Parting shot: When history was rewritten at gunpoint
2008 01 07
By Ashwin Ahmad | timesofindia.indiatimes.com
One tiny bullet is all it takes to alter the course of history. Indeed, a quick glance at major political events shows many of them have been influenced by a man with a mission and a gun. World War I is perhaps the biggest and best example. Though there were many political and social factors, the immediate catalyst for the war was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
The heir of the Austro-Hungarian empire, Ferdinand was shot on June 28, 1914 in Sarajevo by a Serbian terrorist group calling themselves the Black Hand. The group wanted provinces like Bosnia and Sarajevo to be part of a greater Serbia and not part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. The assassination prompted Austria to threaten Serbia with war. Germany supported Austria, Russia supported Serbia, and the rest is now history.
It isn’t just Ferdinand. Former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin paid the ultimate price for peace when he fell to an assassin’s bullet in 1995. Many argue the Rabin-Arafat talks were a chance for lasting peace in the Middle East. Under the eyes of President Clinton, the duo shook hands on the White House lawns in 1993. They had just signed the historic Oslo accords.
The Oslo accords were the first landmark agreement between Israelis and Palestinains. Israelis recognized the Palestinian Authority and handed over parts of the Gaza Strip and West Bank to the Palestinians to govern. In turn, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat recognized the state of Israel and pledged to renounce violence. Many argue that Rabin’s assassination, coming when it did, destabilized the process. In fact, Rabin’s killer Yigal Amir admitted that was his intention, in court. Since then, attitudes between the two sides have hardened.
Warring sides are nothing new to the US as President Abraham Lincoln discovered to his cost. On April 15, 1865, Lincoln - one of America’s best loved presidents - was shot at 7 pm while watching a play with his wife. He died the next day. The assassin, John Wilkes Booth, was a member of the Confederacy, a group that wanted the southern states to become a separate entity from the rest of America, a position at odds with Lincoln’s Unionist policy.
The Confederacy also wanted the south to continue to be allowed to have the right to own slaves, something the president had banned through legislation. In fact, so bitter was the divide on these issues that civil war raged in the country for over four years.
Though Booth did manage to kill Lincoln; his plans to overthrow the government failed, as his companions who were ordered to shoot secretary of state William Seward and vice president Andrew Johnson lost their nerve. Andrew Johnson became the next president and the United States remained just that: United.
It was a slightly different story in Russia. The Bolshevik regime, headed by Vladmir Lenin ushered in change in a brutal manner: by killing Tzar Nicholas II and his family. The Tzar, along with his wife and children, were herded into the cellar of their prison house and executed by a firing squad on July 17, 1918. This act severed Russia from autocratic rule and led to the birth of communism in the country. Though Tzar Nicholas II was not remembered by history as a particularly good or effective ruler, the family’s tragic demise was a dark reminder of how quickly, and cruelly, power changes hands.
But change need not always be violent, as Dr Martin Luther King stressed, over and over again. Fighting to end segregation and racial discrimination against blacks, Dr King’s efforts won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 at just 35 years of age. But not everyone was happy with this charismatic leader. King was shot dead on April 4, 1968. His death caused rioting in 100 cities, and over 4,000 members of the National Guard were finally needed to maintain the peace in America.
Like Kennedy, the circumstances surrounding King’s death remain a mystery. Escaped convict James Earl Ray (who was charged and sentenced for the murder) continuously claimed he was only a small player in a big conspiracy. And the world is left to wonder about what might have been.
Article from: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Opinion/
Latest News from our Front Page
Nigel Farage (UKIP) Speech on the EU, UK & Mass Immigration
2014 03 08
UKIP Nigel Farage Spring Conference speech - 2014
Red Ice Radio:
Nigel Farage MEP - The State of the EU & The Undemocratic Treaty of Lisbon
Labour wins UK by-election as Ukip trumps Tories
The ruling coalition in the UK was dealt a blow in the latest by-election test, as the UK Independence party pushed the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats into third and fourth ...
Pentagon studying Putin’s body language to predict his behavior
2014 03 07
The Pentagon has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years so that researchers can study the body movements of foreign leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, in hopes of predicting future behavior.
An article published by USA Today reporter Ray Locker on Thursday and corroborated by documents discovered by RT provides rare insight into a scarcely-discussed military effort that ...
Pentagon Claims That Climate Change ‘Enables Terrorism’
2014 03 07
In it’s latest Quadrennial Defense Review the Pentagon has said that climate change and ’erratic’ climate will cause increased terrorist activity.
The four yearly reports highlight threats that face civilization and this years homed in on climate change causing an increase in terrorism.
It also mentioned that rises in sea levels and other issues associated with a warming planet will lead ...
Scientists Control Tiny Mechanical Probes Inside Human Cells
2014 03 07
Nanotechnology doesn’t get as much attention these days as genetic and stem cell approaches to medicine, but all three aim to target the causes of illness with greater precision and less collateral damage in the rest of the body than conventional approaches.
Nanotech breakthroughs have come more slowly than many had hoped, but a recent success shows progress toward the goal ...
Fukushima: The Ticking Nuclear Bomb. Over 800 Tons of Radioactive Material Pouring into Pacific Ocean
2014 03 07
First published by GR in October 2013
In August this column ran a piece claiming that the Pacific Ocean was being poisoned by radioactive material escaping from Fukushima, two years after the devastating tsunami and meltdown at the Japanese nuclear facility. Three months later, shocking evidence points towards a calamity situation.
Silence from the corporate media.
There is growing evidence coming from ...
|More News » |