Whilst perusing the various facebook posts relating to the on-going struggles that many communities are now facing in the war against fracking, it struck me that in many cases the warriors in question were not always the strong young men typically associated with battles of the past, but the older women, often the mothers and grandmothers of their community. Indeed wherever there is an environmental threat there seems to be a force of women warriors now stepping up to protect their land, from the Secwepemc Women’s Warrior Societies in Canada, to the Knitting Nannas Against Gas in Australia, and of course our very own Nana’s from Nanashire here in the UK.
Gas companies, underestimate this group at your peril!
Whilst it’s true to say that there are many younger, fitter folks locking themselves on and putting their bodies and liberty in the line of fire every day, these determined groups of wise women and community elders are out there in significant numbers quietly misbehaving themselves in other ways to get the job done. They network and build their community groups, with the diligence of worker bees. Even before the days of Facebook and social media it seems women have been able to gather together to form cohesive groups in sufficient numbers to fight against a perceived threat… remember the Greenham Common women?
Women elders are also able to communicate a different story to the media… after all how can you be labelled ‘unemployed scum’ or a domestic extremist when you look just like someone’s mum? They can stand in front of a camera and project a view of worldly wise dignity and strength that is hard to knock down without someone looking like a bully. Equally, from what I have seen here in the UK, much of their strength on the fracking front lines lie in their ability to ‘innocently’ shield some of the younger activists from the enforcement agencies by simply getting in the way, smiling sweetly in the knowledge that someone is going to have to be seen (and usually filmed) manhandling them to get past.
No, don’t underestimate this group of women because they are much more than casual activists, they are also the wise women of their tribe and they are lionesses protecting their families and communities from whatever threatens them . Nothing will stop them, not fear of violence or threats to their liberty, and certainly not a bribe of cash from the government!
And so maybe THIS is why the great warrior goddess herself, the Morrigan, is no spring chicken!