Tuesday, January 27, 2009

On January 27

On this day in ...

... 1914 (95 years ago today), "Lacking any military support," Haiti's civilian President, Port-au-Prince lawyer and Senator Michel Oreste, resigned and went into exile aboard a German ship. At once Marines from Germany, France, and the United States landed in Haiti's capital city. A Haitian military leader was installed as President, but his reign also would be short-lived. (map credit)

... 1904 (105 years ago today), in Paris, France, a son was born to an expatriate couple who in a little over a decade would go on to become icons in the Irish revolutionary movement: Irish-born Major John MacBride, whom the British would execute for his role in the 1916 Easter Rising, and his wife Maud Gonne, described as "an English-born Irish revolutionary, feminist and actress, best remembered for her turbulent relationship with William Butler Yeats." (Had this IntLawGrrl not chosen a certain 16th C. Irishwoman as her transnational foremother, the nod well might've gone to Gonne, ally of IntLawGrrl Fiona de Londras' foremother Countess Markievicz, and the subject of a superb biography by Dr. Margaret Ward.) The couple divorced; their son, Seán Mac Bride, went on to a distinguished global career. Among his achievements: Ireland's Minister of External Affairs and President of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers from 1949 to 1950, a position from which he spearheaded adoption of the European Convention on Human Rights; a cofounder of Amnesty International; Secretary-General of the International Commission of Jurists; a drafter of the Constitution of the Organization of African Unity; and co-recipient of the 1974 Nobel Peace Prize. Following his death in 1988, he was buried in Dublin cemetery near his wife and son -- and his mother. (credit for mid-20th C. photo of Maud Gonne and Seán MacBride)

1 comment:

Marjorie Florestal said...

Ahhh yes, the US occupation was an interesting time in Haitian history. I find myself particularly drawn to that period right now as I'm writing a piece that explores Haiti's historical role in the world trading system. One of the stories Haitians have always related about the US occupation (although I'm now doing the research to verify) is that during this period US policy encouraged chopping down indigenous trees to plant rubber tree plants. Why? So Haiti could become a producer of baseballs. I can't help it, I immediately start singing "Everyone knows that an ant can't move a rubber tree plant! But he's got high hopes . . . "