There’s a lot of talk on various Druid groups at the moment about both the warrior path, and the peace path. There are Druids who subscribe to both approaches. The Ancient Celts after all were not averse to a punch up, but the Druids could, it is said, step out between two armies and instruct them to stop.
I don’t think a modern Druid has much scope for stepping in front of the EDL, or other angry people, and making much progress by asking them to stop, but perhaps it would be worth a go anyway. Part of me suspects that’s a one way ticket to getting shouted at, if not thumped, but as I’ve not dealt directly with anyone from the EDL, I’m hardly in a position to comment.
I’m a rural Druid at the moment. About the closest we get to conflict within the community round here is when two tractors are trying to go in opposite directions down the same lane. This is a quiet place. No one is going to riot, or march, or do anything else. That has let me off the hook a bit, and not having a car I’m not well placed to travel to where there are problems.
What would I do if there was unrest on my doorstep? I think it would depend a lot on the nature of the unrest. There are plenty of things I think need protesting about and that I would march over, were there anyone around to influence. The sheep are pretty disinterested on this subject, although my local badgers are developing an unfortunately large degree of political awareness, I suspect.
I would not take arms, or go out expecting to fight. Partly because I am woefully out of practice, partly because a quarterstaff would draw all the wrong sort of attention in the first place, partly because I have no desire to hit anyone. I would like to think that if it came down to it, if people where I lived were marching with hatred and an intention to do violence, I would find in myself the courage to take my body into that space and simply put my flesh in their way. Not aggressively, but accepting the likelihood of violence in order to slow down, protect, discourage.
It’s one of those things. Until we are tested, all the ideas about what we *might* do are hypothetical. Would I have the courage to face being arrested if honour demanded that I put myself in opposition to the police? I think about activists who have gone to court, and sometimes won, standing up for the idea that powerful entities do not have the right to run roughshod over individuals. Would I be brave enough to do that? I think of the three women in Woolwich who tackled the psychos still holding weapons, who had killed Lee Rigby. Do I have what it takes to walk forward in such a situation?
I do not know.
We only find out whether we can truly walk our talk when we are tested to our limits and beyond. What I do know, is how grateful I am for the times when I am not being tested, when I am not overwhelmed by impossible choices or being asked to put my life on the line for honour or justice. Some people do that every day in their normal line of work, and I am deeply grateful to them for shouldering that weight for the sake of the rest of us.