Tag Archives: Emily Davidson

Divorced from History

I see it happen way too often, the scientist and its subject become separate, divorced from each other through tools, methods and rigidity of thinking. The astronomer cannot see the stars through the equations on the page, the doctor cannot see the patient through the pharma bottles. Even the educator (yes, educating is a science or so I believe) cannot see the pupil through tables of statistics sometimes. But it is quite strange when a person cannot see the history through the day-to-day existence.
We have many different memories that the former students left in the archives and I find it entertaining to read each and every one of those memories. The one I’ve read recently are from 1911-1913, more than a hundred years old. And the story is quite similar to others in many places, a ‘country bumpkin’ found himself suddenly in the middle of London life. He describes the usual student shenanigans, the teachers, the rules. But today I want to say about this other thing that he recollects:
‘We cycled to Epsom and saw the two most exciting Derbies ever run. One when a grey mare Jagalie a rank outrider won 66/1 and the next year 1913 Emily Davidson the suffragette threw herself under the King’s horse and was killed. The favourite Craganour won but was disqualified after the bookmakers had paid out thousands of pounds.’
This memory made me think about the fact that we might not be the people that actively make the history, but by the very act of witnessing we are part of it. And nowadays we have more power to tell our point of view in history and be heard. And we should do that if we have the opportunity. Why? That brings me to my other point. Observe, how in his memories, he equates the day when there was a big pay-out at the races with an important moment in the history of the human rights. And that brings me to my second thought: can we really say what is important for the history? Or maybe we divorce the history from our daily lives because we simply cannot tell what would interest the future historians and we are bound to see our present just as that. Present.

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Filed under long time ago, musings, people