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/

Remembering Patrick and Harry Loughnane, who were kidnapped, brutally tortured and murdered by British Crown Forces on November 26th, 1920.

Their burnt, tortured, mutilated bodies were found near Ardrahan, Co. Galway.

Patrick was 29 years of age and Harry only 22 years. Patrick Loughnane was a local IRA leader and Sinn Féin secretary, he was also active in the local GAA. Harry, his younger brother, was president of the local Sinn Féin club and a goalkeeper with Beagh hurling club.
While working on the family farm in Shanaglish on the evening of November 26, the two brothers were arrested by the Black and Tans. Nothing was heard of, nor from, the boys until a week after their arrest when a group of Auxiliaries called to Mrs. Loughnane to inform her that her sons had escaped their capture. This raised fear and suspicion among the brothers’ family and friends and a search was mounted for them. Ten days after they had been arrested their bodies were found in a muddy pond near Ardrahan.

Exactly what happened to the two brothers will never be known but witnesses, including others arrested at the same time told a tale of merciless brutality. After being arrested the brothers were beaten for hours in Gort Bridewell. From there they were tied to the tailgate of a lorry, bound to each other, and dragged along the roads to Drumharsna Castle, the headquarters of the Black and Tans where they were beaten again. At 11pm that night they were taken from Drumharsna Castle to Moy O’Hynes wood where they were shot. Witnesses have recounted that on Saturday morning, Harry was still alive and was heard moaning. On Sunday morning, the Auxiliaries took the bodies to Umbriste near Ardrahan where they were set alight. After failing to bury the bodies because of the rocky ground they threw them into a muddy pond and to make their discovery more difficult threw dirty oil into the water.

After their bodies were discovered they were examined by a local doctor who found that the letters ‘I.V.’ were cut into the charred flesh in several places, two of Harry’s fingers were missing and his right arm which was broken completely across the shoulder was hanging off. Both of Pat’s legs and wrists were broken. The doctor thought it possible that hand grenades had been put into their mouths and exploded.

A memorial to the two brothers was later built on the spot where they died.

With many thanks to: Clan na Gael.

Óglach Sean Doyle Irish Republican Army (IRA).

IRA Volunteer Sean Doyle (son of Peader Doyle Lord Mayor of Dublin who fought in 1916 under the command of Eamonn Ceannt)was brought up the Dublin Mountains tortured and murdered by Auxillerys during the War of Independence 1919


With many thanks to: Easter Rising War of Independence and Irish Civil War History.



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