The following are short intros to different kinds of people in history whose gutsy attitudes should be remembered and admired:
1869 – 1940
- While most women in the early 1920s were getting to grips with being allowed to vote, Emma Goldman was a full on anarchist, radical feminist, writer, philosopher and general pain in the arse to the establishment.
- Rather than blushing, she was shouting at the top of her lungs for birth control rights, free speech and free love, and she went on to be the first woman to found and edit an anarchist magazine, Mother Earth.
- An immigrant from Lithuania to the US, she attracted crowds of thousands to her public lectures on social reform. She was imprisoned for handing out leaflets on birth control and ‘inciting to riot’ and was eventually deported to Russia but moved around the world.
Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh
1882 – 1967
- Mossadegh was the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran from 1951 to 1953. He opposed and stood up to foreign intervention in Iran, namely corrupt oil deals that benefited the rich of Iran like the Shah, but not the people.
- He was the first of his kind to create a nationalization of Iran’s oil industry against the wishes of the British who made an exploitative amount of profit with the Anglo – Iranian oil company now known as BP.
- In a US and British government planned coup called Operation Ajax he was removed from power to be replaced by a leader more amiable to business interests. Now a label of ‘dictatorial theocracy’ dominates the headlines about the country, but many young people of Iran today, who aspire to democracy, look to the time when he was in power.
Lou Andreas – Salome
1861 – 1937
- Russian-born Salome was one of the key member of the Psychoanalysis movement and writer on literary criticism and philosophy ; and an enchanting intellectual female companion for the likes of Nietzsche and Freud.
- Her lack of regard for society’s moral conventions meant she enjoyed a live-in and traveling philosopher’s menage a trois with Paul Ree and Friedich Nietzche. Her ideas about God and morality matched if not surpassed the men; and she was still only in her early twenties.
- The obsession she stirred in Nietzche inspired some of his greatest works. But she was also a successful novelist herself, writing 15 books in her lifetime.
1745 – 1797
- Born in Nigeria, Olaudah, aged 11, was sold as a slave to a Royal Navy officer from the US. He set to work towards his freedom by learning to read and write while working as a slave. When he was sold to a merchant in London he earned money on the side and in 3 years saved up enough to buy his freedom.
- In the 1780s he traveled widely campaigning for the abolition of the slave trade and in 1789 was one of the first black writers to have a book published. The autobiography told of the horrors and inhuman treatment he suffered at the hands of slave owners and soon gained fame.
- He was a big influence to the UK lawmakers cause to abolish slavery. And he overcome racism in his personal life, to travel the world freely, become wealthy and marry an English woman and have two children.
1914 – 2000
- Hedy was a oxymoron of high achieving qualities – a major Hollywood star and also a scientist whose invention helped defeat the enemy in WW2 and later developed into today’s wireless communications technology for mobile phones and the internet.
- From Vienna, born to Jewish, Austrian-Hungarian parents, Hedy’s first husband was millionaire Fritz Mandl who manufactured shells and grenades. He also conducted research in control systems and entertained the likes of Hitler and Mussolini.
- Hedy escaped the marriage and moved to the USA. While working as an MGM star, she met co – inventor, George Anthal, and used what she learned from her ex to create a secret communications system for the allies, which was harder for the Nazis to detect and hack. It was this idea of frequency hopping which became an early version of spread spectrum – the modern day wireless technology we all use today.
By Jameela Oberman