Our theme for the month of October is “This Day in History.”
I was part of the way through my October post when I happened to check my email.
A forward email from the post calvin’s internal email newsletter, saying that October is a theme month.This month’s theme: “This Day in History.”
I looked at my draft post and cringed. Not even remotely close to the concept. I clicked over to Google and searched historical events that happened on October 14. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention in history class. Maybe Gavrilo Princip shot the Archduke on October 14. Maybe a dictatorship took power on that day. A groundbreaking piece of legislation? A ceasefire of a war?
Nope. None of those things.
After saying several things Tony Soprano said to an FBI informant before choking him to death, I decided my tpc overlords’ lives weren’t flushed down the pishadoo, and that if October 14 had a bunch of disconnected historical events, let me try and connect them.
Nobel Prizes: On October 14, 1964, Martin Luther King Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize for his civil rights and social justice activism. Thirty years later, eighty-two-year-old Naguib Mahfouz, an Egyptian writer who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988, survived an assassination attempt. The controversy of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses brought new scrutiny from Islamic extremists onto Mahfouz’s 1959 novel Children of Gebelawi. On October 14, 1994, one of said extremists assaulted Mahfouz outside his home and stabbed him multiple times in the neck. Because Mahfouz was built different, he survived his injuries and lived another twelve years, passing away four months shy of his ninety-fifth birthday in 2006. On the same day of Mahfouz’s attack, then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and his Foreign Minister Shimon Peres won a Nobel Peace Prize along with a third man, Yasser Arafat, president of the Palestinian National Authority. Any further commentary on this particular event might cause a comment war, so I’m going to move on now.
This Means War!: Speaking of war, future five-star general and President of the United States Dwight David Eisenhower was born on October 14, 1890. On October 14, 1943, when Eisenhower was on his way to earning the five stars he’d have on his chest when he sat down in the Oval Office a decade later, 300 prisoners of the Sobibor extermination camp staged a successful uprising and escaped the camp, although only about sixty of the prisoners would live to the end of the year. On October 14, 1944, Edwin Rommel, a German field marshal codenamed the “Desert Fox,” committed suicide with poison when the Führer uncovered his role in an assassination plot. Rewind the clock to 1806, a year when Eisenhower’s grandfather was a youngster, and Napoleon Bonaparte beat the Prussians soundly in the Battle of Jena.
Around the globe: On October 14, 1644, William Penn, the future founder of the colony that became modern-day Pennsylvania, was born. Since we’re freshly off the topic of war, on October 14, 1936, the first non-Spanish fighters arrived in Albacete, Spain, to train to fight in the Spanish Civil War, the first step to the Spanish Civil War becoming an international conflict. On October 14, 1973, two years before the empire of Francisco Franco that the Spanish Civil War installed finally ended, another empire fell. Thanom Kittikachorn, the Prime Minister of Thailand, who some called a dictator, voluntarily left power. “Chased out” is a better descriptor, as Kittikachorn left the Prime Minister’s office due to violent student protests of his regime where seventy-seven people died.
Ending with some entertainment: Let’s bring this blog to a close by turning to what we turn on to turn our brains off. (Is that a tongue twister? Who cares?)
On October 14, 1908, the Chicago Cubs won their second-ever World Series, beating the Detroit Tigers in the last of five games 2-0. As a demonstration of what happens when you mess with the D, they wouldn’t win another World Series until over a century later in 2016.
A.A. Milne published Winnie-the-Pooh on October 14, 1926.
And worst for last, Keeping Up with the Kardashians premiered on October 14, 2007.
Conclusion? I’m not sure I can make a conclusion from such disparate facts. So I won’t bother. May you live long like Naguib Mahfouz, seek justice like Martin Luther King Jr., stand against injustice like the Sobibor prisoners, and not be a wart on humanity’s sphincter like Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
Until next time!
Noah Keene graduated from Calvin University in December 2021 with a major in creative writing and a minor in Spanish. He currently resides in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan. He spends his free time reading and putting his major to good use by working on his first novel. See what he’s reading by following him on Instagram @peachykeenebooks and read his other personal writing by going to thekeenechronicles.com.