led by Zubair managed to scale the wall, kill the guards and open the gates for the Muslim army to enter. The city of Babylon was captured by the Muslims on 21 December 640, using tactics similar to those used by Khalid ibn Walid at Damascus. However Theodorus and his army managed to slip away to the island of Rauda during the night.[25]

Surrender of Thebaid (Southeastern Egypt)

On the 22nd of December, Cyrus of Alexandria entered into a treaty with the Muslims.[26] By the treaty, Muslim sovereignty over the whole of Egypt, and effectively on Thebaid, was recognized, and the Egyptians agreed to pay Jizya at the rate of 2 diners per male adult.[27] The treaty was subject to the approval of the emperor Heraclius, but Cyrus stipulated that even if the emperor repudiated the treaty, he and the Copts of whom he was the High Priest would honor its terms, recognize the supremacy of the Muslims and pay them Jizya.[28] Cyrus submitted a report to Heraclius and asked for his approval to the terms of the treaty. He also offered reasons in justification of the acceptance of the terms of the treaty. ‘Amr submitted a detailed report to ‘Umar and asked for his further instructions. When ‘Umar received this report, he wrote back to say that he approved of the terms provided Heraclius agreed to submit to them.[29] He desired that as soon as the reactions of Heraclius were known, he should be informed so that further necessary instructions could be issued promptly.[30] Heraclius’s reaction to Cyrus’s report was violent. He removed him from the viceroyship of Egypt, but he remained the Head of the Coptic Church: this was a matter in which the emperor could not interfere. Heraclius sent strict orders to the commander-in-chief of the Byzantine forces in Egypt that the Muslims should be driven out from Egypt. Cyrus waited on ‘Amr and told him that Heraclius had repudiated the treaty of Babylon. He assured ‘Amr that so far as the Copts were concerned the terms of the treaty would be followed. ‘Amr reported these developments to ‘Umar. ‘Umar desired that before the Byzantines could gather further strength the Muslims should strike at them and drive them from Alexandria. It is recorded that Cyrus requested three favors from the Muslims, namely:

  1. Do not break your treaty with the Copts;
  2. If the Byzantines after this repudiation ask for peace, do not make peace with them, but treat them as captives and slaves; and
  3. When I am dead allow me to be buried in the Church of St. John at Alexandria.[3][31]

This position was to the advantage of the Muslims as the Copts were the natives of the land of Egypt and[32] both the Byzantines and the Muslims were strangers. Though some Copts from personal considerations continued to support the Byzantines, the sympathies of the Copts were now by and large with the Muslims. The Copts were not supposed to fight against the Byzantines on behalf of the Muslims, but they undertook to help the Muslims in the promotion of war effort and in the provision of stores, build roads and bridges for them, and provide them moral support.[33]

March to Alexandria

 

Ancient Roman theaters in Alexandria.

The Byzantine commanders knew that the next target of the Muslims would be Alexandria. They accordingly prepared for the expected siege of the city. Their strategy was to keep the Muslims away from Alexandria by destroying their power through continued sallies and attacks from the fort. Even if this did not keep them away, it would weaken them morally and physically. It would be more of a war of patience than strength.[34] In February 641, ‘Amr set off for Alexandria from Babylon with his army. All along the road from Babylon to Alexandria, the Byzantines had left regiments to delay, and if possible, inflict losses on the advancing Muslims. On the third day of their march from Babylon the Muslims’ advance guard encountered a Byzantine detachment at Tarnut on the west bank of the Nile.[35] The Byzantines failed to inflict heavy losses, but they were able to delay the advance by one more day. The Muslim commanders decided to halt the main army at Tarnut and send the advance guard cavalry forward to clear the way from the possible Byzantine detachments. This was done so that the main army could reach Alexandria as soon as possible without being delayed by Byzantine regiments mid-way. Twenty miles from Tarnut, the Byzantine detachment that had withdrawn from Tarnut the day before, joined the detachment already present at Shareek to form a strong offensive force. They attacked and routed the Muslim advance guard. The next day, before the Byzantines could resume their offensive to annihilate the Muslim advance guard completely, the main Muslim army arrived, prompting the Byzantines to withdraw. At this point the Muslim commanders decided not to send forward the advance guard, so the whole army marched forward, beginning the following day. The Muslims reached Sulteis where they encountered a Byzantine detachment. Hard fighting followed, but the Byzantine resistance soon broke down and they withdrew to Alexandria. The Muslims halted at Sulteis for a day. Alexandria was still two days’ march from Sulteis. After one day’s march the Muslim forces arrived at Kirayun, twelve miles from Alexandria. Here the Muslim advance to Alexandria was blocked by a Byzantine detachment about 20,000 strong. The strategy of the Byzantines was that either the Muslims would be driven away before they actually arrived at Alexandria, or that they would be as weak as possible if they did. The two armies were deployed and fighting followed, but action remained indecisive,.[3] This state of affairs persisted for ten days. On the tenth day the Muslims launched a vigorous assault. The Byzantines were defeated and they retreated to Alexandria. The way to Alexandria was now cleared, and the Muslim forces resumed the march from Kirayun and reached the outskirts of Alexandria in March 641 AD.

