Seeds of Fire: A People’s Chronology

Recalling events that happened on this day in history.
Memories of struggle, resistance and persistence.

Compiled by Ulli Diemer

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March 16, 1649
A large Iroquois war party destroys Huron villages in the vicinity of Lake Simcoe (near present-day Toronto). They then continue their invasion deeper into Huronia; by May 1, they have destroyed all the Huron/Wendat villages, and killed a large part of the Huron population. The Huron/Wendat survivors retreat to a barren island in Georgian Bay. Many of them die of starvation the following winter; the survivors flee to Quebec in the spring.
March 16, 1792  
Denmark becomes the first western country to outlaw the slave trade.
Related Topics: DenmarkSlave TradeSlavery
March 16, 1921
War Resisters International is founded, with sections in Britain, Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands. The founding declaration states “War is a crime against humanity. I am therefore determined not to support any kind of war and to strive for the removal of all causes of war.”
Related Topics: Anti-War MovementPeace Movement
March 16, 1968
The My Lai Massacre. American soldiers slaughter hundreds of unarmed civilians in the Vietnamese hamlets of My Lai and My Se. Most of the victims are women, children, infants, and elderly men. Many of the women are raped, and then mutilated after being killed. The U.S. military first covers up the event, as it routinely does in the case of war crimes. When news leaks out eighteen months later, it claims the deaths occurred during a fierce firefight and lies about the number of dead. Eventually under intense public pressure, the army charges 26 soldiers, and then acquits all but one. The only man convicted, Lt. William Calley, serves a three-and-a-half year sentence – under house arrest in his own house.
Noam Chomsky writes: “this was no isolated atrocity, but the logical consequence of a virtual war of extermination directed against helpless peasants: ‘enemies’, ‘reds’, ‘dinks’“.
Related Topics: MassacresU.S. MilitaryVietnam WarWar Crimes
March 16, 1988
Iraqi forces attack the Kurdish village of Halabja with poison gas, killing about 5,000 people, mostly women and children. This is part of Saddam Hussein’s al-Anfal campaign, in which more than 2000 villages and towns are emptied and levelled and tens of thousands are killed.
March 16, 2003
Rachel Corrie, a member of the International Solidarity Movement, is killed by an Israeli military bulldozer while attempting to stop the destruction of Palestinian homes.
Further Reading: Rachel Corrie Presente!

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