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December 8th 1941: Battle of Hong Kong begins

On this day in 1941, during the Second World War, the Battle of Hong Kong began. The attack on the then British colony of Hong Kong began just hours after the Japanese attacked the American base of Pearl Harbor, marking the beginning of Japan’s quest for domination in Asia. The British government was sceptical of their chances of defending the outpost, but in September 1941 drafted Canadian troops to Hong Kong. The Battle of Hong Kong lasted 17 days, seeing heavy bombardment and fierce fighting, including a massacre at an Allied hostpital. The 12,000 Allied troops - comprising Canadians, Britons, Indians, and locals - were vastly outnumbered by the 50,000 Japanese. Ultimately, over 2,000 Allied troops died trying to defend Hong Kong, and the British governor surrendered on December 25th. The Japanese occupied Hong Kong until August 1945; after the war, the Japanese governor was executed for war crimes. The battle of Hong Kong remains an important moment in Canadian and Commonwealth history, for, despite overwhelming odds and little military training, the Allied forces refused to surrender, and many subsequently endured brutal conditions as prisoners of war.

75 years ago today

Tuesday, 1 August, 1944:

Dearest Kitty,

“A bundle of contradictions” was the end of my previous letter and is the beginning of this one. Can you please tell me exactly what “a bundle of contradictions” is? What does “contradiction” mean? Like so many words, it can be interpreted in two ways: a contradiction imposed from without and one imposed from within.

The former means not accepting other people’s opinions, always knowing best, having the last word; in short, all those unpleasant traits for which I’m known. The latter, for which I’m not known, is my own secret.

As I’ve told you many times, I’m split in two. One side contains my exuberant cheerfulness, my flippancy, my joy in life and, above all, my ability to appreciate the lighter side of things. By that I mean not finding anything wrong with flirtations, a kiss, an embrace, an off-colour joke. This side of me is usually lying in wait to ambush the other one, which is much purer, deeper and finer. No one knows Anne’s better side, and that’s why most people can’t stand me.

Oh, I can be an amusing clown for an afternoon, but after that everyone’s had enough of me to last a month. Actually, I’m what a romantic movie is to a profound thinker – a mere diversion, a comic interlude, something that is soon forgotten: not bad, but not particularly good either.

I hate having to tell you this, but why shouldn’t I admit it when I know it’s true? My lighter, more superficial side will always steal a march on the deeper side and therefore always win. You can’t imagine how often I’ve tried to push away this Anne, which is only half of what is known as Anne-to beat her down, hide her. But it doesn’t work, and I know why.

I’m afraid that people who know me as I usually am will discover I have another side, a better and finer side. I’m afraid they’ll mock me, think I’m ridiculous and sentimental and not take me seriously. I’m used to not being taken seriously, but only the “light-hearted” Anne is used to it and can put up with it; the “deeper” Anne is too weak. If I force the good Anne into the spotlight for even fifteen minutes, she shuts up like a clam the moment she’s called upon to speak, and lets Anne number one do the talking. Before I realize it, she’s disappeared.

So the nice Anne is never seen in company. She’s never made a single appearance, though she almost always takes the stage when I’m alone. I know exactly how I’d like to be, how I am… on the inside. But unfortunately I’m only like that with myself. And perhaps that’s why-no, I’m sure that’s the reason why I think of myself as happy on the inside and other people think I’m happy on the outside. I’m guided by the pure Anne within, but on the outside I’m nothing but a frolicsome little goat tugging at its tether.

As I’ve told you, what I say is not what I feel, which is why I have a reputation for being boy-crazy as well as a flirt, a smart aleck and a reader of romances. The happy-go-lucky Anne laughs, gives a flippant reply, shrugs her shoulders and pretends she doesn’t give a darn. The quiet Anne reacts in just the opposite way. If I’m being completely honest, I’ll have to admit that it does matter to me, that I’m trying very hard to change myself, but that I I’m always up against a more powerful enemy.

A voice within me is sobbing, “You see, that’s what’s become of you. You’re surrounded by negative opinions, dismayed looks and mocking faces, people, who dislike you, and all because you don’t listen to the advice of your own better half.”

Believe me, I’d like to listen, but it doesn’t work, because if I’m quiet and serious, everyone thinks I’m putting on a new act and I have to save myself with a joke, and then I’m not even talking about my own family, who assume I must be sick, stuff me with aspirins and sedatives, feel my neck and forehead to see if I have a temperature, ask about my bowel movements and berate me for being in a bad mood, until I just can’t keep it up anymore, because when everybody starts hovering over me, I get cross, then sad, and finally end up turning my heart inside g out, the bad part on the outside and the good part on the inside, and keep trying to find a way to become what I’d like to be and what I could be if… if only there were no other people in the world.

