Reclaim Our History Feb. 1-15
Feb. 2, 1779: Anthony Benezet, French-born abolitionist and educator, who formed the first anti-slavery society in North America, refuses to pay revolutionary war taxes. 1905: Birth of Ayn Rand, “ojectivist” libertarian writer. Self-styled defender of the individual against the state and collectivism, she enthusiastically cooperated with HUAC and other McCarthyist government persecutions. Now the hero of Tea Party lunatics. 1931: The first US citizens are “repatriated” as Los Angeles Chicanos are deported to Mexico. As the Depression worsens, public officials across the Southwest decided it was cheaper to send legal residents to Mexico than carry them on welfare rolls. During the decade’s first four years, well over 400,000 Mexican-Americans, many US citizens living here as long as 40 years, were repatriated. Some families, as a result, are split because a father or mother–or both–are considered alien, but US-born children are allowed to stay.
Feb. 3, 1931: The Arkansas state legislature passes motion to pray for the soul of newspaper columnist H. L. Mencken after he calls the state “the apex of moronia.” 1977: After legal secretary Iris Rivera loses job for refusing to make coffee, secretaries across Chicago join in protest.
Feb. 4, 1899: Revolt against US occupation forces begins in the Philippines. The Islands became a US colony as a result of the Spanish-American War, ostensibly fought to free Cuba from foreign control. Explained the president of the Philippine Commission: “We propose to stay there indefinitely in working out this good that we propose to do them.” 1969: Popular Liberation Movement of Angola begins armed struggle against Portugal.
Feb. 5, 1973: Funeral for LC William Nolde, last US soldier killed in Vietnam War. “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” — Current Secretary of State John Kerry, 1971.
Feb. 8, 1988: Withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan announced by USSR.
Feb. 9, 1909: First federal legislation in the United States prohibiting narcotics (opium). 2002: Ten thousand march in Tel Aviv, Israel, against the Sharon government’s increasingly brutal attacks on Palestinian civilians.
Feb. 11, 1955: US agrees to train South Vietnamese troops. The beginning of that big mess. 1982: High Court rules as illegal the Israeli seizure of Arab lands in occupied territories for Jewish “settlers.”
Feb. 12, 1976: Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) proclaims victory over Jonas Savimbi’s thuggish US-supported UNITA forces, winning the Angolan Civil War.
Feb. 13, 1960: France becomes the fourth nuclear power, conducting first nuclear test in Algeria’s Sahara Desert.
Feb. 14, 1997: Last remaining Jahalin Bedoiin families, who had been living in the Abu-Dis area of Palestine for over 40 years, are forcibly removed to make way for new Jewish settlements (illegal under the Oslo accords).
Feb. 15, 1995: Nabla Djanine, president of the Algerian women’s group Cris de Femmes, shot. One of a wave of assassinations of prominent Algerian women by Islamic fundamentalists.