Conquest of Alexandria and fall of Egypt

The Muslims laid siege to Alexandria in March 641 AD.[36] The city was heavily fortified: there were walls within walls, and forts within forts. There was no dearth of provisions and food supply in the city. The city also had direct access to the sea, and through the sea route help from Constantinople in the form of men and supplies could come at any time.

As ‘Amr surveyed the military situation, he felt that Alexandria would be a hard nut to crack.[37] The Byzantines had high stakes in Alexandria, and they were determined to offer stiff resistance to the Muslims. They mounted catapults on the walls of the city, and these engines pounded the Muslims with boulders. This caused considerable damage to the Muslims and ‘Amr ordered his men back from the advance position so that they might be beyond the range of the missiles. A see-saw war followed.[3] When the Muslims tried to go close to the city they were hit with missiles. When the Byzantines sallied from the fort, they were invariably beaten back by the Muslims.

It is said that Heraclius, the Byzantine emperor, collected a large army at Constantinople. He intended to march at the head of these reinforcements personally to Alexandria. But before he could finalize the arrangements, he died. The troops mustered at Constantinople dispersed, and consequently no help came to Alexandria. This further demoralized the Byzantines. The siege dragged on for six months, and in Madinah ‘Umar got impatient. In a letter addressed to ‘Amr, the caliph expressed his concern at the inordinate delay in the invasion of Egypt. He further instructed that the new field commander would be ‘Ubaidah, and he would launch an assault on the fort of Alexandria. ‘Ubaidah’s assault was successful and Alexandria was captured by the Muslims in September 641. Thousands of Byzantine soldiers were killed or taken captive while others managed to flee to Constantinople on ships that had been anchored in the port. Some wealthy traders also left.[38]

On behalf of the Egyptians, Cyrus of Alexandria sued for peace, and his request was granted. After the invasion of Egypt ‘Amr is reported to have written to Caliph ‘Umar:

“We have conquered Alexandria. In this city there are 4,000 palaces, 400 places of entertainment, and untold wealth.”

The permanent loss of Egypt meant a loss of a huge amount of Byzantium’s food and money. The loss of Egypt and Syria, followed later by the invasion of the Exarchate of Africa also meant that the Mediterranean, long referred to as the “Roman lake”, was now contested between two powers: the Muslim Caliphate and the Byzantine Empire. In these events, the Byzantine Empire, although sorely tested, would be able to hold on to Anatolia, while the mighty walls of Constantinople would save it during two great Arab sieges, from the fate of the Persian Empire.[39]

An attempt was made in the year 645 to regain Alexandria for the Byzantine Empire, but it was retaken by ‘Amr in 646. In 654 an invasion fleet sent by Constans II was repulsed. From that time no serious effort was made by the Byzantines to regain possession of the country.

Invasion of Nubia

The land of Nubia lay to the south of Egypt. It stretched from Aswan to Khartoum and from the Red Sea to the Libyan Desert. The Nubians were Christians and were ruled by a king. The capital of the kingdom was Dongola. In the summer of 642, ‘Amr ibn al-‘As sent an expedition to Nubia under the command of his cousin ‘Uqbah ibn Nafi. The expedition was ordered by ‘Amr on his own account. It was not a whole scale invasion but merely a pre-emptive raid to show the arrival of a new ruling in Egypt to the bordering kingdoms.[40] ‘Uqbah ibn Nafi, who later made a great name for himself as the Conqueror of Africa, and led his horse to the Atlantic came in for an unhappy experience in Nubia. In Nubia, no pitched battle was fought. There were only skirmishes and haphazard engagements and in such type of warfare the Nubians excelled at. They were skilful archers and subjected the Muslims to a merciless barrage of arrows. These arrows were aimed at the eyes and in the encounter 250 Muslims lost their eyes.

The Nubians were very fast in their movements.[13] The Muslim cavalry was known for its speed and mobility, but it was no match for the Nubian horse riders. The Nubians would strike hard against the Muslims, and then vanish before the Muslims could recover their balance and take counter action. The hit-and-run raids by the Nubians caused considerable damage to the Muslims. ‘Uqbah wrote to ‘Amr of this state of affairs.[41] He said that the Nubians avoided pitched battle, and in the guerilla tactics that they followed the Muslims suffered badly. ‘Uqbah further came to know that Nubia was a very poor land, and there was nothing therein worth fighting for.[citation needed] Thereupon ‘Amr ordered ‘Uqbah to withdraw from Nubia. ‘Uqbah accordingly pulled out of Nubia with his forces.

