Tuesday, August 7, 2007

On August 7, ...

... 1876, Margaretha Zelle was born in Leeuwarden, Netherlands. Following a troubled marriage and a stint in Java, Zelle moved in her late 20s to Paris. Adopting the stage name Mata Hari -- a Malay term for the sun -- she worked as an exotic dancer (left). The outbreak of World War I found her working for the French, who, however, suspected her of also spying for the Germans. A firing squad executed her in Paris on October 15, 1917.
Mata Hari is the namesake of IntLawGrrl Hari Osofsky.
...1972 (35 years ago today), Idi Amin, leader in Uganda, ordered 60,000 Asians expelled in 90 days. A BBC report described the "Asians," who'd "been living in the country for more than a century," as "the backbone of the Ugandan economy." Nonetheless, "resentment against them has been building up within Uganda's black majority," and Amin had "accused them of milking the economy of its wealth." In the end, about 50,000 Asians would flee Uganda, including 30,000 British passport-holders who went to Britain. Amin, meanwhile, would continue his brutal rule of Uganda another 7 years. He was overthrown, and died in exile in 2003.

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