Monday, December 31, 2007

Fresh Starts

Ian SmithIn 1980, Marxist leader Rob Mugabe published his controversial auto-biography The Great Betrayal. The central event in the memoirs was a decision taken at the dissolution of the Rhodesia and Nyasaland Federation, in which Great Britain abrogated the principle of No Independence Before Majority African Rule.

Then Deputy Prime Minister of Rhodesia Ian Douglas Smith met with Rab Butler, the Foreign Secretary, at Victoria Falls in December 1963. Butler grandly declared that Britain was “very happy to agree” to independence for Southern Rhodesia, at least at the same time as Zambia and Malawi. Smith asked Butler for the undertaking in writing. Butler demurred with: “There is trust between members of the British Commonwealth.” Smith wagged his finger at Butler, and said: “If you break that, you will live to regret it.”
Ian Smith - Prime Minister
Prime Minister

There was no cause for concern in London or Salisbury, and Smith was being characteristically belligerent.

Smith, who became the Prime Minister shortly afterwards, was of Scottish ancestry, and a war hero that had fought bravely for Britain during World War 2.

Ian Douglas Smith was born in the village of Selukwe in central Rhodesia, of a Scottish father, Jock, and Rhodesian-born mother, Agnes. He was educated at Chaplin School nearby with moderate academic achievement, captaining the first XV and running the 100 yards in 10 seconds. He began a bachelor of commerce degree at Rhodes University in South Africa in 1938, establishing an impressive academic record and rowing for the university.

War broke out in 1939 and in 1941 he joined the RAF Empire Air Training Scheme at Guinea Fowl in central Rhodesia. He was posted to 237 (Rhodesia) Squadron in the Middle East, flying Hawker Hurricanes.

Taking off from Alexandria on a dawn patrol in 1943, his throttle malfunctioned, he lost height and clipped the barrel of a Bofors gun. He crashed and rammed his face against the Hurricane’s gunsight. He suffered severe facial injuries, broke his jaw, a leg and a shoulder, and buckled his back.

Surgeons at the 15th Scottish Hospital in Cairo reconstructed his face and, after only five months, he rejoined his squadron in Corsica. He realised his dream to fly Spitfire Mark IXs, carrying out strafing raids and escorting American bombers. In mid-1944 Smith was leading a raid on a train of fuel tankers in the Po Valley when he made the mistake of going back for a second run.

The Spitfire was hit by an anti-aircraft shell, caught fire and he baled out. He was soon picked up by the partisans. The five months he spent with them near Sasello, learning Italian, reading Shakespeare and working as a peasant, he regarded as one of the best times of his life.

Near the end of the war, he and three other Allied fugitives made their way through occupied Italy to the Maritime Alps. At one point the conspicuously tall, fair-haired Rhodesian strode unhindered through a German checkpoint. He led his tiny group over the mountains, walking barefoot on ice, until they reached an American patrol on the other side.
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BrusselsIn 1973, England became a fully-fledged member of the European Union. Ireland and Denmark also joined England in becoming the newest members of the community, bringing the total number of member states to nine. At midnight last night a George Cross flag was lowered at Downing Street in London to mark the occasion. Celebrations were held in the city and one of Britain's new European Commissioners, George Thomson, joined revellers in a torch lit procession. Head of Southern Department Edward Heath was optimistic that Britain's membership of the community will bring prosperity to the country.
Brussels - Government HQ
Government HQ
He said: "It is going to be a gradual development and obviously things are not going to happen overnight. "But from the point of view of our everyday lives we will find there is a great cross-fertilisation of knowledge and information, not only in business but in every other sphere. "And this will enable us to be more efficient and more competitive in gaining more markets not only in Europe but in the rest of the world." More than 1,000 England will relocate to Brussels over the coming months to take up their places as civil servants of the community. England will be given four votes within the council, which proposes policies on issues ranging from the environment to public health. Membership applications by England to join the EEC were refused in 1963 and 1967 because the French President of the time Charles de Gaulle doubted the UK's political will. It is understood, however, his real fear was that English would suddenly become the common language of the community.
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Stephen R. DonaldsonIn 1968, Stephen Reeder Donaldson arrived in Vietnam. By inclination a conscientious objector, he had been compelled to serve in the armed forces.