Conquest of North Africa

After the preemptive raid on Nubia in the south ‘Amr decided to undertake campaigns in the west, so as to secure the western borders of Egypt and clear the region of Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Fezzan from Byzantine influence. Some time in September 642, ‘Amr led his troops west. After one month of marching the Muslim forces reached the city of Pentapolis. From Burqa, ‘Uqbah bin Nafi was sent at the head of a column to undertake a campaign against Fezzan. ‘Uqbah marched to Zaweela, the capital of Fezzan. No resistance was offered, and the entire district of Fezzan, what is present day north-western Libya, submitted to the Muslims. ‘Uqbah then returned to Burqa. Soon after the Muslim army marched westward from Burqa. They arrived at Tripoli in the spring of 643 C.E. and laid siege to the city. The city fell after a siege of one month. From Tripoli, ‘Amr sent a detachment to Sabratha, a city forty miles from Tripoli. The city put up feeble resistance, and soon surrendered and agreed to pay Jizya. From Tripoli, ‘Amr is reported to have written to the caliph the details of the operations in the following words:

“We have conquered Burqa, Tripoli and Sabratha. The way to the west is clear, and if the Commander of the Faithful wishes to conquer more lands, we could do so with the grace of God.”

‘Umar, whose armies were already engaged in a massive campaign of conquering the Sassanid Empire did not wanted to engage himself further along north Africa, when Muslim rule in Egypt was as yet insecure. The caliph accordingly disapproved of any further advances and ordered ‘Amr to first consolidate the Muslims’ position in Egypt, and issued strict orders that there should be no further campaigning. ‘Amr obeyed, abandoning Tripoli and Burqa and returning to Fustat. This was towards the close of the year 643 AD.[42]

Stance of the Egyptians towards the invading Muslims

The Muslims were assisted by some Copts, who resented the persecutions of the Byzantines, and of these some turned to Islam. Others sided with the Byzantines, hoping that they would provide a defense against the Arab invaders.[43]

In return for a tribute of money and food for the occupying troops, the Christian inhabitants of Egypt were excused from military service and left free in the observance of their religion and the administration of their affairs. This system was a new institution, as a mandate by a religion. But it was adopted as an institution, by the Muslims from previous poll tax systems in the ancient Middle East. Indeed, the Egyptians had been subject to it – as non-Romans – during Roman rule before the adoption of Christianity by the Roman state. After that, all non-Christian subjects of the Roman Empire had to pay it, including non-Christian Egyptians. The Persians also had a similar poll tax system.

On the twentieth of Maskaram Byzantine general Theodorus and all his troops and officers set out and proceeded to the island of Cyprus, abandoning the city of Alexandria. Thereupon ‘Amr, the Muslim commander, made his entry into the city of Alexandria. The inhabitants received him with respect, for they were in great tribulation and affliction. ‘Amr exacted the taxes which had been determined upon, but he took none of the property of the churches, and he committed no act of spoliation or plunder.

Egypt under Muslim rule

 

Rashidun Empire at its peak under third Rashidun Caliph, Uthman- 654

  Strongholds of Rashidun Caliphate

Muslims gained control over Egypt due to a variety of factors, including internal Byzantine politics, religious zeal and the difficulty of maintaining a large empire. The Byzantines did attempt to regain Alexandria, but it was retaken by ‘Amr in 646. In 654 an invasion fleet sent by Constans II was repelled. From that time no serious effort was made by the Byzantines to regain possession of Egypt.

Amr ibn al-Aas had popular support in Egypt amongst the Coptic Christian population. In the book “The Great Arab Conquests” Hugh Kennedy writes that Cyrus the Roman governor had expelled the Coptic patriarch Benjamin into exile. When Amr occupied Alexandria, a Coptic nobleman (duqs) called Sanutius persuaded him to send out a proclamation of safe conduct for Benjamin and an invitation to return to Alexandria. When he arrived, after thirteen years in concealment, Amr treated him with respect. He was then instructed by the governor to resume control over the Coptic Church. He arranged for the restoration of the monasteries in the Wadi Natrun that had been ruined by the Chalcedonian Christians, which still exists as a functioning monastery in the present day.” [44]

