1st December 1976 The Filth and the Fury

"You dirty fucker"

Today we recall the bizarre events of thirty-nine years ago, in which television presenter Bill Grundy – clearly ill-prepared for the motley posse sat before him, and possibly himself quite drunk – half-wittedly and quite inadvertently handed to the already notorious … Continue reading

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2nd December 1859 the Martyrdom of John Brown

The last moments of John Brown

Today we honour a controversial World Martyr. A man so fervently opposed to racism that he was willing to die for it… but also to kill for it. A white man who killed white men – and sacrificed his own life … Continue reading

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2nd December 1547 the Death of Hernán Cortés

Hernán "What a Killer" Cortés

“He came dancing across the water with his galleons and guns, Looking for the new world in that palace in the sun”- from Cortez the Killer by Neil Young Hernán (Hernando) Cortés was a glory-seeking, ruthless murderer capable of barbaric cruelty, who … Continue reading

Posted in Tyrants | 6 Comments

3rd December 1854 The Eureka Stockade

Eureka Insurgents swear allegiance to the Southern Cross

The history of Australia shares many key similarities with America – colonialisation, multi-cultural settlement and genocidal atrocities meted out on its indigenous peoples. But colonial Australia, unlike America, was not distinguished by legendary rebellions and revolution. In fact, the event we … Continue reading

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4th December 1969 The Murder of Fred Hampton

The murderous Chicago Police Officers cannot contain their glee as they carry the body of Fred Hampton

Forty-six years ago today – Fred Hampton, the 21-year-old deputy chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party and the most inspiring young African-American leader to emerge in the wake of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. – … Continue reading

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5th December 1931 The Suicide of Vachel Lindsay


Today we lament the tragic suicide eighty-four years ago of Vachel Lindsay, the Visionary Illinois poet whose intriguingly itinerant ‘Johnny Appleseed’ lifestyle, visionary essays and paintings, slew of gritty epic, para-religious poems, and the extravagant and declamatory public manner in which … Continue reading

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6th December 1989 The Montreal Massacre


Twenty-six years ago today, a woman-hater named Marc Lépine went on a gendercidal rampage at Montreal’s prestigious École Polytechnique. Armed with a Sturm Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic rifle and a hunting knife, 25-year-old Lépine – a failed application to the elite engineering … Continue reading

Posted in Atrocities | 2 Comments

7th December 1985 The Death of Robert Graves

Robert Graves

Today we pay tribute to the extraordinary English poet, novelist, translator and scholar, Robert Graves  – a literary giant, who died thirty years ago on this day. Seemingly effortlessly, Robert Graves’ career straddled vast tracts of time, his biography featuring … Continue reading

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8th December 1980 the Murder of John Lennon


Today we pay tribute to Beatle John Lennon, who was thirty-five years ago shot to death outside his New York City apartment building. It is not the role of this On This Deity entry to heap upon Lennon’s tragically early … Continue reading

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9th December 1987 The First Intifada

Demonstration in front of the Dome of the Rock at the beginning of the First Intifada

Today we mark the beginning of the first Palestinian Intifada in 1987. Various end dates are cited, usually falling between the Madrid Peace Conference of 1991 and the Mehola Junction bombing of 1993, but arguably the conditions and enmities created … Continue reading

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9th December 1996 the Death of Mary Leakey

Mary Leakey

No matter who we are and what we think, the beautiful truth is that we are all children of Africa. It was in no small part the painstaking work of Mary Leakey that revealed this. For more than 50 years … Continue reading

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10th December 1907 The Brown Dog Riots

The 1906 Memorial to the Brown Dog

It can be surprising to discover that the largest, most controversial and violent riot in Britain concerning the emotive issue of animal rights occurred not in recent years, but in 1907. And the most vociferous and heated protagonists were not … Continue reading

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11th December 1981 El Mozote Massacre


Today we recall the 1981 El Mozote Massacre – the largest killing of civilians during El Salvador’s brutal twelve-year civil war – in which nearly the entire 800-plus population of the small village of El Mozote and its surrounding hamlets … Continue reading

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12th December 1982 Greenham Common Peace Women ‘Embrace the Base’


  The 12th December 1982 was cold. Not really the kind of day to be hanging about outside unless there is something you really have to do. But there was something that I and thousands of other women really, really … Continue reading

Posted in Dissent, Heroines | 6 Comments

13th December 1937 The Rape of Nanking

Severed heads at Nanking. No genuinely representative photograph of the genuinely shocking Nanking atrocities were deemed suitable for this entry. It is not the policy of On This Deity to illustrate atrocities with any matter that could be deemed pornographic in its grotesqueness.

Today we lament the tragic Rape of Nanking, in which the recently Westernized & ‘modernized’ Japanese army – themselves less than a century out of their fiercely backward-looking Samurai past, and each soldier reeling from the still cruelly harsh authoritarian … Continue reading

Posted in Atrocities | 7 Comments

14th December 1825 The Decembrist Revolt

Monument at the execution site of the five leaders of the Decembrist Revolt

Today marks the anniversary of the Decembrist Rising – a short-lived revolt of officers in the Czarist army in 1825. In many respects doomed to failure, the revolt has a historic significance that outweighs the actual events and marks a … Continue reading

Posted in Revolution | 4 Comments

15th December 1890 The Death of Sitting Bull

"I wish it to be remembered that I was the last man of my tribe to surrender my rifle." - Sitting Bull

