One of my favourite campaign groups “Warrior’s Call” has posted a couple of pieces about the word warrior. Their first article looks at some of the Native American definitions and highlights “those who have the burden of carrying Peace” and people with “sacred responsibility” who are willing to put their lives on the line to protect their land and people as definitions.
In the second article, the author attempts to look at the word from a Brythonic perspective and concludes that the British roots of the word are connected with killing only. The author then attempts to put new words forward, such as “Heddgarwr” which they translate as “Those who have the burden of carrying Peace” but they freely accept that this doesn’t capture the spirit of the concept of campaigning for the land and people.
I think it is important to stick with the word warrior. Word can change their meanings, words evolve and mean different thing to different generations. When I was a child, my father would refer to things as being gay, meaning happy and jolly; he was surprised to see it take a different meaning.
We are involved in a war. The war is between our fossil fueled, capitalist, reality show watching, racist, planet hating culture and the planet, its people and its animals. A war requires warriors. Warriors do not have to use violence, they have to win the war. The war we are engaged is violent, indeed violence is society’s chosen method of suppression, but that doesn’t mean that we have to use violence to stop it.
The word warrior is one that we need to claim for ourselves as we campaign. It says so much more than ‘activist’ or ‘campaigner’. It gives a depth of passion, a strength of purpose and a level of commitment to a cause, but it does not require violence to be a warrior.