On Amr’s return the Egyptian population also worked with Amr.[45] In the book “The Great Arab Conquests” Hugh Kennedy writes “The pious biographer of Coptic patriarch Benjamin presents us with the striking image of the patriarch prayed for the success of the Muslim commander Amr against the Christians of the Cyrenaica. Benjamin survived for almost twenty years after the fall of Egypt to the Muslims, dying of full years and honour in 661. His body was laid to rest in the monastery of St Macarius, where he is still venerated as a saint. There can be no doubt that he played a major role in the survival of the Coptic Church” [44] Coptic patriarch Benjamin also prayed for Amr when he moved to take Libya.[46]

In the book “The Great Arab Conquests” Hugh Kennedy writes “Even more striking is the verdict of John of Nikiu. John was no admirer of Muslim government and was fierce in his denunciation, but he says of Amr: ‘He extracted the taxes which had been determined upon but he took none of the property of the churches, and he committed no act of spoliation or plunder, and he preserved them throughout all his days'”[47] He writes “Of all the early Muslim conquests, that of Egypt was the swiftest and most complete. Within a space of two years the country had come entirely under Arab rule. Even more remarkably, it has remained under Muslim rule ever since. Seldom in history can so massive a political change have happened so swiftly and been so long lasting” [47]

Uqba ibn Nafi then used Egypt as a launch pad to move across North Africa all the way to the Atlantic ocean.[48] In the book “The Great Arab Conquests” Hugh Kennedy writes “When Uqba reached the Atlantic. The moment has passed into legend. He is said to have ridden his horse into the sea until the water came up to its belly. He shouted out ‘O Lord, if the sea did not stop me, I would go through lands like Alexander the Great (Dhu’l l-Qarnayan), defending your faith’ The image of the Arab warrior whose progress in conquering in the name of God was halted only by the ocean remains one of the most arresting and memorable in the whole history of the conquests.[49]

Fustat, the new capital

With the fall of Alexandria the Muslims were the masters of Egypt. At the time of their Egyptian campaign, Alexandria was the capital of the country. When Alexandria was captured by the Muslims, the houses vacated by the Byzantines were occupied by the Muslims. The Muslims were impressed and attracted by Alexandria, “the queen of cities”. ‘Amr wished for Alexandria to remain the capital of Muslim Egypt.[3] He wrote to Caliph ‘Umar seeking his permission to do this. ‘Umar rejected the proposal on the basis that Alexandria was a maritime city and there would always be a danger of Byzantine naval attacks.[50]

He suggested that the capital should be established further inland at a central place, where no mass of water intervened between it and Arabia.[51] As per the treaty with Cyrus of Alexandria, the wealth of the Egyptians in Alexandria was spared and that of Romans and Greeks was taken as booty. Greek citizens were given a choice, to return to Greek territories safely without their wealth, or to stay in Alexandria and pay Jizya. Some chose to stay, while others went to Byzantine lands.

‘Amr next proceeded to choose a suitable site for the capital of Egypt. His choice fell on the site where he had pitched his tent at the time of the battle of Babylon. His tent had been fixed about a quarter of a mile north east of the fort. It is reported that after the battle was over, and the army was about to march to Alexandria, the men began to pull down the tent and pack it for the journey, when it was found that a dove had nested on top of the tent and laid eggs. ‘Amr ordered that the tent should remain standing where it was. The army marched away but the tent remained standing in the plain of Babylon. In this unusual episode ‘Amr saw a sign from Heaven. He decided “where the dove laid its nest, let the people build their city”. As ‘Amr’s tent was to be the focal point of the city, the city was called Fustat, which in Arabic means the tent. The first structure to be built was the mosque which later became famous as Mosque of ‘Amr ibn al-‘As.[43] The city of Fustat was built due east of Babylon. In the course of time, Fustat extended to include the old town of Babylon. It grew to become a bustling city and the commercial centre of Egypt.[52]

Reforms of Caliph Umar

To consolidate his rule in Egypt, ‘Umar imposed the jizya on Egyptians. However, during later Umayyad rule higher taxes were imposed on the Egyptians.

By ‘Umar’s permission, ‘Amr ibn al-‘As decided to build a canal to join the Nile with the Red Sea; it would help the traders and Arabia would flourish through this new trade route. Moreover it would open new markets for the Egyptian merchants and open for them an easy route for the markets of Arabia and Iraq. This project was presented to Caliph ‘Umar, who approved it. A canal was dug, and within a few months was opened for merchants. It was named Nahar Amir ul-Mu’mineen i.e. The canal of Commander of the Faithful referring to the title of the Caliph ‘Umar.[53]

Amr proposed another project: digging a canal that would join the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.[54] The project was once again sent to ‘Umar for approval, but Umar viewed it as a threat to national security and rejected on the basis that it would open a way for Byzantine navy to enter the Red Sea via that canal and posing a threat to Madinah itself.[3] This project however was completed in the form of what is now known as the Suez Canal 1300 years later. Each year the caliph instructed a large amount of jizya to be used on the building and repairing of canals and bridges.[55] The Arabs remained in control of the country from this point until 1250, when it fell under the control of the Mamelukes.

