July 19th, 1692

325 years ago today, five woman were hanged as witches at Proctors Ledge (or Gallows Hill at the time). Sarah Good, Elizabeth Howe, Susannah Martin, Rebecca Nurse, and Sarah Wilde’s were the first of 20 people accused and put to death during the year 1692 in Salem Massachusetts.

Today at noon the community of Salem mass unveiled a memorial placed at the recently identified site of these hangings, as a way to recognize and apologize for the wrongful accusations of the past.

Today we remember

Never forget that, on the 11th of July 1995, one of Europe’s greatest crimes against humanity-the Bosnian genocide-reached its peak with the brutal massacre of over 8,000 Muslim Bosnian men & young boys of all ages, and the the expulsion of 25,000-30,000 Muslim Bosnians that followed the very same day.

Never forget that this bloody extermination was strategically made with the intention of “cleansing” Europe of its ethnic Muslims, and is an act that modern day xenophobia & islamophobia still echoes.

Never forget that this genocide was part of a greater atrocious and vicious ethnic cleansing campaign that lasted, largely ignored & unrestricted, from 1992-1995. It included unlawful confinement, murder, rape, sexual assault, torture, beating, robbery, and inhumane treatment of civilians. It not only targeted political leaders but also intellectuals & professionals. There were unlawful deportations, unchecked shelling of civilians, unlawful appropriation of real and personal property by the government, the destruction of homes and businesses, and the destruction of places of worship.

Never forget.
May they rest in power.

6

ON THIS DAY:

The Spice Girls’ debut film, Spiceworld: The Movie, was released nationwide in the UK, 19 years ago today, on Boxing Day December 26th, 1997! 

The film was a #1 smash hit, grossing more than £6 million pounds during its opening weekend in the UK alone and over $100 million dollars worldwide.

GIRL POWER

On this day in 1809, Abraham Lincoln was born. Despite his humble beginnings and lack of formal education, Lincoln distinguished himself as an honest leader and a powerful speaker. Leading the nation through the Civil War, our 16th President fought for unity and helped bring an end to slavery in our country. Modeled after the Parthenon in Greece (the birthplace of democracy), the Lincoln Memorial honors his legacy. It’s a towering icon on the Washington, D.C., landscape that attracts visitors from all over the world to be inspired by Lincoln’s words and accomplishments. Photo courtesy of Drew Geraci.

William Morris

English artist, textile designer, poet and socialist activist William Morris was born on this day in 1834. Morris was one of the principal figures of the British arts and crafts movement. 

This is an ink, pen and watercolour drawing of a Woman Playing Cymbals, a design which was used for one of the many Morris & Co stained glass windows at Wightwick Manor.

Happy Birthday, Charles Darwin

Born February 12, 1809, Charles Darwin revolutionized science and the culture around it.  On 24 November 1859 Charles Darwin published his monumental work On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, changing the face of biology. Although he only used the word once at the very end of the book, the word evolve (and evolution) is synonymous with Darwin. The word evolve had been used in a scientific sense specifically in biology for over a hundred years before Darwin wrote Origin of Species-which is one reason why he avoided it. By the mid 1850s, the word had connotations of perfectibility-something Darwin wanted to avoid. It was the last sentence of his book:

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

The word evolution arrived in English in 1620 and comes from the Latin word evolutionem(nomnative form evolutio) meaning the unrolling of a book or revealing that which was rolled up. The word evolve arrived a bit later in the 1640s from the Latin word evolvere meaning to unroll and could also pertain to other ‘hidden’ things (see also for example the etymology of vulva), but mostly meant books, when a ‘volume’ was a rolled up manuscript made from vellum. The modern meaning that scientists such ad Darwin meant for it began around 1832 and reached its first full expression in Darwin’s work.

Happy Birthday to Charles Darwin, born on this day, 1809.