Freethought Almanac

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December 7: Pietro Mascagni (1863)

It was on this date, December 7, 1863, that Italian composer Pietro Mascagni was born in Livorno. Today, he is chiefly remembered as composer of Cavalleria rusticana (Rustic Chivalry), his one-act opera written, as he put it, for the heart and not the head. Mascagni’s opera was not only popular in its day — it premiered on 17 May 1890 at the Teatro Costanzi, Rome, when Mascagni was Director of the Rossini Conservatory at Pesaro — but it is still performed to this day.

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Originally published December 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.

Ronald Bruce Meyer

Our Fearless Leader.


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November 13: Ayaan Hirsi Ali (1969)

It was on this date, November 13, 1969, that Somali-born American feminist and atheist activist, writer and politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born Ayaan Hirsi Magan in Mogadishu, Somalia. While her father, a leading figure in the Somalian Revolution, was in prison, Ayann’s grandmother had the 5-year-old young girl’s genitals ritually cut off in what […]



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