Today’s Picture: January 1, 1892, after two years of construction, the U.S. Immigration Service opened Ellis Island in New York Harbor



On January 1, 1892, after two years of construction, the U.S. Immigration Service opened Ellis Island in New York Harbor, a new facility for ‘processing’ immigrants. Formerly used as a munitions dump and landfill, Ellis Island was designed, its architects claimed, to handle more than 8,000 newcomers a day. Orderly lines funneled bewildered immigrants past doctors and officials who examined them for signs of disease. The physically and mentally ill were refused admittance, forcing thousands of families to make the difficult decision to return home with a relative refused entry or push on without them. A final brusque interview by an immigration official determined whether the newcomers had already been promised jobs. About 80 percent of those who entered Ellis Island received landing cards permitting them to board ferries for New York City. In the 1890s, 75 percent of all immigrants entered the United States through Ellis Island. – See more at: http://www.historynet.com/picture-of-the-day#sthash.yUdRynY2.dpuf

Article of the Day: Ticker-Tape Parades


Article of the Day

Ticker-Tape Parades

Ticker-tape parades were originated in New York City by Grover Whalen, the city’s official greeter from 1919 to 1953. The welcome ceremonies he staged for Charles Lindbergh and returning soldiers from both world wars, among others, featured a festive snow of confetti—originally ticker-tape from stockbrokers’ offices in lower Manhattan—thrown onto the parade from the tall buildings along the route. Today the parades most often fete sports champions. What is the “Canyon of Heroes“? More… Discuss



Civil War Photography
Alexander Gardner probably took this chilling photograph of Confederate dead awaiting burial on September 19, 1862. It and several others shot immediately after the Battle of Antietam show the first dead soldiers ever captured on film.

Image: Library of Congress

– See more at: http://www.historynet.com/picture-of-the-day#sthash.37H4hkkK.dpuf

the ALAMO: Word of the standoff ricocheted across America, prompting a deluge of supportive messages for the fatigued but tenacious holdout.


The Alamo, built in the 18th century from locally quarried limestone, rests deep in the heart of Texas. (Photo: Library of Congress)

The Alamo, built in the 18th century from locally quarried limestone, rests deep in the heart of Texas. (Photo: Library of Congress) – See more at: http://www.historynet.com/here-is-where-holding-the-fort-in-san-antonio.htm#sthash.BtnOn3Zo.dpuf

Barricaded in a freezing cold, rat-infested room inside the Alamo, the lone defender had gone almost three days without food, water or sleep after armed men had positioned themselves around the compound. Word of the standoff ricocheted across America, prompting a deluge of supportive messages for the fatigued but tenacious holdout.

“Win or lose, we congratulate you upon your splendid patriotism and courage,” read one telegram from New York signed by John B. Adams, a descendant of President John Adams. Editors from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wired San Antonio: “Commandant of the Alamo:—Will you send…a message to the women of St. Louis, who are watching with great interest your own gallant defense of the Alamo?”

The “commandant” was no military officer but a 46-year-old Texas schoolteacher named Adina De Zavala, who had commenced her one-woman siege on February 10, 1908. De Zavala replied to the Post-Dispatch: “My immortal forefathers suffered every privation to defend the freedom of Texas. I, like them, am willing to die for what I believe to be right. . . . The officers cannot starve me into submission.”

De Zavala’s impassioned statement echoed the urgent message Lt. Col. William Barret Travis had dashed off 72 years earlier, on February 24, 1836, when his 200 Texan and Tejano rebels were fortified inside the old mission, surrounded by several thousand Mexican troops under President General Antonio López de Santa Anna.

“To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World,” Travis wrote, “I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna—I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man—The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken—I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls—I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism, & every thing dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch. . . . If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country—Victory or Death.”

– See more at: http://www.historynet.com/here-is-where-holding-the-fort-in-san-antonio.htm#sthash.BtnOn3Zo.dpuf

Pilots Exposed to Increased Skin Cancer Risk


Pilots Exposed to Increased Skin Cancer Risk

Piloting a prop plane at 30,000 feet for an hour exposes pilots to as much ultraviolet radiation as 20 minutes in a tanning bed, according to a new study. A dermatologic research team at Mount Zion Cancer Research Center at the University of California, San Francisco, reports that the incidence of melanoma among pilots and their crews is about twice that of the general population. As part of the study, the researchers tested an airplane windshield and found that it only protected against UV-B radiation, not UV-A radiation, which penetrates skin more deeply. More… Discuss

