1989 was a year of momentous history making events.
It was the year that Saturn and Neptune in the sky formed a conjunction aspect three times: on March 3 at 10.47am GMT; June 24 at 3.10am GMT and November 13 at 11.42am GMT.
Saturn is the planet of hard-line rear-vision conservative thinking, orthodoxy, fundamentalism, poverty, safety, security, system, environmental issues, loss and hardship; and Neptune is the planet of visionary schemes, idealism, corporations, oil, aviation, fiction writing and non-violent freedom fighting.
In 1989 Saturn and Neptune pulled the strings and events that happened back then continue to have significant long-time relevance.
February 14, 1989 – Qum, Iran: About 2,000 Muslim students protest against the British Government’s decision to protect Salmon Rushdie against a fatwa issued on February 4 by Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomeini. Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses had been condemned as blasphemous. On March 7 Iran broke off diplomatic relations with Britain and in 2019 the fatwa is still in effect.
February 14, 1989 – Cape Canaveral, Florida: A delta rocket blasts off carrying a Space Vehicle Number 14. It was destined for an orbit of more than 12,000 miles above the Earth – the first of 24 making up the global positioning system (GPS).
March 1989 – Geneva Switzerland: The internet was just beginning to emerge as a commercially available community service and in 1989 Tim Berners Lee wrote Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) – a computer language for communicating documents over the internet.
He also created the first browser and the first server and continues to invent and develop new web capabilities and is one of the pioneer voices in favor of web neutrality.
But in 2019 he told the BBC that global action was required to tackle the web’s ‘downward plunge to a dysfunctional future’. He said that many people now doubted the web could be a force for good; and that he was ‘very concerned about nastiness and misinformation spreading’.
March 24, 1989 – Prince William Sound, Alaska: The Exxon Valdez spills millions of gallons of crude oil spoiling the Alaskan wilderness and outraging the American public. Thirty years later in 2019 the environmental cost is still being calculated.
April 16, 1989 – Sheffield, England: Ninety-six fans are tragically killed at a soccer game and the tragedy gives birth to the globalization of modern football and better, safer, stadium facilities.
May 25, 1989 – Moscow, Russia: The Congress of People's Deputies opens. It marked the beginning of the end of Soviet empire. In December 1991 the Soviet Union disintegrated into 15 separate countries. The man of the moment was Mikhail Gorbachev. He and President George Bush later declared an end to the Cold War.
May 26, 1989 – Denmark: The Danish government passes a gay marriage bill and in Copenhagen on October 1, 1989 Axel and Eigil Axgil became the first gay couple in the world to legalize their union.
June 4, 1989 – Beijing, China: The Chinese government crushes a student uprising in Tiananmen Square with machine guns and tanks. The hard-line Chinese leadership was intent on keeping the winds of change at bay. A dangerous darkness fell on the country and 30 years on the liberty train continues to make slow progress towards destination freedom.
September 26, 1989 – Cambodia: The final Vietnamese troops leave Cambodia after a decade of bloody occupation. In the war Vietnam was supported by the Soviet Union, and Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge were backed by China. In 1989 peace meetings were held in Jakarta and Paris. Following the war both countries were invaded by big corporations and an economic transformation has lifted millions of people out of poverty.
October 5, 1989 – Switzerland: The Dalai Lama is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize but thirty year on Tibet still struggles to achieve independence.
November 9, 1989 – Berlin, Germany: The wall that divided a city crumbles. The first section of the Wall went up in 1961 and it was supposed to last 100 years, but Saturn and Neptune had other ideas. Its collapse was hailed as a victory for freedom. Those who played a lead role in bringing the Wall down include: Mikhail Gorbachev, Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul 11, Lech Walesa and Vaclav Havel. Gorbachev is hailed in the West and reviled or ignored in Russia.
November 24, 1989 – Peshawar, Pakistan: Abdullah Azzam, an Arab leader of Afghanistan's anti-Soviet Jihad, is assassinated – a martyr to his cause. Azzam was a reviled figure and there were five assassination attempts on him during 1989. He was known as the godfather of jihad and his assassination changed the face of global terrorism. It opened the door to radical extremists who have kept it open ever since.
December 13, 1989 – South Africa: A meeting between FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela sows the seeds of a miracle. It led to the dismantling of apartheid and the holding of the first free elections in South Africa. But the path wasn't easy and there was blood on the carpet. In the 1994 elections Nelson Mandela was elected President. The country was united.
On April 14, 1994 FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize but 30 years on in 2019 the country continues to struggle to provide its people with a peace and prosperity.
December 17, 1989 – USA: The Simpsons debut on US television and the show wasn't just an absolute success – it changed the face of television forever.
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