December 01, 2022

#ThrowbackThursday – 1 December

Sparks may seem small, but it can take only one to become a great fire. One moment in your life can become the catalyst for bigger and (perhaps) better things. Nurture your spark, and you’ll be amazed at the strength and width of the fire that you make.

On that note, here are three things that went down in history on 1 December:

1955 – Staying Seated

One of the most significant moments in the history of the US Civil Rights Movement occurred on this day 67 years ago – the day when an African American woman did not give up her seat to a White passenger on a bus.

Rosa Parks of Tuskegee, Alabama was a 42-year-old seamstress and activist who was seated on a bus in downtown Montgomery on the evening of 1 December. Both sections of the bus – designated for “Whites” and “Coloureds”, respectively – were full. After stopping for several white passengers, he noticed that a couple of them were seatless, so he ordered passengers in the Coloured section (located at the back of the bus) to give up their seats for them.

By Alabama’s segregation law, African Americans were required to give up their seats to white passengers if need be … but Parks refused to, and so she broke the law. After all, she wrote in 1994, “I did not get on the bus to get arrested; I got on the bus to go home.”

Unfortunately, she would be arrested by a police officer immediately afterwards; she would be bailed out later that evening, lost her job and received death threats.

Nevertheless, Parks’ arrest had a huge impact on the Civil Rights Movement: it led to a 381-day boycott of the Montgomery bus system, plus it prompted the Supreme Court to ban segregation on public transportation in 1956. Bus sit-ins, boycotts and Freedom Rides were among the signature forms of protest used by activists throughout the movement. Parks continued to dedicate her life to civil rights and education activism until she died at the age of 92 in 2005.

1988 – Bhutto’s Daughter Makes History

For the first time in history, a woman became the first female leader of a Muslim country.

When Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who served as leader of Pakistan from 1971 and 1977, was deposed and executed by General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq, Bhutto’s daughter, Benazir (a postgraduate in international law), became the head of his party, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). From 1979 to 1984, she would remain under house arrest.

Thereafter, Bhutto left the country for England in exile, albeit still retaining her leadership position of the PPP. From afar, she became one of the primary opponents of President Zia and his regime. It wasn’t long before Bhutto returned to Pakistan when President Zia died in a plane crash in August 1988, prompting a national election – the PPP won the majority of seats in the National Assembly, allowing Bhutto to become the country’s new leader.

She was inaugurated on 1 December as Pakistan’s prime minister and the head of its first civilian government since 1977 – the first woman to achieve such a feat in a Muslim country.

Bhutto’s time in office was divisive, mainly due to her being accused of corruption and being secular. However, she was popular in Western countries for her liberalist stance and for championing women’s rights. She would be assassinated in 2007 by a suicide bomber.

2003 – A Premiere Worthy of Kings

If you had to erase memories of your favourite movie(s) so that you can watch it and fall in love with it all over again, which one would you choose? For some people, they would tell you it would be the entire “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

The crowning glory of the epic fantasy franchise was “The Return of the King”, which saw Frodo making his final leg in the journey of destroying the One Ring and the Fellowship taking on Sauron’s forces (and, of course, the return of the king to Gondor).

“The Return of the King” premiered on 1 December 2003 in Wellington, New Zealand (director Peter Jackson’s home country, and the filming location of all three flicks), and the premiere itself was a glittering affair to match the pomp and circumstance. Per Chameleon Events, one of the main event organisers, over 250 000 people filled “the streets, balconies and rooftops to catch a glimpse of the red carpet and its star-studded line-up.”

“The World Premiere for the final film of the trilogy was a celebration of the success of all three movies, totaling nine years of work,” says Chameleon Events. “The premiere was but one day in a week’s long visit by the many cast and crew, with multiple activities and constant requirements from the visiting guests, culminating in the largest film premiere ever.

“The premiere boasted the world’s longest red carpet ever at over 421 metres, had 2 000 premiere screening guests and 2 500 after-party guests.”

Don’t forget the 2 500 bags of popcorn, 27 000 party nibbles, and a 12-tonnes’ worth of Fellbeast in and among the other premiere essentials!

Heh, nevermind the movie – we wouldn’t mind reliving a film premiere like that!

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