Khalifa Bilqasim Haftar and Omar al-Hariri, two of the leaders of the reportedly somewhat disorganized military opposition to Col. Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, are not only mentioned in current news reports (see the Sunday, April 3, 2011, edition of The Washington Post), but also in the pages of translations produced and published in the 1980s and ‘90s by the U.S. Foreign Broadcast Information Service.
Here are a couple of the dozens of reports on then Col. Haftar from the FBIS Daily Reports.
First, consider this March 28, 1988 report on Col. Haftar’s decision to join the anti-Gaddafi forces.
What do the following seven people have in common: Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, Peter Ayodele Curtis Joseph, Modibo Keita, Shafie Ahmed el-Sheikh, Samora Machel, Agostinho Neto, Sam Nujoma and Nelson Mandela?
Well surely many things indeed. For example, if you said they were all important African leaders in the second half of the twentieth century, you would be correct. Each, however, in addition to any other commonalities, received the Lenin Peace Prize—the Soviet Union’s counterpart to the Nobel Peace Prize.
Articles and radio broadcasts monitored, translated, and published in the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports discuss the Lenin Peace Prize awards. By searching on the phrase “Lenin Peace Prize” and limiting results to items from Africa, one gets 22 results in the Readex digital edition of FBIS Daily Reports and Annexes, 1941-1996. Searching for “Lenin Peace Prize” in the Readex database without limiting results by location retrieves some 268 results.
Here is one example from the Accra Ghana Domestic Service on how the award was perceived in that country in 1962.
Suppose there were an information source from which you could learn practically everything about how the world’s 191 countries operate? What makes these global citizens tick? Why do they do what they do?
Why, for instance, did Saddam Hussein invade Kuwait in the first place? And why did some military experts and historians compare that invasion to Hitler’s conquest of Czechoslovakia in 1938? How did the 1994 civil war in Rwanda result in the massacre of half a million people? What forces keep the Middle East in perpetual turmoil?
FBIS Daily Report Annexes, 1974-1996is an essential complement to FBIS Daily Reports—the fully searchable broadcast and news resource featuring first-hand reporting from around the globe.
This new international archive offers an additional 7,500 items, each designated "For Official Use Only" and previously unavailable outside the intelligence community and other Federal agencies. The Annexes were not an item in the Federal Depository Library Program, which distributed the Daily Report in microfiche from 1978 to 1996. No institution other than the Central Intelligence Agency holds all of the Annexes.
“The Police, in Revolt; the Jails, Open; the Nation, in Riot; the Families, in Dismay” – Thus runs the headline of Mexico’s El Diario on November 25th, 1911, as the Mexican Revolution raged in the capital. As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, it is both sobering and edifying to look back at the Revolution that shook Mexico a century ago, the reverberations of which would be felt across the Americas for decades.
It is especially edifying to look back at this revolution from the many perspectives that can be found in the newspapers of both Mexico and the United States. On the same day, November 25th, 1911, El Imparcial took a very different view of the situation—not surprisingly, as it was a propaganda organ of Mexico’s embattled dictator, Porfirio Diaz.
This year marks the 200th anniversary of the initial uprising that would lead to the independence of Mexico from Spain. 2010 is also the 100th anniversary of the Mexican revolution of 1910, which overthrew President Porfirio Diaz. Both revolutions lasted around a decade.
The 1810 uprising is traditionally thought to have begun on September 16. This article published on December 20, 1810 in Boston’s Independent Chronicle shows how early news of the uprising was presented in the United States. It’s short and to the point.
On February 23, 1811, Baltimore’s Federal Gazette contained this translation of an article from the November 20, 1810 issue of the Spanish-language Mexico Gazette. The original article is a first-person account by Brigadier Don Felix Calleja of his actions in the field against the insurgents. Everything traveled slowly then, not just news. Publishers had no fear of reprinting materials from wherever they could get them.
When one thinks of Prince Otto von Bismarck, 19th-century Germany’s Iron Chancellor, birthday cakes and greetings do not first come to mind. But they did — at least the birthday greetings — in perhaps an unexpected place and certainly in a most unusual way in a Chicago newspaper in 1874.
On April 1, 1874, Bismarck — still not fully recovered from a serious illness contracted the year before (not nervous exhaustion from overwork in redesigning the European continent but rather a case of gout) — celebrated his 60th birthday in Berlin amid much adulation from the new Germany, his enthusiastic nationalist supporters, and foreign dignitaries. Just a little more than a month later, the Chicago Inter Ocean newspaper published on May 2, 1874 a macaronic poem [i.e. a poem, usually in Latin, interspersed with vernacular words or phrases] celebrating Bismarck’s birthday. It is, I think, a poem which raises at least a couple of questions.
A Readex breakfast event during the 2010 American Library Association annual conference included a presentation by Steve Daniel, an internationally known authority on government documents.
In "Dredges, Gunboats, and Mosquitoes," Daniel traced the history of the idea of a water route through Central America as it is documented in the U.S. Congressional Serial Set. Daniel writes:
"The building of the Panama Canal was without doubt one of the great engineering and technological achievements of the modern era, equal in every respect to the first transcontinental railroad and putting a man on the moon. Its completion in 1914 was the realization of a dream that dates back to the early years of European settlement in the New World.
"Because of the Serial Set’s importance as a collection of legislative history materials, the even greater importance of the 19th and early 20th century Serial Set as a fundamental resource for research on the major and minor issues of American political, economic and social history is sometimes overlooked. Highlighted here are only a small number of the hundreds of publications in in the Serial Set that might be cited on the Panama Canal."
Here is Daniel’s PowerPoint. A video of his live presentation will be available here soon.
"Whether it’s biographical research on Civil War generals and politicians, the history of civil rights and women’s suffrage in America, or the building an interoceanic canal, the Serial Set is a logical place to begin."