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Monthly Archives: February 2016

Prof. Copernicus thinks I am right (Last of 2 parts)

“I’m sorry, if you were right, I’d agree with you.”
Robin Williams

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — Three big historical events in February, March and April juxtaposed in the calendar of topics Professor Jozef Copernicus wanted to discuss with me one breezy afternoon in the blizzard-drenched Central Park.
First was the February 22-25, 1986 “People Power” EDSA Revolution in the Philippines; second, the March 15, 4 B.C. “Ides of March” in Rome; and third, the April 15, 1865 assassination of Abraham Lincoln in Washington D.C.
In the first article, I narrated to Prof. Copernicus why the Philippines had a bloodless revolution and how prayers worked wonders and averted heavy casualties in EDSA. February topic settled.
For March, Prof. Copernicus came out swinging: “Who were the conspirators in Julius Caesar’s murder and why it was dubbed the ‘Ides of March’?”
I quickly recalled the effervescent Brutus.
“Brutus!” I muttered. “Brutus and Cassius.”
“Who else?” chortled Prof. Copernicus while rushing forward, his left eyebrow twerking.

SENATORS

APV: “As many as 60 senators conspired to kill Caesar but not all of them participated in the actual assault inside the Theater of Pompey.”
Prof. Copernicus: “How about Brutus and Cassius?
APV: “According to William Shakespeare and Plutarch, while the senators and Cassius were starting to stab Caesar, who was caught unprepared, he backtracked and tried to seek refuge when he saw Brutus hoping the latter would shield or defend him. All of a sudden, Brutus stabbed him in the back. Surprised, Caesar turned his back and chided his adopted son, ‘Et tu, Brute?’ or ‘you also, Brutus?”
Prof. Copernicus: “Right. Caesar died on the spot. Nobody saved him?”
APV: “He slumped dead in front of Pompey’s statue and Mark Antony, his trusted bodyguard who was outside, failed to save him.”
Prof. Copernicus: “And the Ides of March?”
APV: “A soothsayer had earlier warned Caesar would be harmed in (or before) the Ides of March. He laughed off the seer’s warning and proceeded to the Theater of Pompey.”

CONSPIRACY

Exit March and Rome. Enter April and Washington D.C. Conspiracy to kill Lincoln.
Prof. Copernicus: “You said Lincoln’s murder was a result of conspiracy? All I know is he was assassinated inside a theater by an actor, a lone gunman by the name of John Booth.”
APV: “John Wilkes Booth was the gunman but up to 10 people were hanged in public after trial when they were found guilty of conspiracy.”
“The execution of the conspirators became controversial,” I proceeded, “because a woman named Mary Surratt was among those convicted and hanged. She protested her innocence up to the last hours and became unruly, refusing to be hanged simultaneously with the nine others.”

HOUSE

I added: “Her only crime was she owned the boarding house used by the conspirators to plan the assassination. I learned about this account in a book I read inside the Barns and Noble bookstore in windy Chicago in 2008.”
Prof. Copernicus: “It’s not yet clear to me if it was a conspiracy. You mentioned the name Mary Surratt. She was hanged also? Honestly, I didn’t know it was a conspiracy and a woman had been meted a death penalty. To settle the confusion, can you Google Lincoln’s assassination and check if it was really a conspiracy and if a Mary Surratt was among those convicted and hanged?”
APV: “Yes, professor. I will do that now.”
I took my mini iPad and Googled “Conspiracy Lincoln assassination.”
APV: “Here, professor. It’s a conspiracy and (I pointed to him) here’s the name of Mary Surratt: (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/biography/assassination-co-conspirators/)”
Prof. Copernicus (reading the link on the mini-iPad): “OK. You just taught me a piece of history. You are right. You win.”

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Posted by on February 10, 2016 in CULTURE AND HERITAGE, HISTORY

 

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Prof. Copernicus thinks I am right (Part 1)

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” Thomas Jefferson

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — Around past three o’clock one afternoon inside the cold Central Park, Professor Jozef Copernicus told me he instantly recalled having visited Manila after the 1986 EDSA Revolution.
“It was my first and only visit in your country,” the professor mused. “I was a speaker in an international conference held in a hotel by the bay (Manila Hotel?)”
Professor Copernicus thought the Marcos family made the right decision to fly to Hawaii when the mob was already a cinch way from capturing Malacanang Palace evening of February 25, 1986.
The late former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, the professor insisted, should also be credited “for aborting a bloodshed that would have tarnished the reputation of your country (as the only Catholic in Asia).”

NO CASUALTY

“It was supposed to be a revolution, right? But why nobody was shot; why no one was killed?” Prof. Copernicus inquired like a classroom teacher doing a recitation test.
“Nobody was killed, yes. There was no bloodshed because President Marcos rejected the appeal of Armed Forces Chief, Gen. Fabian Ver, to shoot the rebel soldiers led by Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and (AFP Vice Chief of Staff) Gen. Fidel Ramos, who were being protected by the People Power,” I answered looking straight at both his eyes.
Prof. Copernicus: “And they were also being protected by nuns praying the rosary and holding the statues of Virgin Mary, right?”
APV: “That’s correct, Professor! The nuns also gave flowers to government soldiers manning the tanks.”

RELIGIOUS

Prof. Copernicus: “Filipinos are mostly Christians and deeply religious by nature?”
APV: “We were the only country in the world that has not experienced a bloody revolution; and basically we are mostly religious, having been Christianized by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 at the time when Martin Luther was starting to spread the protestant movement in Europe.”
Prof. Copernicus: “We are talking about the EDSA Revolution, which happened only more than 20 years ago, but you are jumping to the events that happened more than 500 years ago. You are mixing the dates.”
APV: “I’m sorry, professor. But they are related to the hypothesis on how we, Filipinos, became a Christian country.” (To be continued)

 

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