Wednesday, May 13, 2009

On May 13

On this day in ...
... 1907, Daphne du Maurier was born in London, into an artistic and theatrical family whose household friends included the author of Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie. Educated in Britain and France and a frequent traveler throughout Europe, Daphne began writing "at a very early age" and, thanks to an uncle's intervention, had a story published while still a teenager. Many of her literary works take place in Britain's southwesternmost province, Cornwall. Among them were the smuggling yarn Jamaica Inn (1936) and the eerily suspensful Rebecca (1938), both of which were made into films by Alfred Hitchcock. She died in 1989. In 1996 she was among 5 "20th Century Women of Achievement" to be honored with her own British commemorative stamp (above right); another honoree was Margot Fonteyn (prior post).
... 2003, workers in Iraq continued efforts to unearth the remains of thousands of victims of the brutal regime of deposed President Saddam Hussein. (credit for image of Iraqi flag, featuring Saddam's own handwriting, in effect 1991-2004) A New York Times reporter wrote upon visiting mass graves in salt marshes near a brick factory in Hilla, outside Baghdad:

Mr. Hussein's secret police turned this place into an execution field and mass grave for Shiites who rose up against his rule in February and March of 1991. That spring, there was killing all over Iraq. Kurds disappeared in the north, Shiites in the south.

(Prior May 13 posts are here and here.)

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