On This Day
1907 – Černová massacre: Fifteen people are killed in the Hungary when a gunman opens fire on a crowd gathered at a church consecration, which leads to protests over the treatment of minorities in Austria-Hungary.
The Černová massacre (or Černová tragedy, Slovak: Černovská tragédia, Hungarian: Csernovai tragédia or Csernova Affair) was a shooting that happened in Csernova, Kingdom of Hungary (today Černová, part of Ružomberok, Slovakia) on 27 October 1907 in which 15 people were killed and many were wounded after gendarmes fired into a crowd of people gathering for the consecration of the local Catholic church. The shootings sparked protests in European and American press and turned world’s attention to the treatment of minorities in the Hungarian part of Austria-Hungary.
Outline of the events
On the initiative of Andrej Hlinka, the Slovak parish priest of nearby Ružomberok and a native of Černová, people of Černová decided to raise money for the construction of a new church. The locals raised 80,000 crowns and the collections received minor donations from the Slovak Americans as well. The construction started in April 1907 and by the autumn, the church was ready for consecration.
The locals wanted the church to be consecrated by Hlinka, however, he was at the time suspended by bishop Sándor Párvy and sentenced to two years of imprisonment due to his pro-Slovak agitation during the election campaign of 1906 and the subsequent conviction of incitement. The people of Černová thus demanded the consecration to be postponed until Hlinka would be able to perform the ceremony. The bishopric denied their request and two Magyar speaking priests were appointed in his stead. First Canon Anton Kurimsky and after his refusal, Dean Martin Pazurik of Likavka.
The ceremony was to take place on 27 October 1907. The official procession arrived at the village accompanied by a squad of 15 gendarmes. It was protested against by the locals, who attempted to block its way to the church to prevent Pazurik from consecrating. The demonstration was peaceful in nature   although some accounts report stone-throwing at a member of the gendarme escort. In panic the gendarme leader sergeant Ján Ladiczky, an ethnic Slovak, ordered his squad to open fire into the crowd without prior warning killing 15 of the protesting villagers, seriously wounding 12 and lightly injuring 40.
According to historian Roman Holec, the majority of the members of the Hungarian gendarmes involved in the shooting were of Slovak origin.
Many attempted to capitalize politically on the events, Czech and Slovak nationalists in general, and Hlinka in particular. On the one hand, Hlinka’s appeal against his 1906 verdict was rejected, thus, on 30 November 1907 Hlinka started to serve his jail term in the Csillagbörtön (Star Prison), Szeged. On the other hand, Hlinka appealed with success his suspension to the Holy See, so it was cancelled on 8 April 1909. When Hlinka left the prison, Bishop Párvy appointed him again to his Ružomberok parish, and Hlinka consecrated the church in Černová with Párvy’s consent.
The tragedy sparked protests in the European and US press and it turned the world’s attention to the attitude to the minorities in Hungary. Important protesting European personalities included the Norwegian Nobel Prize holder Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, the Oxford historian Robert William Seton-Watson, and the speaker of the Austrian parliament.
Today’s Slovak politicians — especially the members of the Slovak National Party — even though all perpetrators were Slovaks, interpret the event as “Hungarian gendarmes shooting at innocent Slovaks” (during the legal actions after the massacre, some gendarmes refused to testify as witnesses, because the victims were their relatives). With many of their claims regarding the events, the Slovak National Party continues to perpetuate a “false myth of Černová”. Some Slovak sources claim that the gendarmes were ethnic Hungarian. even though there was a very small number of ethnic Hungarians in the region where the gendarmes were recruited. According to Slovak historian Roman Holec, professor at Comenius University in Bratislava, the majority of the gendarmes were Slovaks from Liptó county. (According to the official 1910 census, over 90% of the population were ethnic Slovaks in that county.) They were nevertheless honored for the deed, because they were in the service of Hungarian state. Both the rioters and the gendarmes can be held responsible for the massacre. The rioters were violent from lack of fear of getting shot (i.e. that the sergeant would refrain from giving an order of fire or use blanks). The gendarmes were shooting in all directions instead of aiming for feet or into the air (most victims died due to their head and chest injuries).
Born On This Day
1939 – Suzy Covey, American scholar and academic (d. 2007)
Suzy Covey (Shaw) was a comics scholar. Born October 27, 1939, she died on October 17, 2007 after retiring in 2006 from the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries as a university librarian emerita. Her comics scholarship examined intersections of comics, technology, and sound, including Internet studies and studies of the Comic Book Markup Language (a specialized XML for encoding the images, text, and sound effects depicted in comics). In honor of her work with its comic collections, the Smathers Libraries renamed them the Suzy Covey Comic Book Collection in Special Collections in 2007.
