IT was on a date like today’s, October 9, that French President Mitterrand abolished capital punishment in 1981.
But, I jump the starter’s gun here. Let me explain...I studied History in my latter years at Secondary School in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
That was before my country of birth, Tanganyika, attained political independence from alien rule at midnight on December 9, 1961.
Thereafter, I took every opportunity to remind and update myself on what I still consider to be one of the most interesting subjects-matter in life: History.
This is the study of past events, particularly regarding human affairs.
It’s a chronological record of significant events, often including an explanation of their causes... Derived from the Greek term ‘ἱστορία, historia’– meaning ‘inquiry; History knowledge acquired by investigation’ –History is “an umbrella term that relates to past events, as well as the memory, discovery, collection, organization, presentation, and interpretation of information about these events...” .
It is, therefore, in this regard that I take the liberty to share with my esteemed readers here relatively recent historical events that took place on a date like today’s, October 9– doing so in chronological order.
For starters, I consider historic the birth on October 9, 1906 of the first President (September 6, 1960-December 31, 1980) of independent Senegal, Léopold Sédar Senghor.
Senghor is described as “a poet, politician and cultural theorist... the first African elected as a member of the ‘Académie Française.’ This is the pre-eminent Council on the French language established in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, King Louis XII’sI Chief Minister.
In 1981, Senghor became the first African Head of State to peaceably relinquish power and pass the presidential baton to someone else: Abdou Diouf, President from 1981 to 2000.
Second event on my historic list took place on October 9, 1919. That was when the ‘Cincinnati Reds’–an American professional baseball team based in Cincinnati, Ohio – ‘won’ the so-called ‘World Series.’
This resulted in the ‘Black Sox Scandal,’ a Major League Baseball match-fixing in which eight members of the Chicago White Sox were accused of intentionally losing the ‘1919 World Series’ match against the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for money from a gambling syndicate led by racketeer Arnold ‘The Brain’ Rothstein (January 17, 1882-November 6, 1928).
Talk of grand corruption even in the self-styled ‘Land of the Free and Home of the Brave!’ For details of the Scandal, just browse the ubiquitous Internet...!
By the way, there’s nothing ‘worldly’ about the so-called ‘World Series;’ the tournament is solely American, pure and simple.
It’s staged in, by Americans and for Americans, period! On, then, to the third historic event... The founder in the US of the ‘Uhuru Movement,’ the American political activist ‘Omali Yeshitela,’ was born ‘Joseph Waller’ on October 9, 1941.
The ‘Uhuru Movement’ refers to a group of organizations which believe in ‘African Internationalism:’ the liberation of Africans in Africa and in the (African) Diaspora, as well as reparations for Africans victims of slavery, colonialism and neocolonialism... Sheesh!
At Number 4 on October 9, 1962 was Uganda nextdoor which stopped being a British Protectorate, and became politically independent – for what it’s worth!
Uganda’s motto ‘For God and My Country’ reminds one of pop songs titled ‘For God and Country’ by Dolly Parton (released in 2003), the ‘Smashing Pumpkins Rock Band’ (2007), the ‘Good Riddance Band’ (1995)... ‘For God and My Country’ is also a title of books by James Yee (published in 2005) and Daniel Reyes (2009)... Oh... I don’t know! On October 9, 1981, French President Mitterrand abolished capital punishment in France.
Capital punishment/ death penalty is the sanctioned killing by the State of a person convicted of a specified crime (like premeditated murder) after a proper legal trial.
Surely, abolishing same shouldn’t mean that people can then go on a murdering spree knowing they won’t statutorily be killed by the State in return.
Once a convict is executed under the capital punishment arrangements, this is irrevocable. But, also, the risk of executing an innocent person can never be eliminated.
For example, more than 160 prisoners sent to the death row in the US since 1973 were later exonerated, or released from the death penalty on grounds of innocence.
Hence justification for abolishing the death penalty– which had been done by 106 world countries by end-2018. Oh, there’re more such historic, historical events on October 9.
Among them are the ‘World Post Day’ (marking the establishment of the Universal Postal Union in Bern, Switzerland, in 1874); Fire Prevention Day, first marked in 1920 to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of October 8, 1871 which killed more than 300 people and left 100,000 homeless... Tears!