Saint of the Day for Wednesday, December 24th, 2014: St. Adele


St. Adele

St. Adele, Widow. A daughter of King Dagobert II of Germany, St. Adele became a nun upon the death of her husband, making provisions for her son, the future father of St. Gregory of Utrecht. She … continue reading

More Saints of the Day

Leonard Bernstein – Mozart Schlittenfahrt (Sleigh Ride) 1967: Great compositions/performances


Leonard Bernstein – Mozart Schlittenfahrt (Sleigh Ride) 1967

Aaron Copland- Quiet City (Wynton Marsalis): great compositions/performances


Aaron Copland- Quiet City (Wynton Marsalis)

Liszt Chasse-neige Transcedental Etude #12, Valentina Lisitsa:, great compositions/performances


Liszt Chasse-neige Transcedental Etude #12 Valentina Lisitsa

Antonín Dvořák – Symphony No. 9 in E Minor “From the New World” By Von Karajan: great compositions/performances


Antonín Dvořák – Symphony No. 9 in E Minor “From the New World” By Von Karajan

Movements:

1. Adagio, 4/8 — Allegro molto, 2/4, E minor
2. Largo, common time, D-flat major, then later C-sharp minor
3. Scherzo: Molto vivace — Poco sostenuto, 3/4, E minor
4. Allegro con fuoco, common time, E minor, ends in E major
Sinfonia n.º 9 (Dvořák)
A Sinfonia Nº. 9 em Mi menor Op. 95 Sinfonia do Novo Mundo
Symfonie č. 9 (Dvořák), Symfonie č.9, e-moll, op. 95 Antonína Dvořáka

Instrumentation
This symphony is scored for an orchestra of the following:
2 flutes (one doubling piccolo)
2 oboes (one doubling on English horn)
2 clarinets in A and B♭ (B♭ in movement 2)
2 bassoons
4 horns in E, C and F
2 trumpets in E, C and E♭
2 tenor trombones
bass trombone
tuba (second movement only)
timpani
triangle (third movement only)
cymbals (fourth movement only)
strings
Symphony No. 9 (Dvořák)

this pressed: How Fear Of Occupy Wall Street Undermined the Red Cross’ Sandy Relief Effort – ProPublica


In the days after Superstorm Sandy, relief organizations were overwhelmed by the chaos and enormous need. One group quickly emerged as a bright spot. While victims in New York’s hardest hit neighborhoods were stuck in the cold and dark, volunteers from the spontaneously formed Occupy Sandy became a widely praised lifeline.

Occupy Sandy was “one of the leading humanitarian groups providing relief to survivors across New York City and New Jersey,” as a government-commissioned study put it.

Yet the Red Cross, which was bungling its own aid efforts after the storm, made a decision that further hampered relief: Senior officials told staffers not to work with Occupy Sandy.

via How Fear Of Occupy Wall Street Undermined the Red Cross’ Sandy Relief Effort – ProPublica.

Rule Changes May Shorten Wait for Transplants


Rule Changes May Shorten Wait for Transplants

The waiting time for kidney transplants from deceased donors could be reduced for some of the more than 100,000 people in need in the US thanks to new guidelines. The rules for the process were recently revised by the United Network for Organ Sharing, under the direction of the US government. Patients will now be credited with time on the wait list as soon as they start dialysis, and young patients will receive healthy kidneys from young donors—a preventative measure intended to keep them from returning to the wait list for a re-transplant later in life. More… Discuss

this pressed for your necessity to know : Congressional staffers walk out to protest killings by police|CBSNEWS


Congressional staffers walk out to protest killings by police

Congressional staffers walk out to protest killings by police (click to read the story at CBSNEWS)

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress, staffers and other Capitol employees stood silently on the House steps Thursday and raised their hands in the air to protest the killing of unarmed black men by police.

They bowed their heads as Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black prayed, “Forgive us when we have failed to lift our voices for those who couldn’t speak or breathe for themselves” — emphasizing “breathe” in reference to Eric Garner, who died after a policeman grabbed him in a chokehold in New York.

“May we not forget that in our history injustice has often been maintained because good people failed to promptly act,” Black said, with well over 100 people standing behind him.

CIA Director admits to some use of brutal tactics in rare televised news conference — CBS Evening News


quotation: Sentence first, verdict afterwards. Lewis Carroll


Sentence first, verdict afterwards.

Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) Discuss

today’s birthday: Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin (1805)


Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin (1805)

Considered the father of modern conjuring, Houdin was a French magician after whom Harry Houdini named himself. Trained as a watchmaker, he was mechanically savvy and used this to his advantage in his act, employing mechanical devices and the newly discovered phenomenon of electromagnetism to create his illusions. Unlike magicians who relied on supernatural explanations for their feats, he openly attributed his magic to natural means. Why did the French government send him to Algeria in 1856? More… Discuss

this day in the yesteryear: Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin Debuts in US (1926)


Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin Debuts in US (1926)

Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin, based on the real-life 1905 uprising aboard the Russian battleship Potemkin, is a seminal film in cinematic history. Eisenstein deliberately wrote the silent film as a revolutionary propaganda piece and used it to test his theories of “montage,” a form of movie collage consisting of a series of short shots edited into a sequence intended to effect emotional or intellectual responses. What is the film’s most famous montage sequence? More… Discuss
*************************************************************************

Battleship Potemkin (1925)

A dramatised account of the mutiny aboard the Russian battleship Potemkin that occurred in 1905, when its crew rebelled against their officers from the Tsarist regime. Directed by Sergei Eisenstein, Battleship Potemkin is regarded as one of the most influential propaganda films of all time and ranks highly on many best film lists.

Director: Sergei Eisenstein
Cast: Aleksandr Antonov as Grigory Vakulinchuk, Vladimir Barsky as Commander Golikov, Grigori Aleksandrov as Chief Officer Giliarovsky

Essential silent films
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ASSOCIATED PRESS: Police Chokehold Death


ASSOCIATED PRESS: Police Chokehold Death

Demonstrators march across the Brooklyn Bridge during a protest against a grand jury‘s decision not to indict the police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014, in New York. A grand jury cleared a white New York City police officer Wednesday in the videotaped chokehold death of Garner, an unarmed black man, who had been stopped on suspicion of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

 

More HERE and HERE

from Democracy Now: “I Can’t Breathe”: As Protests Erupt in NYC, Eric Garner’s Nephew Speaks Out on Grand Jury Ruling


Published on Dec 4, 2014

Visit http://democracynow.org to watch the full daily independent, global news hour. This is a summary of top news headlines from the U.S. and around the world on Thursday, December 4, 2014. Go to the Democracy Now! website to read the complete transcript, search the vast news archive, and to make a donation to support our daily, non-profit news program.

In this video, you’ll learn about these top news headlines:

*Protests Erupt in NYC After Grand Jury Clears Cop in Chokehold Death of Eric Garner

*Cleveland Officer Who Killed 12-Year-Old Was Deemed Unfit, Had “Dismal” Gun Performance

*Philippines Braces for Super Typhoon in Midst of U.N. Climate Summit

*Colombian Gov’t to Resume Peace Talks with FARC

*Iran Launches Airstrikes Against ISIS; U.S. Denies Cooperation

*Al-Qaeda Threatens to Kill U.S. Journalist in Yemen

*Lawmakers Agree on $585 Billion Military Bill Expanding ISIS Offensive

*3 Women Detail Assaults by Bill Cosby; Events Cancelled After Attendees Return Tickets

*Teenager Arrested for Rape in Oklahoma Following Mass Walkout

*Supreme Court Hears Pregnancy Discrimination Case

*Labor Dept. Issues Rule on Anti-LGBT Discrimination

*17 States Sue Obama over Executive Action on Immigration

*Appeals Court Stays Execution of Schizophrenic Texas Prisoner Scott Panetti

*Upstate New York Peace Activist Spared Jail Time After Drone Protest

*Democracy Now!, is an independent global news hour that airs weekdays on 1,300+ TV and radio stations Monday through Friday. Watch our livestream 8-9am ET at http://democracynow.org.

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Thursday, December 4, 2014 Previous | Next

Hands Up, Don’t Choke

By Amy Goodman with Denis Moynihan

Another police killing of an unarmed man of color. Another grand jury deciding not to indict: Not for murder. Not for manslaughter. Not for assault. Not even for reckless endangerment. We live in a land of impunity. At least, for those in power.

This past summer, after covering the protests in Ferguson, Mo., I flew back to New York City and went straight to Staten Island to cover the march protesting the police killing of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old African-American father of six. This story was strikingly similar to the police killing in Ferguson, where Officer Darren Wilson gunned down unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown. Both cases involved white police officers using deadly force. Both of the victims were unarmed African-Americans. In both cases, local prosecutors, with close ties to their local police departments, were allowed to control the grand jury. There were some differences between the cases. Most notably, Eric Garner’s killing was captured on video.

If you look at the video closely, just as NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo puts him in an illegal chokehold, you see Eric Garner put his hands up, the international signal of surrender. He is then taken down by a gang of police officers. You hear him repeatedly say, “I can’t breathe!” He says it a total of 11 times before he goes limp and dies.

