Glad to see that Margaret Skinneder is being given her rightful place in our history. The women of Cumann na mBan and all the women who gave service and duty to the cause of Irish Freedom are being sidelined in these forthcoming celebrations. The public now have an opportunity to demand, as per the proclamation that they all fought for, that full equality and recognition be given to the women of Ireland and indeed the children of Ireland who gave their lives in the cause of Irish freedom in order to end oppression.
There simply cannot be a two tiered system of commemoration that favours a body of men over a body of women. The example here from the archives shows a deep prejudice and a continued inequality that is still very much part of today.
The commemorative committee of the Government and the commemorative committee of Dublin City Council along with county council throughout the country, who are charged with organizing commemorative events need to be very mindful of these inequalities.A soldier is a soldier, male of female. A revolutionary is a revolutionary.
All too often as in the case for instance of the Algerians who fought in the 2nd world war against the Nazi’s for the French, were sidelined because of race, creed and colour and were never to this day, given full recognition or their pensions.
Addressing these issues will give commemoration and remembrance ceremonies greater meaning and can be instruments in confronting exclusion and championing inclusion. Above all, it must always be about mans inhumanity to man and that war and violence changes little. If a person goes out to fight in the hope of a better life and in the victory of that the homeland that they fought for, discriminates against them in favour of the new ruling class as in the case of Margaret Skinneder and her pension rights and parity of esteem, well then all we are doing is continuing the same regimes. The same kind of rule. The same type of authoritarianism. The same kind of class, gender and economic divide.
The words of the proclamation have yet to see themselves entirely in action.
President Michael D. Higgins address at the Abbey Theatre yesterday, clearly identifies these historical and present fault lines. Don’t read and weep. Read and do something. The above images are just some of the women who gave their lives in death and also gave of their time through out their lives for the Irish people and humanity in general. We should know them as our own and keep them close in our hearts and in our minds and always attempt to do a little in honour of the lot that they have done. Learn their names and learn their good deeds. And we can change this society for the better. History as a myth…broken.
UN panel grills Catholic church. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/16/un-criticises-vatican-coverups-child-sex-abuse-catholic-priests?CMP=twt_gu
Theatre of Memory Symposium, Abbey Theatre – Irish Independent http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/books-arts/higgins-laments-exclusion-of-women-from-history-29924269.html
There is some research called “from cradock with love” by Emily Elder, which looks at a similar situation within South Africa, and the need for women’s roles in the struggle against apartheid to be recognised. It’s important.