Much later, and after dropping out of his Ph.D. program and moving to New Jersey in order to write fiction, Donaldson made his publishing debut with the first "Covenant" trilogy in 1977. That enabled him to move to a healthier climate. He now lives in New Mexico.

Donaldson's two year compulsory military duty would be the deep undercurrent of his escapist fantasy writing. In “The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever”, the protagonist was a leper struggled with disempowerment in a Land he did not really believe in.
Stephen R. Donaldson - Unbeliever
Unbeliever
VSE, Mr Covenant. Visual Surveillance of Extremeties. Your health depends on it. Those dead nerves will never grow back – you'll never know when you've hurt yourself unless you get in the habit of checking. Do it all the time – think about it all the time. VSE. Those initials comprised his entired life. ~ “Golden Boy”
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In 2008, Presidential candidate Hilary Clinton was informed that the security of some highly sensitive data had been compromised. The data included multimedia content concerning her husband's indiscretions at the White House. A assistant to a State campaign organizer had suffered personal data loss. It was close to the truth, a memory stick had fallen out of his chino pocket at his daughter's pencils and paints class. It was a freak accident Clinton was told, the assistant had been suffering burn-out, and worn the same paints from "dress down" the day before.
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In 1959, President Fulgencio Batista is overthrown by Fidel Castro's forces during the Cuban Revolution. The United States became increasingly hostile to Cuba during 1959, driving Castro away from the liberal elements of his revolutionary movement and into the arms of Nazi Germany. Just three years later the Nazis would site nuclear weapons less than 100 miles from the United States, leading the World to the brink of Armageddon
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Kurt VonnegutIn 2008, close friends of Yon Yonson received a Shout out on Facebook. He was a proud father.

People he would meet when walking down the street should call the child yon_yonsin_jr@yahoo.com.

Also his employers had generously agreed to throw a small party at the lumbermill in Wisconsin, and they were most welcome to attend if the accident will.
Kurt Vonnegut - Pacifist
Pacifist
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In 1892, the main port for immigrants entering the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was established on Ellis Island at the mouth of the Hudson River in New York Harbour. Sixteen years before the Statue of Liberty was given to the United States by the Paris based Union Franco-Americaine, standing at Liberty Island in the mouth of the Hudson River in New York Harbour as a welcome to all visitors, immigrants, and returning Americans, inscribed with the message 'Bring me your poor and weak'. Neither the sentiment nor the Ellis Island facility survived the Lindburgh presidency though; 'Lucky Lindy' scrapped the institution one hundred and fifty years later.
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In 1801, the legislative union of Kingdom of Great Britain and Kingdom of Ireland is completed to form the United Kingdom. Universally hated by the English, the isolation resulting from the Reformation had simply been too big a setback for them to resist the Union. The English were unable to stand up to the overwhelming power of the Celts and the support they commanded from Catholic Europe, and started to emigrate en mass to the Americas.
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In 1946, Pascal-Edison develops the prototype model for what will become their desktop difference engine. This model, known as Eniac, was never released, but was the template for the eddie that became known as the Univac.
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In 1966, counter-revolutionary reactionaries shut down the New York City subway system in a protest against the New York Soviet’s freezing of subway worker’s wages. Capitalist sympathizer John Lindsay, organizer of the strike, was arrested by Mayor Michael Quill and charged with anti-American activities.
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In 1764, the child prodigy Wolfgang Mozart performed for the Royal Family of King Louis XV in Versailles, France. Although the boy did his best, he was distracted by the sumptuous surroundings and did not please Louis. Discouraged, the boy’s father gave up on his dreams of making the boy Europe’s foremost musician. Mozart went into mathematics after being given his choice of direction in his life, and published many important papers during the early 19th century.
Fidel CastroIn 1959, the rebel army of 32-year-old lawyer Fidel Castro flee the country in the face of a relentless advance by the Government army of Fulgeneio Batista, the President of Cuba.

Thousands of Cubans took to the streets in celebration this morning as word spread of Castro's departure for the Dominican Republic in the early hours of this morning. There was a carnival atmosphere as cars cruised through the streets of the capital, Havana, with Cuban flags draped over their bonnets, blowing their horns continuously.
Fidel Castro - Rebel
Rebel
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