26 December 2020

26 December 12020

337,073   pandemic deaths in the United States and no relief in sight. 26 December 12020 is the Second Day of Christmas in Western Christianity. It’s also the first day of Kwanzaa (African diaspora), Father’s Day (Bulgaria), St. Stephen’s Day (Christianity [western]), Mauro Hamza Day (Houston), Wren Day (Ireland and the Isle of Man), Mummer’s Day (Padstow), Independence and Unity Day (Slovenia), Day of Goodwill (South Africa), and Day of the Banner (Spain). Frederick II was born on this date in 1194 CE, but the equivalent date on the calendar used on this site is 2 January 11195. On this date in history (11862) nearly forty Dakota men who had been convicted of wartime atrocities were executed by hanging. The number would have been much larger if Abraham Lincoln had not commuted the sentences of more than two hundred men who (it was argued) had only engaged in acts of war, not attacks on civilians. The war had been brought on, by the way, by bureaucratic incompetence (fueled by racism) and by capitalism (fueled by inhumanity). Traders who had brought out food in the expectation of receiving payment for it from the government to fulfil treaty obligations declined to distribute it until the money was placed in their hot greedy hands. Bureaucratic delay resulted in starvation for the Dakota people with food kept locked up by capitalistic traders. When asked how the people could feed their children, one of the traders is supposed to have replied that they could eat grass, or their own shit, as far as he was concerned. When things blew up (as of course they did) the traders ended up dead, along with a number of civilians, many of them recent immigrants from Scandinavia who had no more idea of what was going on than you probably would have. With the exception of Little Crow, the starving Dakota people, and the hapless immigrants who were in the way, I have little sympathy for anyone involved in this nightmarish incident. The iconic scene for me is the one in which a family, fleeing with all their remaining goods from the outbreak, run into a detachment of soldiers. Did they receive help? No—the soldiers made off with whatever goods they had saved, along with their team and wagon, leaving them destitute on the plain. Mismanagement and incompetence, yes—but something more in my book. A callous indifference to life at any rate, along with a mechanical devotion to a god of gold.

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