When terrorism was a women’s issue

Remember when your grandmother told you about her time with the Suffragettes, the women campaigning for voting rights in early 20th-century Britain?

But they did not only pass out pamphlets, give speeches and sit around knitting and drinking tea. No, some of these early feminists resorted to more radical methods. Terrorism, we would call it today. They smashed shop windows, cut telephone lines, burned down houses and vandalized public parks, golf courses and cricket grounds. They smashed artifacts at the British Museum and attacked paintings in the National Gallery with axes. They even built and detonated bombs.

arson wild women

St Paul bomb suffra-abbey-bomb-jun12

burn church

These ladies were some really tough chicks. Respect!


About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a writer, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in History, Human Rights, Law, Politics, Terrorism, UK and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to When terrorism was a women’s issue

  1. Dante says:

    It was terrorism. The committers wanted to archieve a certain aim (in this case, equal rights for women) and tried to obtain it by spreading terror. This is the definition of terrorism. Of course, this does not say anything about how legitimate or illegitimate the request itself is, and, as we see, terrorism is not equal to terrorism.

  2. Dante says:

    There is one thing to be criticized in the article’s headline: Even if women also commit acts of terrorism, it is not a women’s issue since men always did so as well, including the early 20th century. One of the most prominent example was the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in 1914.

  3. Dante says:

    Ego te absolvo. ;)

  4. Dante says:

    Reading this article, the slogan

    One’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter.

    crossed my mind. A slogan which I find misleading because it makes fundamental category errors: You certainly can be both, as the bombing Suffragettes (if the perpetrators really were Suffragettes and not rather agents provocateurs who wanted do discredit them) show: Terrorism was their means while freedom was their purpose.
    Of course, I do know myself that the slogan does not really mean the utter meanings of the words but it aims at the moral judgement of an act (whereas one condemns it, another justifies it) but this is more obscuring than enlightening the discussion, mashing up objective ideas with subjective opinions and promoting moral relativism (which I rather regard as moral nihilism) or, worse still, justifying murders like e.g. Hamas’ as “peoples resistance” like in cologne. I advocate a rather precise understanding that does neither support tyrants who use the word “terrorism” as a trite weapon against any opponent nor potential coming tyrants (what revolutionists often are) and their supporters who either reject the term even for murderous acts or don’t scrutinize the revolutionists’ purposes (or both). If we e.g. consider the word “freedom fighters”, we have to ask which ans whose freedom these fighters are actually fighting for. Even the Nazis went to war with the words “Freiheit das Ziel” (freedom [is] the aim) on their lips.

    • I absolutely agree with you.
      Terrorism is a modus operandi and, under most criminal codes, a crime regardless of the perpetrator’s political motives.
      At the same time, I never understand why police and government representatives are asked “are you treating this as a case of terrorism?” whenever someone is shot or a bomb goes off. Murder and causing explosions are crimes in their own right, and serious ones, and they will be properly investigated. I don’t see the added benefit of calling crimes “terrorism”.

    • Dante says:

      I never understand why police and government representatives are asked “are you treating this as a case of terrorism?” whenever someone is shot or a bomb goes off…. I don’t see the added benefit of calling crimes “terrorism”.

      I do so – in a certain way. Not in the sense of agreeing that an act of terrorism were generally (in the juristic sense, meaning “always”) “more criminal” than another murder but in cognitively understanding why this seems to give the crime more “weight”: Whereas a “normal” murderer targets a certain person, a terrorist is said to target ‘us all’ – which is not always false. The latter obviously depends on the terrorist’s purposes.

  5. brokenradius says:

    Although I understand the goals of the Suffragetes, I prefer actions as those done by FEMEN. Also, they look much more pretty.

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