Today we lament the death of Sitting Bull, the legendary Hunkpapa Sioux chief and arguably the most famous-ever Native American, murdered by Indian “police” one hundred and twenty-four years ago today during a bungled effort to arrest the 59-year-old spiritual … Continue reading

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16th December 1773 The Boston Tea Party

Depiction of the Boston Tea Party

At nine o’clock on the night of 16th December 1773, a group of angry Bostonians disguised as Mohawk Indians and armed with tomahawks boarded three British ships anchored at Griffin’s Wharf in Boston harbour. Urged on by thousands of cheering … Continue reading

Posted in Dissent, Revolution | 3 Comments

17th December 1830 the Death of Simon Bolivar

Simon Bolivar

“I swear before you, I swear before the God of my fathers, I swear by my fathers, I swear by my honour, I swear by my country that I will not rest, body or soul, until I have broken the … Continue reading

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17th December 2010  The Self-Immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi

Mohamed Bouazizi

What a magic carpet ride it’s been in recent years for our brothers and sisters in North Africa and the Middle East. Egypt’s Mubarak-led police state deposed, Libya’s mad dog Gaddafi fittingly gunned down in a sewer. And the struggle … Continue reading

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18th December 2011 the Death of Vaclav Havel

"Truth and love must prevail over lies and hate." - Václav Havel

A tribute to Czech revolutionary hero Václav Havel will appear here shortly.

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19th December 1940 The Birth of Phil Ochs

Phil Ochs

  The cover of Phil Ochs 1969 album, Rehearsals For Retirement, is one of the most powerful images of any 60s album. Ochs is pictured in front of the flag with a Revolutionary War rifle slung over his shoulder. Beneath … Continue reading

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20th December 1973  Operation Ogre

"One more pothole, one less asshole"

Forty-two years ago today, Spain moved a significant step closer to liberation from its protracted state of fascistic tyranny when General Francisco Franco’s named political successor – the recently appointed prime minister, Luis Carrero Blanco, otherwise known as “the Ogre” … Continue reading

Posted in Dissent, World Events | 7 Comments

21st December 1907 The Santa Maria School Massacre

The Santa Maria School in Iquique, Chile, circa 1907

On this day 1907 in the city of Iquique, some 3000 striking workers and their families were brutally massacred by the Chilean army on government orders. This state-sanctioned crime was subsequently suppressed for nearly one hundred years; if not for … Continue reading

Posted in Atrocities | 6 Comments

22nd December 1894 The Dreyfus Affair

Depiction of the public degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus

Post-Nazism, post-Holocaust, it’s easy to forget that it was not Berlin, but Paris – the cultural capital of Europe – that played shameful host to the first outpouring of modern political anti-Semitism. For it was on this day in 1894 that … Continue reading

Posted in World Events | 6 Comments

23rd December 1888 Vincent van Gogh Mutilates His Ear

Self-Portrait with bandaged ear

On this day in 1888 in Arles in southern France, Vincent van Gogh performed the most infamous act of self-mutilation in art history. He cut off part of his left ear lobe. From that point on, the world pointed, laughed … Continue reading

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24th December  Christmas Eve

Let us on this Christmas Eve make note that tomorrow we once again celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25th, that date stabilised by the early Christian Church in order to benefit from that same day’s previous pagan … Continue reading

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25th December 2006 the Death of James Brown

James Brown

Today we pay tribute to James Brown – the legendary Godfather of Soul and self-proclaimed  ‘Hardest Working man in Showbusiness’ – whose death nine years ago robbed us of a true World Artist and Culture Hero of the highest order, a … Continue reading

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26th December 1985 the Martyrdom of Dian Fossey

The extraordinary Dian Fossey

Thirty years ago this night, Dian Fossey – legendary zoologist and champion of Africa’s mountain gorillas – was brutally murdered in the bedroom of her isolated cabin, high in Rwanda’s Virunga Mountains. Her lifeless body with its skull split open … Continue reading

Posted in Heroines | 14 Comments

27th December 2007 The Assassination of Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto

On 27th December 2007, Benazir Bhutto – twice Prime Minister of Pakistan and the first democratically-elected female leader of any Muslim country – was assassinated as she left an election rally in Rawalpindi. Mysteriously done to death by either the assassin’s … Continue reading

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28th December 1937 The Birth of the Irish Republic

Éamon de Valera at the inauguration of the new Irish Constitution

At one minute before midnight on December 28th 1937 the Irish constitution passed into law and the Republic of Ireland (or Éire) was born. Although it has been described as a revolutionary act itself, the passing of the constitution was … Continue reading

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29th December 1926 the Death of Rainer Maria Rilke

Rainer Maria Rilke

Today we pay tribute to Rainer Maria Rilke, who died of leukaemia eighty-nine years ago at the age of fifty-one. In the age of disillusionment, Rilke was a mystic who pondered the Big Questions – life, love, meaning and death … Continue reading

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29th December 1916  the Death of Grigori Rasputin

Rasputin: Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know

The death on this day in 1916 of Gregory Rasputin left a legacy as full of myth and misinformation – along with some bizarre truths – as his life had been. Poisoned with five times the usual lethal dose of … Continue reading

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30th December 1896 the Execution of Jose Rizal

Jose Rizal

One hundred and eighteen years ago today, José Rizal – the “George Washington of the Philippines” – was executed by the Spanish Army following a false conviction for rebellion, sedition and conspiracy. Rizal had devoted all of his brief adult life … Continue reading

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New Year’s Eve

The Future is Now. Happy New Year.

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