Suzy Covey’s comic studies scholarship was enhanced by her work with computers during the early days of the Internet and her scholarship on music, which followed her undergraduate music studies and her own work as a musician, where she played as a band member on the “Bruce Springstone: Live at Bedrock” parody record, released in 1982. The A-side features “Bedrock Rap/Meet the Flintstones,” (3:01) a parody of Springsteen singing the Flintstones theme; the B-side is a Springsteenesque arrangement of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” (2:41) which is included on the CD collection Baseball’s Greatest Hits. The record sold 35,000 copies and received airplay on rock and college radio. Her musical experience and expertise, along with her technical skills led Suzy Covey to use early bulletin board systems (BBS) and Internet discussion forums to discuss music, comics, and technology. Her role in these discussions and in early Internet studies helped to support and focus her comics research. She studied at Florida State University.
Presentations and Publications
Presentation (listed as Suzy Shaw Covey) “Soldier to Cartoon: Springsteen as Depicted in Comics,” Glory days, a Bruce Springsteen symposium sponsored by Penn State University, Sept. 10, 2005, Long Branch, N.J. (Available from MSU’s Comics Collection and Listed in MSU’s Comics Bibliography.) Conference web page.
2006 Comic Art Conference, “A. Why is Jack Smilin’? Data Mining XML-coded Comic Strips OR B. Heroes and Villains: The Golden Era of Comic Strip Advertising”
Presenter University of Florida Comics Conference 2004: Simultaneity and Sequentiality, Beyond the Balloon: Sound Effects and Background Text in Lynn Johnston’s For Better or For Worse, By Suzanne J. Covey
Article in ImageTexT
“The Internet as an Entertainment System,” Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science, October/November 1994, p. 9-11.
The Administration of Library Owned Computer Files, Association for Research Libraries, 1989 (OMS SPEC Kit and Flyer, #159).
“A Model MRDF Management Facility,” co-author: Covey, III, William C.; Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science, 1989, p. 53-58.
“CAI in Libraries: Using Microcomputers to Train Staff,” Computers in Libraries, vol. 9, no. 12, December 1989, p. 27-33.
“Using CAI to Train Library Staff on Microcomputers,” Library Software Review, January/February 1998, p. 23.
How to Search OCLC [computer-assisted-instruction program in IBM PC BASIC], co-author: McIntyre, Terrence D. Bethea, Sally Brook; University of Florida, 1984, 1985.
COMCAT at UF: Final Report, University of Florida Libraries, 1976.
Presentation “University of Florida Home Page and Academic Home Pages,” Data Day Symposium, University of Florida, March 1995, Gainesville, Florida.
Presentation “The Library/Librarian’s Role in Campus-Wide Information Systems and Networks,” Panelist (with S. Trickey, J. Corey, D. Canelas and D. Beaubien), UFLA, November 1993, Gainesville, Florida.
“A Modern MRDF Management Facility,” Presenter, contributed paper, ASIS National Conference, October 1989, Washington D.C..
Presentation “VACUUM: Lotus 1-2-3 Templates for Student Time Cards and Payroll,” RTSD Technical Services Administrators of Medium-Sized Libraries Discussion Group, ALA Annual Conference, June 1987, San Francisco, California.
Presentation “Using Microcomputers to Train Library Staff,” SCIL Conference and Exhibition, March 1987, Washington DC.
Presentation “Microcomputers as Training Aids in Technical Services,” RTSD Technical Services Administrators of Medium-Sized Libraries Discussion Group, ALA Midwinter meeting, January 1985, Washington DC.
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And as I round the decade:
Don’t just resist cynicism — fight it actively. Fight it in yourself, for this ungainly beast lays dormant in each of us, and counter it in those you love and engage with, by modeling its opposite. Cynicism often masquerades as nobler faculties and dispositions, but is categorically inferior. Unlike that great Rilkean life-expanding doubt, it is a contracting force. Unlike critical thinking, that pillar of reason and necessary counterpart to hope, it is inherently uncreative, unconstructive, and spiritually corrosive. Life, like the universe itself, tolerates no stasis — in the absence of growth, decay usurps the order. Like all forms of destruction, cynicism is infinitely easier and lazier than construction. There is nothing more difficult yet more gratifying in our society than living with sincerity and acting from a place of largehearted, constructive, rational faith in the human spirit, continually bending toward growth and betterment. This remains the most potent antidote to cynicism. Today, especially, it is an act of courage and resistance.
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