27th June

Seven Sleepers’ Day (Germany: how the weather is today predicts the next seven weeks, from the legend of the Seven Sleepers)

Helen Keller Day (the deaf-blind left-wing activist) – this video makes me weep, she was so amazing.

UK Armed Forces Day

Djibouti Independence Day:

Owned by France from 1894, when it was called French Somaliland,it was renamed the French Territory of the Afars and the Issas (catchy). In 1958 Djibouti voted to remain with France; however, France may have cheekily expelled the Somali residents who might have voted no in favour of joining next-door Somalia. In 1977, after two more referenda, Djibouti decided to be independent from France. I don’t know how to celebrate this day yet.

Tajikistan National Unity Day:

Tajik is a medieval Turk word for ‘Iranian/Persian-speaking people’. In the Iron Age it was ruled by the Kambojas, a kshatriya or warrior tribe of India; then it became part of the Persian Empire, the largest empire the world had ever seen at the time.

After Alexander the Great kicked the Persian Empire’s butt, it was part of the eastern end of the Greek Empire (this end was known as the Greco-Bactrian Empire). It came to have Arabic/Islamic and Chinese influences.

In the second half of the 19th century, Russia took contol. After the Imperial Russian Tsar was overthrown in 1917 and became the Soviet Union, basmachi or guerillas fought the Bolsheviks for independence. In 1929 Tajikistan became an separate republic, and when in 1991 the Sovient Union collapsed, Tajikstan declared itself independent.

Then it went through a lot of civil war, and most non-Muslims fled. By the 1994 elections, 100,000 people had died in the fighting and 1.2 million were refugees. Nowadays the country is mostly peaceful, but the world is keeping a close eye on it in case it starts sympathising with the Taliban of neighbouring Afghanistan.

Activities: Tajikstan has the highest dam in the world, Nurek. Can you build a dam? Their traditional folk arts include lots of cloth-making, embroidery and decorative wood-carving. Cook pilaf or manty (rice dish or dumplings).

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