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Alternate reality: If this week didn’t happen in history

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By Ridham Gambhir

Have you ever given a thought to what would have happened had this week not been there in the history of mankind?

Somebody born this week who made a difference in the world, would never have materialized. Someone who died after leaving a mark, would probably still be alive, while some occasions, political or social of utter importance would never have unfolded.

Let’s have a look at what happened and what-not happened this week (2-9 August) in history!

This week marks the birthday of the first African American President of the United States of America, Barack Obama. Imagine, had this man not been born, who would have planned the encounter of Osama Bin Laden? Let’s all raise our toast to Mr. President!

The first man to step on the moon and to enshrine his name in history, Neil Armstrong was born on 5th August 1930. Astronaut-Neil-Armstrong-dies-962541N2-x-large

Our Bollywood beauties, Kajol and Genelia D’ Souza share their birthdays with the Moon Kajol-beauty-secretsman. Blockbusters like Kucch Kucch Hota Hai and Dilwaale Dulhania Le jayenge would have never made their mark in the Indian cinema had Kajol, the unibrow beauty not been a part of it.

We all have seen that blonde woman holding her blowing white dress or stood next to her in the Madame Tussauds museum. Yes, we are indeed talking of the sensuous and gorgeous Marilyn Monroe. Sadly, this week witnessed the death of this enchanting beauty. So may be, if this week didn’t happen, many people would not complain about the absence of ‘real beauty’ in today’s world.tumblr_n7eyvuMGsM1sr7xmio1_r1_500

 

Kishore-Kumar_0 Ek ladki bheegi bhaagi si..  is reminiscent of the legendary actor, singer Kishore Kumar. This man is known for melodious contributions to the Indian cinema so much so that the Madhya Pradesh Government initiated a new award called the “Kishore Kumar Award” for anybody who has posed an exemplary performer in the Indian cinema.

Louis Vuitton, the founder of the plush leather brand Louis Vuitton celebrates his birthday this week. Imagine a world without LV! *sigh* *sigh* While Hugo Boss, the founder of the eponymous clothing company Hugo Boss bid his last farewell to the world this week.

Something as important as an underwear is given special value by Freshpair when it announced 5th August as International Underwear Day. Over the last 10 years the company has celebrated the holiday with New York City model events, massive underwear giveaways, a pop-up shop in Columbus Circle, and a Times Square runway show.NUD_header_main_001

The man who made communication easier and better, Graham Bell breathed his last on 2nd August,1922. So thank Bell for your phone bell!

The man behind the removal of Sourav Ganguly from the Indian Cricket Team, Greg Chappell also had his birthday this week. The latter shares his birthday with the “Indian Father of Green Revolution”, M.S.Swaminathan.gregchappell-getty

This week remembers fondly upon Rabindranath Tagore, the author of Jana Gana mana and Bangladesh’s Amar rabindranath-tagore-630-bioShonar Bangla, who died on 7th August 1941.He became the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913.

Hiroshima Day commemorates 6th August, 1941 the day when an atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, followed a few days later by another dropped on the city of Nagasaki. The two cities were destroyed and casualties, mostly civilians, were estimated at around 200,000, with many more people dying later from injuries and illness. Hiroshima Day is now a focus for anti-war and anti-nuclear discussions and demonstrations.

Photo credit: genius.com

With the enumeration of such memorable people and events, we ought to be thankful for the inclusion of this week in our calendar!

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Moon Dust Collected by Neil Armstrong during First Lunar Landing to be Auctioned in New York

The dust and some tiny rocks brought back to Earth in an ordinary-looking bag by the late astronaut is the first sample ever collected from Moon

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Moon dust collected by Neil Armstrong
The Apollo 11 Contingency Lunar Sample Return Bag used by astronaut Neil Armstrong, to be offered at auction, is displayed at Sotheby's in New York, July 13, 2017. VOA
  • A symbol of America’s glory days in space is now valued at $2 million to $4 million at a New York auction house
  • Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, died in 2012 in Ohio
  • It’s one of 180 lots linked to space travel that Sotheby’s is auctioning off July 20 to mark the 48th anniversary of the pioneer lunar landing on that date in 1969

New York, July 14: Moon dust that Neil Armstrong collected during the first lunar landing was displayed Thursday at a New York auction house — a symbol of America’s glory days in space now valued at $2 million to $4 million.

The late astronaut brought the dust and some tiny rocks back to Earth in an ordinary-looking bag.

It’s one of 180 lots linked to space travel that Sotheby’s is auctioning off July 20 to mark the 48th anniversary of the pioneer lunar landing on that date in 1969.

The moon dust is the first sample of Earth’s satellite ever collected.

The bag has had a storied existence, a decades-long trajectory during which it was misidentified and nearly landed in the trash. About two years ago, it appeared in a seized assets auction staged on behalf of the U.S. Marshals Service. The owner, whose name has not been made public, purchased the treasure and sent it to NASA for testing.

ALSO READ: To Save Earth, NASA plans to Crash a Refrigerator-Sized Spacecraft

After a legal tussle, a federal judge granted the owner full rights over the curiosity.

Other items on the block are Armstrong’s snapshot of fellow Apollo 11 astronaut “Buzz” Aldrin standing on the moon, with an estimated value of $3,000 to $5,000.

A documented flight plan astronauts used to return to Earth is valued at $25,000 to $35,000.

In a photo valued at $2,000 to $3,000, astronaut Gene Cernan from Apollo 17 is seen rolling around in the lunar rover through a valley on the moon.

Capping the sale is a touch of humor: The Snoopy astronaut doll that was the mascot of the Apollo 10 crew, at an estimated pre-sale price of $2,000 to $3,000.

Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon. He died in 2012 in Ohio.

The first human to venture into outer space was Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, who orbited Earth in a spacecraft in April 1961.

Gagarin’s description of the planet — translated from Russian — is being offered as part of his observations on being in space, at an estimated price of $50,000 to $80,000.

Calling it “a magnificent picture,” he wrote: “The Earth had a very distinct and pretty blue halo. This halo could be clearly seen when looking at the horizon. It had a smooth transition from pale blue to blue, dark blue, violet and absolutely black.” (VOA)

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Japan commemorates 71st Anniversary of Hiroshima Nuclear Bombing on August 6

Washington argued the attacks were necessary to bring about a quicker end to the war and six days after the Nagasaki attack, Japan surrendered, ending the war

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, center left, puts his arm around Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, center right, after they and fellow G7 foreign ministers laid wreaths at the cenotaph at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan. Image source: VOA
  • The Hiroshima bombing killed around 140,000 people- either instantly or from radiation burns in the immediate aftermath
  • Another bomb was dropped on the port city of Nagasaki three days later, killing an estimated 70,000 residents
  • Obama was the first sitting U.S. president to visit the site, this year in 2016

About 50,000 people attended a ceremony on Saturday, August 6, 2016, at Hiroshima’s Peace Park near the bomb’s epicenter, marking the 71st anniversary of the U.S. nuclear bombing of Hiroshima that led to the end of World War.

Mayor Kazumi Matsui called on world leaders to visit the site, like U.S. President Barack Obama did in May, 2016.

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Like Obama, Matsui said that such visits “will surely etch the reality of the atomic bombings in each heart.”

The Hiroshima bombing killed around 140,000 people either instantly or from radiation burns in the immediate aftermath.

Hiroshima after the bombing. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Hiroshima after the bombing. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Another bomb was dropped on the port city of Nagasaki three days later, killing an estimated 70,000 residents.

Washington argued the attacks were necessary to bring about a quicker end to the war.  Six days after the Nagasaki attack, Japan surrendered, ending the war.

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When he visited the site, Obama said, “We have a shared responsibility to look directly in the eye of history. We must ask what we must do differently to curb such suffering again. We must re-imagine our connection to one another as members of the human race.”

Obama is the first sitting U.S. president to visit the bomb site.  He did not offer an apology for the bombing.  He had said he would not revisit then president Harry Truman’s decision.(VOA)

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Debate on morality regarding Barack Obama’s Historic Visit to Hiroshima

About 71 years ago, a mushroom shaped cloud lit up the sky over Hiroshima, and three days later over Nagasaki. Some 140,000 people in the two cities died within the year, and survivors and their children faced untold suffering due to radiation poisoning.

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, center left, puts his arm around Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, center right, after they and fellow G7 foreign ministers laid wreaths at the cenotaph at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan. Image source: VOA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTVH4JevrdI

During what may be his last tour of Asia, President Barack Obama will make history as the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, the site where the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb in wartime.

Even before the president sets foot on what many consider hallowed ground, the announcement has sparked new debate on the decision to drop the bomb, and whether the United States should apologize or if a U.S. president should even visit.  Obama is expected to make a statement from Hiroshima, and will likely have to navigate a symbolic minefield.

Nearly 71 years ago

It was a moment that literally changed the world nearly 71 years ago when a mushroom shaped cloud lit up the sky over Hiroshima, and three days later over Nagasaki.  Some 140,000 people in the two cities died within the year, and survivors and their children have faced untold suffering due to radiation poisoning.  The U.S. rationale for the decision was to bring years of Japanese aggression to a quick end, potentially saving many more lives than would have been lost in a U.S. invasion.  But many Japanese see it differently, saying innocent men, women and children were unnecessarily incinerated and poisoned.

Secretary of State John Kerry visited Hiroshima last month.  He said he was deeply moved and that “every human being” should visit the site.  Some experts think that should include the U.S. president, among them Chris Appy of the University of Massachusetts.  He told VOA: “I was very pleased that he decided to go.  I think just showing up is important symbolic act that many Japanese have wanted for a long time.”

But Appy says he thinks the United States should also apologize for the atomic bomb attacks, “I am disappointed that the president appears not willing to apologize.  After all I think in our personal lives, we consider it the height of maturity when an adult is willing to take responsibility and accountability for actions.  Particularly actions that lead to the suffering of the innocent victims.”

Others strongly disagree, including Brian Harding of the Center for American Progress, who told VOA, “The president will not be issuing an apology and the Japanese government is not asking for one either.”

Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims nuclear bombing. Image source: Wikipedia
Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims nuclear bombing. Image source: Wikipedia

‘Special Responsibility’ for atomic bomb use

White House officials have made clear that the president will not apologize.  White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, “What I think the president does appreciate is that President [Harry] Truman made this decision for the right reason.”

But Earnest said the United States does have a “special responsibility” as the only country to have ever used an atomic bomb to work tirelessly for nuclear non-proliferation.

McCain opposes visit

Others, including many older Americans and war veterans oppose Obama’s visit.

Republican Senator John McCain is a decorated Vietnam War veteran who ran against Obama in 2008 for the presidency.  He told VOA he simply does not see the point of the trip, “I’m not in the business of telling the President of the United States where to go.  But where, what is the purpose of it?  In some ways, you dredge up very unpleasant memories, but if the President wants to go somewhere he can.”

It is not yet clear whether the president will meet with any of the few remaining survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The president will be accompanied in Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.  They will lay a wreath, and Obama will make a statement.

The White House says the leaders will highlight the horrors of war and the need to work towards a world without nuclear weapons. (VOA)

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