Loving Day

Posted: June 12, 2009 in On this day...
Photo from Tinypic.com

Photo from Tinypic.com

Michaela Moye

For the past five years in the United States, June 12 has been an unofficial holiday celebrating interracial marriages, based on a real-life couple’s 40-years-plus legal victory in Loving v. Virginia.

With the way info whizzes through the Internet, Loving Day and its implications will, no doubt, soon be noted by youth in more countries including Nigeria.

Which would be something of a relief – Since 1993, June 12 has been a date resonant with unrest, instability, protest, injustice and impassioned politics. On this day, in a historic election that is regarded as Nigeria’s fairest to date M.K.O. Abiola won a decisive victory as the country’s president. But on June 23, the then-military administration annulled the elections. A day to the year later, June 11, 1994, Abiola declared himself president and went into hiding. His subsequent arrest, also on June 23, threw Nigeria into turmoil, essentially turning Abiola into something of a hero.

June 12 used to be a public holiday in most South-West states (those with an SDP affiliation); including Lagos. Now, it is officially a holiday in Ogun state, Abiola’s state of origin.

It is not only in Nigeria that June 12 echoes violence:

  • 1381 – Peasants’ Revolt in England
  • 1418 – Insurrection; Paris, France
  • 1429 – Hundred Years’ War: Joan of Arc leads the French army in the Battle of Jargeau
  • 1560 – Battle of Okehazama; Japan
  • 1653 – the first Anglo-Dutch War; England
  • 1758 – Franch and Indian War; Canada
  • 1775 – American Revolution (against their British colonials)
  • 1830 – France begins to colonise Algeria
  • 1889 – Armagh Rail Disaster; Northern Ireland
  • 1942 – During the Holocaust Germany liquidates the Jewish Ghetto in Berezhany, Ukraine by executing 1,180 Jews
  • 1963 – American civil rights leader Medger Evers is murderd outside his home by a member of the Klu Klux Klan
  • 1964 – Nelson Mandela is sentenced to life in prison
  • 1991 – Sri Lankan army massacres 152 minority Tamil civilians
  • 1994 – OJ Simpson’s ex-wife and her friend – Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman – are murdered outside her home in Los Angeles, USA
  • 2000 – Sandro Rosa do Nascimento takes hostages while robbing a bus in Brazil; the standoff attracts much media attention and ends with the death of one hostage and do Nascimento.

But enough with the doom and gloom already!

June 12 is also the date of birth of some rather prestigious folk – controversial journalist, political economist, abolitionist and life-long feminist Harriet Martineau was born on this day in 1802. Famous Holocaust essayist Anne Frank was also born on this day – it was on her 13th birthday that she received the journal that is now referred to as the Anne Frank Diaries.

This means that Playboy Playmate Kendra Wilkinson and supermodel Adriana Lima are in good company. They too are June 12 babies.
Sources: Wikipedia, answers.com, BBC
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