Friday, March 7, 2008

On this day

On March 7, ...
... 1988 (20 years ago today), the Irish Republican Army acknowledged that Mairead Farrell, Daniel McCann, and Sean Savage, the 1 woman and 2 men whom British security forces had shot dead in Gibraltar a day earlier, were "members of an active service unit." According to the BBC, it was initially reported that the 3 had just "plant[ed] a massive car bomb"; however, "within 24 hours, the Foreign Secretary, Geoffrey Howe, was forced to admit there had been no car bomb," and that the 3 "were unarmed when they had been shot." In its judgment in McCann and Others v. United Kingdom 7 years later, a Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights concluded that Britain had breached Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, delineating the right to life. The Court wrote in ¶ 213 that it was "not persuaded that the killing of the three terrorists constituted the use of force which was no more than absolutely necessary in defence of persons from unlawful violence within the meaning" of that provision.
... 1913 (95 years ago today), E. Pauline Johnson (left) died from breast cancer in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She'd been born in 1861 in Ontario, the youngest of 4 children of a father who was Head Chief of the 6 Nations Indians and a mother who was the England-born sister-in-law of an Anglican missionary stationed in Canada. Educated at home, Pauline gained an appreciation of literature, and was said to be especially taken by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "The Song of Hiawatha." She became a "poet and recitalist," eventually adopting the name of her great-grandfather, Tekahionwake. Her work has undergone reexamination by, among others, Margaret Atwood. As noted here, Johnson's
double signature suggests the complexity of Johnson’s location as a writer and performer of mixed blood who spoke from both inside and outside native experience. On the one hand, she continually emphasized the nobility of certain values that she associated with native communities, particularly respect for nature and generosity of spirit. On the other, she frequently lamented the stereotyping of native figures (as, for example, in her essay “A strong race opinion[: O]n the Indian girl in modern fiction”), despite the fact that a number of her own poems, such as “Dawendine,” appear to contribute to that mythology.

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