Wednesday, October 30, 2013

This Day in History: Oct 30, 1974: Muhammad Ali wins the Rumble in the Jungle

On October 30, 1974, 32-year-old Muhammad Ali becomes the heavyweight champion of the world for the second time when he knocks out 25-year-old champ George Foreman in the eighth round of the "Rumble in the Jungle," a match in Kinshasa, Zaire. Seven years before, Ali had lost his title when the government accused him of draft-dodging and the boxing commission took away his license. His victory in Zaire made him only the second dethroned champ in history to regain his belt.


Muhammad Ali Rumble In The Jungle Wallpaper Boxing Wallpapers Design 1600x1200 Pixel

The "Rumble in the Jungle" (named by promoter Don King, who’d initially tagged the bout "From the Slave Ship to the Championship!" until Zaire’s president caught wind of the idea and ordered all the posters burned) was Africa’s first heavyweight championship match. The government of the West African republic staged the event—its president, Mobutu Sese Seko, personally paid each of the fighters $5 million simply for showing up—in hopes that it would draw the world’s attention to the country’s enormous beauty and vast reserves of natural resources. Ali agreed. "I wanted to establish a relationship between American blacks and Africans," he wrote later. "The fight was about racial problems, Vietnam. All of that." He added: "The Rumble in the Jungle was a fight that made the whole country more conscious."


At 4:30 a.m. on October 30, 60,000 spectators gathered in the moonlight (organizers had timed the fight to overlap with prime time in the U.S.) at the outdoor Stade du 20 Mai to watch the fight. They were chanting "Ali, bomaye" ("Ali, kill him"). The ex-champ had been taunting Foreman for weeks, and the young boxer was eager to get going. When the bell rang, he began to pound Ali with his signature sledgehammer blows, but the older man simply backed himself up against the ropes and used his arms to block as many hits as he could. He was confident that he could wait Foreman out. (Ali’s trainer later called this strategy the "rope-a-dope," because he was "a dope" for using it.)

By the fifth round, the youngster began to tire. His powerful punches became glances and taps. And in the eighth, like "a bee harassing a bear," as one Times reporter wrote, Ali peeled himself off the ropes and unleashed a barrage of quick punches that seemed to bewilder the exhausted Foreman. A hard left and chopping right caused the champ’s weary legs to buckle, and he plopped down on the mat. The referee counted him out with just two seconds to go in the round.

Ali lost his title and regained it once more before retiring for good in 1981. Foreman, meanwhile, retired in 1977 but kept training, and in 1987 he became the oldest heavyweight champ in the history of boxing. Today, the affable Foreman is a minister and rancher in Texas and the father of five daughters and five sons, all named George. He’s also the spokesman for the incredibly popular line of George Foreman indoor grills.

taken from: [30.10.2013]

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

This Day in History: Oct 29, 1948: The Safsaf massacre.

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The Safsaf massacre occurred on October 29, 1948, when the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) captured the Palestinian Arab village of Safsaf in the Galilee. The village was defended by the Arab Liberation Army's Second Yarmuk Battalion.

Safsaf was the first village to fall in Operation Hiram, the aim of which, according to the IDF, was to "destroy the enemy in the central Galilee 'pocket,' to take control of the whole of the Galilee and to establish a defense line on the country's northern border."[1] The village was attacked by two platoons of armored cars and a tank company from the 7th Brigade, and a fierce battle lasted from the evening until seven o'clock the next morning.[2]


 Safsaf - صفصاف : Zionist gangs monitoring\shelling by mortars Safsaf village just before the massacre(Oct 28 1948)


Evidence of a massacre in which 52-64 villagers were killed by the IDF comes from several contemporaneous Israeli government sources and Arab oral history. The evidence suggests that 52 men had their hands tied, were shot and killed, and were buried in a pit. Several women were allegedly raped, including a 14-year-old, and possibly killed.[3] At least two internal inquiries were initiated during 1948-9 by the IDF, but their reports remain classified.

 Safsaf - صفصاف : Town of Safsaf #3 provided by Mr. Nayef Naser Ahmad Zaghmout.

Safsaf - صفصاف : Houses of Safsaf #2 provided by Mr. Nayef Naser Ahmad Zaghmout.

