In German East Africa (Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania) during World War I, soldiers painted this pony to resemble one of the local zebras so it could be tethered in the open without being shot. The Imperial War Museum adds, “Two white ponies behind anxiously await their makeovers.”
While British and American suffragettes get all the attention, Japan had a contemporary suffragette movement. It began after the Meiji Restoration when major educational and political reforms started educating women but excluding them from participation in the new “democratic” government. By law, they were barred from joining political parties, expressing political views, and attending political meetings. Japanese women, more educated then ever and slowly participating in Japan’s workforce, began fighting for the right to participate in the new civil democracy as well.
Unfortunately, when Western white women began winning the right to vote after World War I, Japanese women’s participation in politics was still fighting for basic rights. In 1921, for instance, a court ruling overturned the law forbidding women from attending political meetings. This led to a flowering of women’s suffrage organizations in the 1920s, in addition to literary circles which began publishing feminist magazines during the interwar period.
Japanese women kept the issue alive, but did not win the right to vote until 1945, when election laws were revised under the American occupation.
In July 1917, during the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman empire, Lawrence of Arabia was making his way across the Sinai desert towards the Turkish stronghold of Aqaba with his Arab army. He had to fight his way past two outpost defenses first. On July 4th they came to the first outpost, called Kethira. The Arabs were fearful, believing the full moon would compromise their chances of a night attack. Lawrence reassured them “for a while there should be no moon”.
Lunar eclipses are when the Earth casts its shadow across the full moon. And in his diary, Lawrence had recorded that a lunar eclipse would happen on the night of 4/5 July. When it arrived right on cue, the moon appearing to drip red, the Ottoman outpost was terrified and distracted. They clanged pots and shot rifles, according to Lawrence, “to rescue the threatened satellite.” Kathira fell to the Arab army.
And the next day Lawrence took Aqaba, the final outpost connecting the Arabian peninsula to the rest of the Ottoman Empire.
The first “love locks” bridge was not in Paris, which has the most famous example, but in Serbia! Specifically in a town called Vrnjačka Banja. Shortly before the World War I, a young man and woman fell in love in Vrnjačka Banja. They would meet every night at the Most Ljubavi bridge. But the man went into the military, and while abroad, he met and fell in love with someone else. The young woman died of heartbreak, or so the story goes. Superstitious local women began going to the bridge, writing the names of themselves and their lovers on padlocks, and locking them to the bridge, in the hope that it would bind their paramours to home.
The tradition was slowly forgotten after World War I. Until a Serbian poet, Desanka Maksimović, heard the story and wrote a poem about it. The tradition was revived but only in Vrnjačka Banja.
So how did love lock bridges become a worldwide phenomenon? It probably comes from a single Italian writer named Federico Moccia. He wrote a book, published in 2006, called I Want You. It featured a couple who put a love lock on a lamp post on Rome’s 2100-year-old Ponte Milvio bridge. The book took off, and a movie was made, and the rest as they say is history!