Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Roman muse

August 30th
On this day in the year 30 B.C. Egyptian Pharaoh Cleopatra VII commits suicide at her palace in Alexandria, Egypt. She and her lover Mark Antony were seeking to regain power in Rome against emperor Octavian (Augustus). Antony thought that they had entered a suicide pact, rather than be captured and executed they would kill themselves together. Antony was given a message stating that Cleopatra had already died, so he stabbed himself with his sword, only to be given a second letter stating that she still lived. Oops! Cleopatra, the seducer of Casar and Antony, and tried in vain to seduce Octavian. When these attempts were fruitless she was bitten by a poisonous Asp and died.

On this day in 1963 a hotline between the Soviet Premier and the United States President was established. Often portrayed as a red telephone with direct access to both offices, the phone probably saved us from a global nuclear war. It was established in the wake of the Cuban missile crisis in hopes of avoiding any future "misunderstandings".

On this day in 1969 Ho Chi Minh responded to a letter sent to him on July 15th from Richard Nixon. In Nixon's letter he proposed a plan for peace in Vietnam. Minh responded in his letter that it was the United States that were the aggressors and it was up to them to withdraw their troops. Minh knew that the longer the war dragged on, the more resistant to the war the people of the US would become. He also said that the Vietnamese people knew how to govern themselves without outside influences. Minh began his political career admiring the US government and how it achieved its independence, he thought that following WWII (where Vietnam and the US were allies) that they would be in support of Vietnamese independence from France. Unfortunately for us, those were not the plans of the US government.

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