Massacre allegations

Israeli accounts

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A key source are the diaries of Yosef Nahmani, a senior officer in the Haganah, who was also director of the Jewish National Fund in Eastern Galilee from 1935 until 1965. He visited Safsaf or the area around it on November 6, accompanied by the Israeli Minority Affairs minister Bechor-Shalom Sheetrit. The men were briefed by Immanuel Friedman, a representative of the Minority Affairs ministry, who talked about "the cruel acts of our soldiers." The Nachmani diary was released by the Israeli government in the early 1980s. It had been published before, but with the passages about the massacre omitted.[3]

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On November 6, 1948, Nachmani wrote: "In Safsaf, after ... the inhabitants had raised a white flag, the [soldiers] collected and separated the men and women, tied the hands of fifty-sixty fellahin [peasants] and shot and killed them and buried them in a pit. Also, they raped several women..." After listing alleged atrocities in other villages—Eilaboun, Farradiyya, and Saliha—Nachmani writes: "Where did they come by such a measure of cruelty, like Nazis? ... Is there no more humane way of expelling the inhabitants than by such methods?"[4]

Moshe Erem reported on the massacre to a meeting of the Mapam Political Committee but his words were removed from the minutes. According to notes of the meeting taken by Aharon Cohen, Erem spoke of: "Safsaf 52 men tied together with a rope. Pushed down a well and shot. 10 killed. Women pleaded for mercy. 3 cases of rape . . . . A girl of 14 raped. Another four killed."[5]

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Arab accounts

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The Israeli accounts in broad detail are supported by Arab witnesses who told their stories to historians. According to Nafez Nazzal, who interviewed survivors in Ain al-Hilweh camp in 1973, witnesses spoke of four rapes and the murder of about 70 men. Villagers said that when the attack began on the village, the militiamen were braced to defend it but were surprised by a three-pronged assault. One militiaman said later: "We did not expect them to fight on three fronts. When none of the Arab armies joined the fighting, we retreated, together with the ALA volunteers to Lebanon. We left behind most of the villagers, many dead or injure...."[6]

Those left behind said that Israeli soldiers had entered Safsaf around sunrise and ordered the villagers to line up in a spot in the northern part of the village. One villager told Nazzal: "As we lined up, a few Jewish soldiers ordered four girls to accompany them to carry water for the soldiers. Instead, they took them to our empty houses and raped them. About seventy of our men were blindfolded and shot to death, one after the other, in front of us. The soldiers took their bodies and threw them on the cement covering of the village's spring and dumped sand on them." In later days, Israeli troops visited the village, telling the inhabitants that they should forget what had occurred and could stay in their homes. But they began to leave under cover of the night towards Lebanon, about four at a time, until Safsaf was empty.[7][8]


  1. Jump up ^ Morris 2008, p. 341.
  2. Jump up ^ Khalidi, p. 491.
  3. ^ Jump up to: a b Morris 1995, p. 53.
  4. Jump up ^ see Zertal, 2005, p. 171; Morris, 2004, p. 500; Morris 1995, p. 55.
  5. Jump up ^ Morris, 2004, p. 500.
  6. Jump up ^ Nazzal 1948, pp. 93-95
  7. Jump up ^ Nazzal, p.93-95
  8. Jump up ^ Khalidi, p.491, mostly quoting Nazzal.

 Taken from: [29.10.2013]

Monday, October 28, 2013

This Day in History: Oct 28, 1886: Statue of Liberty dedicated


The Statue of Liberty, a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States, is dedicated in New York Harbor by President Grover Cleveland.


Originally known as "Liberty Enlightening the World," the statue was proposed by the French historian Edouard de Laboulaye to commemorate the Franco-American alliance during the American Revolution.

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Designed by French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, the 151-foot statue was the form of a woman with an uplifted arm holding a torch. Its framework of gigantic steel supports was designed by Eugene-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc and Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, the latter famous for his design of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

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 construction of statue of liberty



 The Statue Of Liberty being assembled in Paris - how the statue of liberty built
 Statue of Liberty and dedicated on October 28, 1886. 4

In February 1877, Congress approved the use of a site on New York Bedloe's Island, which was suggested by Bartholdi. In May 1884, the statue was completed in France, and three months later the Americans laid the cornerstone for its pedestal in New York Harbor. In June 1885, the dismantled Statue of Liberty arrived in the New World, enclosed in more than 200 packing cases. Its copper sheets were reassembled, and the last rivet of the monument was fitted on October 28, 1886, during a dedication presided over by President Cleveland and attended by numerous French and American dignitaries.
 426561.  October 28, 1886, is the day the Statue of Liberty was dedicated.

On the pedestal was inscribed "The New Colossus," a sonnet by American poet Emma Lazarus that welcomed immigrants to the United States with the declaration, "Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, / The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. / Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. / I lift my lamp beside the golden door." In 1892, Ellis Island, adjacent to Bedloe's Island, opened as the chief entry station for immigrants to the United States, and for the next 32 years more than 12 million immigrants were welcomed into New York harbor by the sight of "Lady Liberty." In 1924, the Statue of Liberty was made a national monument, and in 1956 Bedloe's Island was renamed Liberty Island. The statue underwent a major restoration in the 1980s.


taken from: [28.10.2013]




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