I ask you to make this June 30, 1960, an illustrious date that you will keep indelibly engraved in your hearts, a date of significance of which you will teach to your children, so that they will make known to their sons and to their grandchildren the glorious history of our fight for liberty.
Patrice Lumumba, first Prime Minister of the Congo, Independence Speech
The people of the Democratic Republic of the …Read more
Greenland. Photo by Jens Buurgaard Nielsen
“Our country, who’s become so old your head all covered with white hair. Always held us, your children, in your bosom providing the riches of your coasts.”
— from Greenland’s National Anthem
“And you: friendless, brainless, helpless, hopeless! Do you want me to send you back to where you were? Unemployed in Greenland!”
—Vizzini, The Princess Bride
“So weareth summer: Uspak rideth to the Leet and halloweth it; and when harvest comes, he fares to the fells when men go after their wethers, and they were brought in well, for the searching was careful, and no sheep were missing, either of Odd’s or any other man’s.” — The Story of the Banded Men, ancient Islandic saga
Summer is here, and few appreciate that fact more than the Icelanders. On June …Read more
You know you’re in trouble when your last best hope for justice are lawyers.
But thousands of lawyers and judges in Pakistan put their careers, their reputations, and possibly their lives on the line in the nearly two-year struggle to pressure the government to reinstate a judge.
That judge was Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, whom then-President Pervez Musharraf removed from office in 2007.
As the head of the Pakistan Army, Musharraf came …Read more
March 17 Everyone knows where the world-famous Saint Patrick is from. Scotland.
That’s right. Patrick was a wee lad by the name of Succat living in Scotland when he was kidnapped by Irish pirates at the age of 16 ["Kidnapped by pirates is good!" - Fred Savage, The Princess Bride] and sold as a slave. In Ireland he herded a Celtic chieftain’s sheep for six years, until one day he ran away and traveled 200 miles across Ireland to escaped to …Read more
March 15 is synonymous with betrayal, treachery, back-stabbing and front-stabbing. It’s the anniversary of the assassination of Julius Caesar by Brutus and the Roman Senate in 44 B.C.
But in Hungary, March 15 is synonymous with freedom and independence, so whip out your cockades and join the Hungarians as they sing their National Song today.
Turns out the Hungarians celebrate March 15, 1848, not 44 BC.
In 1848, as the fervor of revolution swept through …Read more
This week Kuwait celebrates two national holidays: Independence Day and Liberation Day.
Though Kuwait officially became independent on June 19, 1961, National Day is celebrated in February in honor of Sheikh Abdullah Al Salim Al Sabah (1895-1965) who came to power in February 1950. [And possibly because it's too hot to go outdoors in June.] The Emir guided Kuwait during its transformation to modern statehood and earned the moniker “Father of the Constitution.”
The Nepalese flag, the only non-rectangular national flag in the world, symbolizes the two religions of Nepal—Buddhism and Hinduism—and the peaks of the Himalayas.
For most of the half-century or so since Democracy Day was established in Nepal, the actual practice of democracy has been stifled or totally repressed.
Ironically, Democracy Day marks the return to power of a monarch, King Tribhuvan, in the early 1950s. The country had been run by a succession of …Read more