Almanac – December 12

1098 – First Crusade: Massacre of Ma’arrat al-Numan – Crusaders breached the town’s walls and massacred about 20,000 inhabitants – despite having  promised them safe conduct if they surrendered.

After finding themselves with insufficient food, some  Crusaders reportedly resorted to cannibalism, feeding on the dead bodies of Muslims.

A chronicler, Radulph of Caen wrote:

    “Some people said that, constrained by the lack of food, they boiled pagan adults in cooking-pots, impaled children on spits and devoured them grilled.”

These events were also chronicled by Fulcher of Chartres, who wrote:

    “I shudder to tell that many of our people, harassed by the madness of excessive hunger, cut pieces from the buttocks of the Saracens already dead there, which they cooked, but when it was not yet roasted enough by the fire, they devoured it with savage mouth.”

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1948 – The Batang Kali massacre –  the alleged killing of 24 unarmed villagers by British troops on 12 December 1948 during the Malayan Emergency. The incident happened during counter-insurgency operations against Malay and Chinese communists in Malaya – then a colony of the British Crown. It is sometimes described as “Britain’s My Lai”.

Despite several investigations by the British government since the 1950s, as well as, a re-examination of the evidence by the Royal Malaysia Police between 1993 and 1997, no charges have ever been brought against any of the alleged perpetrators.

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1987 – Clifton Chenier died. Louisa born musician, known as the King of Zydeco.

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2007 – Ike Turner died.  American musician, bandleader, songwriter, arranger, talent scout, and record producer. In a career that lasted more than half a century, his repertoire included blues, soul, rock, and funk. He is most popularly known for his 1960s work with his then wife Tina Turner in the Ike & Tina Turner Revue, but  his first recording, “Rocket 88” with the Kings of Rhythm credited as Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats, in 1951, is considered a possible contender for “first rock and roll song

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