Monday 26 August 2013

Anjeze Anna Anthony

An unlikely trio of As, clearly all women, all having something to celebrate today.  You'll probably recognise at least one of them, especially as the title gives them each a name.

Pause for effect:

L, a woman who left her home and family in the Ottoman Empire/Albania/Macedonia at the age of 18 to learn English in Rathfarnham/Ráth Fearnáin/Dublin16 (NALOPKT), and never saw her mother or sister again.  She finished up living and dying amongst the dispossessed of Kolkata/কলকাতা/Calcutta and won the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize.  Although she'd probably rate more getting beatified by Pope JP II in 2003.  It's her birthday today.

C, Anna Ulyanova "Russian revolutionary and stateswoman" and older sister of Vladimir Ilych Lenin.  Who, apart from this rather attractive photograph, is almost invisible on the interweb.  That sort of sums up how we recognise statespeople if they are women, foreign and eclipsed by a more famous male sibling.  I'm sure she offered more to the world, almost certainly changed the world more than Hot Spice, Spicey Spice, Nicey Spice, Dingbat Spice and Shepherd Spice.  Yet almost the only thing the interweb has to say is that she wrote a letter to Stalin in 1932 grassing her family up as being 1/4 Jewish. Which was an interesting idea given the cultural antisemitism in Russia ("pogrom" is a Russian word) - the letter was "archived" by the KGB for 80 years.  It's her birthday today too and here's her birthchart to prove it.  Perhaps my Russian readers can fill in some details as a comment?

R, if you're American and a woman, you owe a debt to Susan B. Anthony, who was prosecuted for voting in a Presidential election in 1872, just after the XIVth and XVth amendments were added to the constitution. The XIVth amendment starts, in Section 1, deliciously gender-neutral "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."  Susan B used this as an argument to assert the  rights of women to vote, although XIV Section 2 rather implies that this horse was stalled at the starting gate: "Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States . . . in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State."  And in those days you could hardly bring the guns of the XVth amendement to bear "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude".  Because it was clear then that the 'condition of servitude' of women was ongoing rather than previous.  ANNyway, on 26th August 1920, 14 years after Susan B Anthony died and almost 50 since her trial, the 19th Amendment was finally inserted into the US Constitution: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." Reason indeed to be cheerful. Bonnets Off!

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