On this day in history August 22, 1978: Kenya’s president, Jomo Kenyatta, died at his home in Mombasa. An official announcement on Voice of Kenya radio that day stated that Mr Kenyatta had died peacefully in his sleep.

Kenyatta was widely seen as the founding father of his nation which he had led since its independence in 1963 and was one of the first and best-known African nationalist and post colonial leaders.

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On this day in History August 22, 1972: During an Olympic games that is remembered for the murder of eleven Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists, the African nation formerly known as The Republic of Rhodesia was kept out of the games. Rhodesia, now known as Zimbabwe faced expulsion from the games from an IOC vote. Why the pressure? 

Given the racial climate of Africa in the 1970’s, especially concerning the white minority that ruled (often through brutal and repressive measures) in areas such as Rhodesia and South Africa, the African Nations threatened to Boycott the 1972 Munich Games. The trouble probably long before these games but from what I can tell, a particular point in time and act is the focal point that led to Rhodesia being left on the outside looking in at Munich.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica listing for Zimbabwe:

The goal of the RF was Rhodesian independence under guaranteed minority rule. Field was replaced as prime minister in April 1964 by his deputy, Ian Smith. The RF swept all A-roll seats in the 1965 election, and Smith used this parliamentary strength to tighten controls on the political opposition. After several attempts to persuade Britain to grant independence, Smith’s government announced the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) on November 11, 1965.

On June 20, 1969, a referendum was held in Rhodesia regarding adoption of a constitution that would enshrine political power in the hands of the white minority and establish Rhodesia as a republic; Rhodesia’s predominantly white electorate overwhelmingly approved both measures. The constitution was approved by Parliament in November, and on March 2, 1970, Rhodesia declared itself a republic.

As stated above, the RF (Rhodesian Front) was a political party that wanted to maintain the policy of white minority rule. In terms of the Olympics, the Rhodesian national team wasn’t made up only of white athletes. But the black athletes were relegated to events such as sprinting and jumping. There was also the controversy that the Rhodesian athletes were not from Rhodesia but South Africa AND that the country was an illegal regime and members of its team were not therefore British subjects. 

The IOC issued Rhodesia’s invitation to the West German games on certain conditions, which included appearing under their old colonial flag. But as of March 2, 1970, Rhodesia declared itself as being a Republic. So where did they stand: Independent country or colony.

According to the article Examining “The Rhodesian Affair:”: The IOC and African Politics in the 1970s by Maureen Smith

Brundage and the Executive Board agreed unanimously that the Rhodesians had met the terms of agreement and invited the African delegates and Rhodesian delegates to the session. Each group was given the opportunity to argue their case. The African members reminded the IOC members that racial discrimination occurred in Rhodesian sport and that Rhodesia was exploiting the Games for their own political purposes. Still, questions related to nationality and discrimination lingered and the Rhodesians were pressed on those topics. After both sides had spoken, IOC member Segura Marte R. Gomez of Mexico pressed Brundage to find a solution that would work for both sides; Gomez felt this would be the last great act for Brundage in his presidency. Brundage wanted to allow Rhodesia to compete, thinking they would decline the invitation, thus allowing the other African countries to participate, but also assuring Rhodesia’s relationship with the IOC. The presidents put it before the membership as a choice between picking Rhodesia and “wrecking the Munich Games,” or support the Africans and be accused of succumbing to political blackmail.” The members in attendance voted to not support Rhodesia, with 31 for, 36 against, and 3 abstentions and the invitation to Rhodesia to participate in the 1972 Games was withdrawn. The vote was explained as a technicality of citizenship, not racial discrimination.

Regardless of the reasons the IOC gave for excluding the Rhodesian team, this show of force by the African Nations that stood against Rhodesia would help to lay the foundation for the changes in the political systems of Southern African nations in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

Cartoon strip by Geoff “Jeff” Hook from August 24, 1972

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On this day in History August 21, 1911: Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting The Mona Lisa is stolen from the Louvre in Paris, France. The painting would be recovered a little over two years later in Florence, Italy when a man named Vincenzo Perrugia tried to sell the painting to an art dealer. 
Ok. Now here is where the research gets tricky. Some sources say it was one man who took the painting and under his jacket walked out of the museum unnoticed. Another source says it was three men who stole the painting, frame and all and put it on a train leaving France. Some say the thief/thieves hid the painting in a closet or under a bed. Some say the painting was not known to many around the world and the theft made it the world renown work of art it is today. Some say American millionaires were planning to buy the painting. Some say it was stolen for patriotic reasons. Some say it was stolen in order to make forged copies. See where I am going with this?
It seems hard to find where the Mona Lisa theft lies within the realms of fact and fiction. The comments in the article The Theft That Made The ‘Mona Lisa’ A Masterpiece from the NPR website dated July 30, 2011 alone are worth the virtual price of admission. So I’ll list some articles and post for you to read and you make your decision on which line of fact/fiction you want to believe.
For Further Reading:
Mona Lisa: The theft that created a legend By Sheena McKenzie from CNN website dated November 19, 2013
The Theft That Made The ‘Mona Lisa’ A Masterpiece by NPR STAFF dated July 30, 2011
Stolen: How the Mona Lisa Became the World’s Most Famous Painting by James Zug from the Smithsonian Magazine website dated June 15, 2011
The Story Behind the Mona Lisa Heist by Rossella Lorenzi from the Discovery News website dated August 19, 2011
The man who stole the Mona Lisa by Laura Cumming from the Guardian website dated August 5, 2011
The Artist, the Thief, the Forger, and Her Lover by Rex Sorgatz from the Medium website 
“The Missing Piece: The Truth About the Man Who Stole the Mona Lisa” by Gary Lee Kraut from the FranceRevisted website

On this day in History August 21, 1911: Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting The Mona Lisa is stolen from the Louvre in Paris, France. The painting would be recovered a little over two years later in Florence, Italy when a man named Vincenzo Perrugia tried to sell the painting to an art dealer. 

