Women and Revolution – Saoradh

The picture on the top depicts an image of Zohra Drif the Algerian revolutionary. The picture on the bottom is that of Irish revolutionary Dolours Price.

Zohra Drif was born into an upper-class Algerian family, her early conservative roots would be in stark contrast to the path she would later follow as a member of the Algerian Resistance against France.

In her late teens Zohra enrolled in the Law faculty in the university of Algiers, a faculty she was soon to withdraw from when the Liberation Front called a strike.

In 1956 Zohra Drif left a bomb in the Milk Bar Café, which killed three French youths and injured dozens of others.

The action was to be one of the first actions taken by the resistance movement in the Battle of Algiers.

In 1957 she was captured and in 1958 she was sentenced to 20 years hard labour by a military Algerian court.

Zohra would spend the next six years in the Barbarossa Prison for women until she was pardoned by Charles de Gaulle in 1962 on the occasion of Algerian Independence.

Dolours Price was 7 years old when Zohra Drif was sentenced to 20 years for her part in the Battle of Algiers.

Dolours had been reared in a staunch Republican family, however like Zohra her education had taken her to University, and although she too would later study Law, at the time of her arrest and subsequent life sentence she was enrolled as a student teacher in St Mary’s college Belfast.

Zohra like Dolours had grown up in a colonised country, both Algeria and Ireland would become settler states or settler colonies.

How these colonised settlements play out is very adequately explained by Bill Fletcher Junior, in his critique of Zohra’s book, ‘Inside the Battle of Algiers: Memoir of a Woman Freedom Fighter’

‘Drif’s description of the Algerian Revolution can be more fully appreciated when one looks at the entirety of the situation, and especially, the treatment to which the Algerian people were subjected.

Algeria was amongst those colonies of Europe that were defined as ‘settler states’ or ‘settler colonies’.

These were colonies where the Europeans not only controlled the territory and seized its resources but where there had been a conscious decision to settle Europeans.
Other examples of such states are Ireland, Kenya, Rhodesia/ Zimbabwe, South Africa, Palestine/Israel, Canada and the USA.

In the case of both these young revolutionary women they did not only observe the oppression of the coloniser, in Zohra’s case France and for Dolours the British.

Both these young women were also forced to watch the indigenous people, their people, play a subsidiary role to the new settled population.

In the Battle of Algiers Zohra tells why the Liberation Movement not only struck a blow against France but also the settler population.
‘When the oppressed are jailed, tortured, murdered in the settler colonial system treats this in several ways.

The incidents may be explained away……We had to take these steps the natives were out of control….The actions taken by the oppressor state may be treated as an accident or as collateral damage………We didn’t mean to shoot those children, we thought they were terrorists.

Such incidents may also be completely ignored, with the thinking that no explanation needs to be given.

There may be an additional response from the oppressor….these things happen
In other words the lives of the so-called ‘natives’, be they racially, nationally or colonially oppressed are in no way comparable to the lives and experiences of the oppressor.
The suffering that befalls the oppressor is always treated as of qualitatively greater significance than anything that happens to the oppressed, at least according to the settler/colonial framework.’

Dolours Price had also witnessed the oppressor/settler coupling produce a manufactured sectarian/ bigoted state.
Those of the Irish indigenous population that resisted colonisation and its subsequent partitionist state had suffered appallingly and continue to suffer greatly.

God, we are told by the settler/colonisers is always on their side and this apparently allows the oppressor to psychologically and physically redefine themselves as the legitimate population of a given territory.

The settler/colonial redefinition was resisted and quashed in Algiers, while here in the North the fight against the coloniser continues, and quite sadly those endangering the struggle for Irish independence now extend well beyond the settler/coloniser frame.

With many thanks to: Women & Revolution – Saoradh

Follow this link to find out more: https://www.facebook.com/SaoradhWomen/

Author: seachranaidhe1

About Me I studied for six months training and became certified in Exam 070-271 in May 2010 and shortly after that became certifed in Exam 070-272. I scored highly in both Exams and hope to upgrade my path to M.C.S.A. ( Server Administrator ) in the near future.I also hold Level 2 Qualifications in three subjects Microsoft Word, Microsoft Powerpoint and Microsoft Spreedsheets. I have also expereance with Web Design using Microsoft Front-Page.

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