Yours, Anne M. Frank

Source

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On this day in history: Troye walked in the Yves St. Laurent show for Paris Fashion week, one of the biggest (if not the biggest) fashion show in the world. As always, he alerted us to this fact after doing it, though smart FBI-protégés figured it out beforehand and we were therefore able to watch him walk live and freak out appropriately. This was the true start of his future in modeling, and really showed the world that he was more than a YouTuber or a singer or an actor. In the words of Nic Kelly, Troye could be told to “grow a uterus and give birth to a baby dragon cross lion and he could do it.” Troye Sivan Mellet is talented, versatile, and motivated – nothing, especially not any media perception of him, is going to stand in his way. <3

(gif credit to @lookingfortronler)

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March 7th 1965: Bloody Sunday in Selma

On this day in 1965, a civil rights march took place from Selma to Birmingham, Alabama; it became known as ‘Bloody Sunday’. At this stage, the Civil Rights Movement had been in motion for over a decade and already achieved legislative success with the Civil Rights Act. However the focus of the movement now became making the promise of equal franchise guaranteed in the Fifteenth Amendment a reality. While African-Americans exercised the right to vote in the years after the amendment’s passage in 1870, discriminatory measures like literacy tests, poll taxes, and grandfather clauses were soon implemented across the country to deprive them of the vote. Thus in 1965 civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. made voter registration the core of their efforts, centering the campaign on the particularly discriminatory Selma, AL. On March 7th - 'Bloody Sunday’ - as the six hundred unarmed marchers were crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge, they were descended upon by state troopers who viciously beat the protestors. The violence encountered by these peaceful marchers, which was captured on television and broadcast around the world, led to national outcry and caused President Johnson to publicly call for the passage of his administration’s proposed voting rights bill. After securing the support of federal troops, another march was held on March 21st, and with the protection of soldiers the marchers managed to arrive in Montgomery after three days. The marchers were met in Montgomery - the epicentre of the movement and the site of the 1954 bus boycott - by 50,000 supporters, who were addressed by King. Their efforts were rewarded when, in August of that year, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act that ensured all Americans could vote. This was one of the crowning achievements of the Civil Rights Movement, and the Selma to Montgomery march is commemorated as one of the most important moments of the struggle.

“We are on the move and no wave of racism can stop us. The burning of our churches will not deter us. The bombing of our homes will not dissuade us. We are on the move now…not even the marching of mighty armies can halt us. We are moving to the land of freedom
- King’s 'Address at the Conclusion of the Selma to Montgomery March’ - 25th March, 1965

50 years ago today

On This Day in History: Troye Sivan leaked the original demo version of Gasoline because who says artists can’t leak their own songs? Just listening to this and hearing how young all of it sounds really highlights how far Troye’s come.

If you told the boy who recorded this that, two years later, he’d be performing it in front of a sold out crowd in Philadelphia, thousands of miles from home, I don’t think he would’ve believed you.

The heartbreak might be old news at this point, but the pain and vulnerability that you can hear in this song will always be incredibly, incredibly moving <3

Made with SoundCloud
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June 6th 1944: D-Day

On this day in 1944, the D-Day landings began on the beaches of Normandy as part of the Allied ‘Operation Overlord’. The largest amphibious military operation in history, the operation involved thousands of Allied troops landing in France. For those landing on the beaches of Normandy, they faced heavy fire, mines and other obstacles on the beach, but managed to push inland. In charge of the operation was future US President General Dwight Eisenhower and leading the ground forces was British General Bernard Montgomery. The landings proved a decisive Allied victory, as they secured a foothold in France which had been defeated by Nazi Germany in 1940. D-Day was a key moment in the Second World War and helped turn the tide of the war in favour of the Allies. 70 years on, we remember not just the strategic victory that was D-Day but also the ultimate sacrifice paid by thousands of soldiers on both sides of the fighting.

“You are about to embark upon the great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months.”
- Eisenhower’s message to the Allied Expeditionary Force

70 years ago today

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ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

1 September 1532: Anne Boleyn is made Marquess of Pembroke in her own right.

On Sunday, 1 September 1532, Anne Boleyn entered the King’s presence at Windsor Palace, accompanied by her ladies and the Garter King-at-Arms. Dressed in ermine trimmed with velvet and bedecked with jewels, her long hair flowing loose down her back, she knelt before the King and the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk. The Bishop of Winchester then read out the patent which gave her the title Marquess of Pembroke in her own right.

Anne was now the first Englishwoman to be granted a hereditary peerage title. Along with the title, which would pass to her offspring, she received lands worth over £1000 a year. As she knelt and listened to the Bishop’s words, Anne could take great satisfaction in the fact that she was the highest-ranking noblewoman in England.

After the patent had been read aloud, the King then rose from his seat and crowned Anne with a golden coronet and placed on her shoulders a crimson velvet mantle. The couple finally departed the ceremony together to attend a lavish banquet. There they celebrated the event, content that they were one step closer to their goal. Within months, the two would be married and Anne would be crowned Queen Consort of England.

