Friday, July 19, 2013

Today -100: July 19, 1913: Of atrocities and battles in Seattle

The NYT assesses yesterday’s Greek claims of Bulgarian atrocities, and just isn’t sure which racial stereotype it wants to go with. On the one hand, the Greeks “have never been noted for slavish adherence to veracity,” but on the other, “the ethnic origin of the Bulgarians... lend[s] something of credibility to the accusations,” although, the paper adds, the Turks are also to blame for anything that might have happened, since having been subjects of the Ottoman Empire for so long was “a dreadfully effective training in the art of emphasizing victory and lessening future opposition by wholesale massacre, made more impressive by ingenious torture.” In the end, the Times judiciously decides on “a suspension of judgment as to just how much more barbarous the Bulgarians are than their neighbors.”

Seattle Mayor George Cotterill has come under some criticism for not banning IWW street-corner speakers (as long as they don’t block traffic or display a red flag). Anyway, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, who is in town, made a speech praising the mayor of Boston for cracking down on lefties, adding that anyone who believes in the red flag should be driven out of the country. Daniels may not even have known that this was a local controversy and was just giving his standard red-baiting speech. The next day, 500 marines and sailors, with several thousand locals, attacked the headquarters of the Socialist Party and the IWW hall, burning furniture and destroying newspapers.

Mexican dictator Huerta sends Felix Díaz, his competitor for the office of president (should there ever be elections), to Japan as special ambassador, because Huerta is subtle like that.

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