Ok. Now here is where the research gets tricky. Some sources say it was one man who took the painting and under his jacket walked out of the museum unnoticed. Another source says it was three men who stole the painting, frame and all and put it on a train leaving France. Some say the thief/thieves hid the painting in a closet or under a bed. Some say the painting was not known to many around the world and the theft made it the world renown work of art it is today. Some say American millionaires were planning to buy the painting. Some say it was stolen for patriotic reasons. Some say it was stolen in order to make forged copies. See where I am going with this?

It seems hard to find where the Mona Lisa theft lies within the realms of fact and fiction. The comments in the article The Theft That Made The ‘Mona Lisa’ A Masterpiece from the NPR website dated July 30, 2011 alone are worth the virtual price of admission. So I’ll list some articles and post for you to read and you make your decision on which line of fact/fiction you want to believe.

For Further Reading:

peterharrington

asylum-art:

Intricate Book Art Carvings by Brian Dettmer

on Flickr

Born in Chicago but currently living and working out of Atlanta, Georgia, contemporary artist Brian Dettmer creates incredible works of art with old books and tremendous patience. Using knives, tweezers and surgical tools, Brian meticulously exposes various layers to create his mind-blowing artwork. Dettmer has received critical acclaim around the world and his work can be found in countless galleries and publications. Below you will find a small sample of his art along with an artist bio and statement from Dettmer. Be sure to visit Brian’s official site: briandettmer.com for more information and photographs of his fantastic art.

bouncecomics

On this day in History August 21, 1959: United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Hawaiian Admission Act (Act of March 18, 1959, Pub L 86-3, 73 Stat 5 (1959)) into law making Hawaii the 50th state of the Union.

A plebiscite was held on July 27, 1959 and any US citizen who had lived in Hawaii for at least one year was able to vote. The vote broke down as follows:

  • 132,938 in favor of Statehood
  • 7,854 against Statehood

On January 3, 1959, Alaska became the 49th state of the Union. The last time stars were added to Old Glory was in 1912, when Arizona and New Mexico were added to the Union.

What do I mean by stars added to Old Glory? Well according to the Third Flag Act aka The Flag Act of 1818 (3 Stat. 415)

STATUTE I, CHAP. XXXIV - An Act to establish the flag of the United States

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That from and after the fourth day of July next, the flag of the United States be thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white: that the union be twenty stars, white in a blue field.

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That on the admission of every new state into the Union, one star be added to the union of the flag; and that such addition shall take effect on the fourth day of July then next succeeding such admission.

April 4, 1818.

Executive Order 10834, by President Eisenhower on August 21, 1959 approved the new flag with the 50th star to represent Hawaii. 

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On this day in History August 20, 1940: Exiled Russian revolutionary Lev Davidovich Bronshtein better known to the world as Leon Trotsky is fatally wounded by an ice-ax-wielding assassin. The killer under the alias of Jacques Mornard in reality was Jaime Ramón Mercader del Río aka Ramón Mercader. Mercader was a Spanish communist and probable agent of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Trotsky died from his wounds the next day.

Trotsky was a close ally of Vladimir Lenin and upon his death in 1924, Trotsky clashed with eventual Russian Premier Josef Stalin. This clash with Stalin led to his loss of power and influence in Russia eventually causing Trotsky to be deported and eventually banished from Russia. During the Stalinist Purges of the 1930’s, Trotsky was found guilty in absentia.  

Trotsky would spend time in Turkey, France and Norway before he would be granted Asylum in Mexico. He relocated to the Coyoacán neighborhood of Mexico City. It was here that Trotsky would be assassinated via pick-axe by Mercader.

Mercader would be jailed in 1940 and released in 1960 where he traveled to Cuba being celebrated by Fidel Castro. Mercader would also travel to Russia where he was also honored with the Hero of the Soviet Union award.

Mercader would spend his remaining days between Havana and Moscow. He would pass away in Havana on October 18, 1978.

For Further Reading:

World War I had massive political, economic, social ramifications on an ambitious East Asian nation.

Japan was also building an empire. On the eve of World War I, that empire consisted of Japan, Formosa (Taiwan), the Ryukyus, the southern half of Sakhalin Island, the Kuril Islands, Korea and Port Arthur (Dalian) — and it was considered a political and economic necessity. Japan was — and still is — remarkably bereft of resources, short of everything from arable land to oil, minerals and living space. Only by absorbing territories such as China, Korea and Taiwan could the country be guaranteed the resources it lacked.

Very thought provoking article on Japan’s role and motivation by getting involved in World War I. The author is correct that we normally don’t hear about the Japanese, or any Asian nations getting involved during what was billed as The War to End All Wars. Look back at it now, it makes perfect sense. 

Not that I am excusing this, but had the Allies carved up the world while including Japan, would things have happened differently???