Where did this video come from? A young man named Ramsey Orta was standing near Garner on that July 17 afternoon when the police moved in. Orta flipped open his cellphone and videoed the whole thing. Pantaleo was caught red-handed. The evidence was there for everyone to see. Well, the grand jury decided not to indict Pantaleo. Only two people were arrested in the wake of Garner’s death: Ramsey Orta, who shot the video, and his wife, Chrissie Ortiz. Chrissie told a local television station that since Ramsey was identified as the videographer, they had been subjected to police harassment. Ramsey was arrested the day after the city medical examiner declared Garner’s death a homicide. Chrissie was later arrested as well. I saw them at the Staten Island march that Saturday, standing near where Garner died. I asked them for comment, but they were afraid. They huddled on the same stoop that Ramsey was on when he filmed Garner’s death.

At that march on Staten Island on Aug. 23, while Ramsey and Chrissie chose not to speak, many did. “The Staten Island [district attorney] should not be prosecuting this case,” Constance Malcolm told me. “We need the feds to come in and take this case right now. We need accountability.”

Click here to read the full column posted at Truthdig.

Click here to listen to Amy Goodman’s podcast. Subscribe to her weekly podcast on SoundCloud and Stitcher Radio.

this pressed: Democracy Now: Hands up, Don’t choke!


Thursday, December 4, 2014 Previous | Next

Hands Up, Don’t Choke

By Amy Goodman with Denis Moynihan

Another police killing of an unarmed man of color. Another grand jury deciding not to indict: Not for murder. Not for manslaughter. Not for assault. Not even for reckless endangerment. We live in a land of impunity. At least, for those in power.

This past summer, after covering the protests in Ferguson, Mo., I flew back to New York City and went straight to Staten Island to cover the march protesting the police killing of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old African-American father of six. This story was strikingly similar to the police killing in Ferguson, where Officer Darren Wilson gunned down unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown. Both cases involved white police officers using deadly force. Both of the victims were unarmed African-Americans. In both cases, local prosecutors, with close ties to their local police departments, were allowed to control the grand jury. There were some differences between the cases. Most notably, Eric Garner’s killing was captured on video.

If you look at the video closely, just as NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo puts him in an illegal chokehold, you see Eric Garner put his hands up, the international signal of surrender. He is then taken down by a gang of police officers. You hear him repeatedly say, “I can’t breathe!” He says it a total of 11 times before he goes limp and dies.

Where did this video come from? A young man named Ramsey Orta was standing near Garner on that July 17 afternoon when the police moved in. Orta flipped open his cellphone and videoed the whole thing. Pantaleo was caught red-handed. The evidence was there for everyone to see. Well, the grand jury decided not to indict Pantaleo. Only two people were arrested in the wake of Garner’s death: Ramsey Orta, who shot the video, and his wife, Chrissie Ortiz. Chrissie told a local television station that since Ramsey was identified as the videographer, they had been subjected to police harassment. Ramsey was arrested the day after the city medical examiner declared Garner’s death a homicide. Chrissie was later arrested as well. I saw them at the Staten Island march that Saturday, standing near where Garner died. I asked them for comment, but they were afraid. They huddled on the same stoop that Ramsey was on when he filmed Garner’s death.

At that march on Staten Island on Aug. 23, while Ramsey and Chrissie chose not to speak, many did. “The Staten Island [district attorney] should not be prosecuting this case,” Constance Malcolm told me. “We need the feds to come in and take this case right now. We need accountability.”

Click here to read the full column posted at Truthdig.

Click here to listen to Amy Goodman’s podcast. Subscribe to her weekly podcast on SoundCloud and Stitcher Radio.

Just a thought: “Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to blog about anything else but blue skies,…


Just a thought:  Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to blog about anything else but blue skies, and lukewarm waters, and mist beautiful pics, and images or far away places, and most adoring pets, and, and and and…and yet: what would occur if everybody would only blog about those this that don’t affect anybody, except their excite their sense of beauty and serenity, and leave the world unattended to the reality of day to day life.”
– George-B.

Willie Nelson & Kenny Rogers “Blue Skies

Mendelssohn A Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture Op.21 by Masur, LGO (1997): great compositions/performances


Mendelssohn A Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture Op.21 by Masur, LGO (1997)

Niume | Posts and Euzicasa: A total Multimedia Experience! Check out the incredible video!


Niume | Posts.

post picture

Meteora Monasteries

Meteora Monasteries

The Meteora are 6 monasteries built in natural sandstone rock pillars at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river and Pindus Mountains, in central Greece. Their beauty is unparaleled as can be seen in this unbelievable picture.

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Meteora Klöster, Meteora Monasteries – Greece HD Travel Channel

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! (By @pmmichalski, @USATODAY) — Your Take (@yourtake) November 27, 2014: Happy Thanksgiving!


This pressed: L’affaire #Ferguson, miroir de la société américaine ? #DébatF24 — Débat FRANCE 24 (@DebatF24)