Fought over the first three days of July 1863, the Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania was one of the most crucial battles of the Civil War. On those hills and fields, over 160,000 soldiers struggled to survive. Preserved as Gettysburg National Military Park, visitors can hear their stories and walk in their footsteps. Sunset photo by Doug Shearer (www.sharetheexperience.org).

7th of April 1994: The Rwandan genocide begins. 

In the early hours of the Morning of April the 7th, the Rwandan army, Police and Hutu militia forces began their genocidal purge of the Tutsi minority residing in Rwanda. The Genocide was to last until the 15th of July but during that time it is estimated between 500,000 and 1 million tutsi and moderate hutu had been systematically murdered

To give some context to why this atrocity happened. Rwanda has two types of people. Hutu and tutsi. The Tutsi Minority had ruled the country as a monarchy until 1884 when the German empire colonised it. The German settlers made a great distinction between the two classes, favouring the tutsi because of their lighter skin, natural tallness and their willingness to accept christianity. The Hutu where treated as a lower people, after ww1 Germany lost control of the colony and it was granted to Belgium, who continued the pro tutsi policy. The Belgians introduced identity cards to label the citizens of rwanda tutsi or hutu. Or a very small minority who made up 1% of the country called Twa. 

After ww2 Rwanda saw its transition from a belgian colony with a tutsi monarchy to a hutu controlled republic. Extremist Hutu began killing tutsi and the Twa where marginalised. Many fled to neighbouring countries. Tutsi’s from fought back from other countries, which in turn made the hutu government opress the tutsi’s still living in Rwanda. Juvénal Habyarimana took power in Rwanda in a coup in 1971, through use of propaganda the government made the hutu remember the past years of tutsi opression. The Hutu hated the tutsi. 

The Rwandan patriotic front (RPF) was a rebel group made up of tutsi refugees who invaded Rwanda in 1990 iniating a civil war. On the 6th of April 1994 president Habyarimana’s plane was shot down. The government blamed the RPF however evidence suggests extreme hutu’s shot the plane down to spark a genocide. 

The Killing began next morning. The police and the army killed and raped and burned tutsi settlements. Any moderate hutu’s were killed. The government encouraged the hutu majority to arm themselves with clubs, pitch forks, machetes and bats. Neighbours killed neighbours. The UN dispatched a peacekeeping force and France set up refugee camps and safe zones for displaced tutsi’s. However the French army had orignially backed the hutu government and helped train hutu militia. 

Despite the ongoing genocide the RPF won the war and set up a tutsi majority government lead by paul kagame. This caused 2 million hutus to flee into the democratic republic of Congo, which in turn started the congo wars. Reffered to as the “African world war”. 

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November 23rd 1963: Doctor Who debuts

On this day in 1963, the first episode of Doctor Who was broadcast by the BBC. The original series starred William Hartnell as the protagonist known only as ‘the Doctor’, a Time Lord who travels through time in his blue police telephone box called the TARDIS with his companions. Since Hartnell, there have been 10 other actors who have played the iconic role, the current being Matt Smith. Doctor Who is the longest running science fiction drama in the world. It remains an immensely popular show, and an integral part of British culture. Today at 7.50pm on BBC One a 50th anniversary special will air.

50 years ago today

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: THE FALL OF ANNE BOLEYN

19 May 1536: Anne Boleyn is executed.

Good Christian people, I have not come here to preach a sermon; I have come here to d i e, for according to the law and by the law I am judged to die, and therefore I will speak nothing against it. I am come hither to accuse no man, nor to speak of that whereof I am accused and condemned to die, but I pray God save the King and send him long to reign over you, for a gentler nor a more merciful prince was there never, and to me he was ever a good, a gentle, and a sovereign lord. And if any person will meddle of my cause, I require them to judge the best. And thus I take my leave of the world and of you all, and I heartily desire you all to pray for me. Jesu receive my soul; Oh Lord God have p i t y on my s o u l.

Happy 99th birthday to National Park Service – America’s best idea! On this day in 1916, the National Park Service was created to care for the country’s special places. Pictured here is Lower Falls at Yellowstone National Park, our first national park. Photo by Kallem Phillips (www.sharetheexperience.org).

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On This Day in History: Troye raised $26,328 for Beyond Blue and Minus18, two Australian-based LGBTQ+ charities, by selling ten of his home-made toe weaves. One toe weave specifically - named after Tyler’s multicolored hair choices - sold almost three-quarters of the total profit all by itself. These sales were done with practically no promotion at all from Troye himself, and speak to the overwhelming power that this fandom has when given the opportunity to contribute to something that they’re passionate about.

Time and time again, this fandom and many others prove to never ever ever underestimate the power of passion and, in this case, a healthy dose of toe jam.