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Eve Ensler

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Peace is a State of Being, Security is Being of the State

Posted: 10/05/06 04:52 PM ET

The Law of Security goes something like this. It is almost a guarantee that in the pursuit of security you will become more insecure. Inherent in the quest for security is its undoing. Some recent examples: bomb Iraq to get rid of theoretical terrorists and manufacture thousands of potential terrorists in the process. Send American soldiers into battle in Iraq to make the country secure, but refuse to spend any money on armor to make the soldiers secure, so that eighty per cent of those who receive upper body wounds die of wounds that could have been prevented. Declare war on Iraq to get rid of chemical weapons and end up using illegal chemical (incendiary devices) weapons that destroy the children you are saving. Secure democracy by using techniques of torture that not only thoroughly undermine democracy, but spread distrust, contempt, rage, and violence which will forever make democracy impossible. In securing freedom, rob citizens everywhere of their basic civil rights, imprison them without trial or recourse, hold them for as long as you like without charging them. Put them in invisible prisons in countries that you once claimed were responsible for Gulags. Wire-tap private citizens and by doing so expand presidential powers so they become Imperial Powers and strip the so-called democracy you were defending. Promise to liberate women through your occupation and invasion and in the process reverse their constitutional rights, rob them of protection, raise the levels of violence permitted towards them. Spend all of your money on security and end up with the hugest deficit ever, no healthcare for the majority of citizens, no protection against disasters, no vaccines for a potential flu plague. Make the world "secure" by spending all of your money on destroying things rather than creating -- bomb rather than build, annihilate rather than feed. Focus your attention on imagined enemies who must be controlled or destroyed and in the process make them your real enemy. Rescue people from insane dictators by terrorizing them.
Allow corporations to ransack countries you are, in theory, saving, making the majority of the people poor and sick and without resources, and then call them security threats, illegal combatants, terrorists, insurgents, when they rise up to fight you.

In securing people, make them really, really afraid. Create all kinds of colors and alerts that terrorize the population. Terror and numbness will eventually be mistaken for security. In securing people take away their opinions and voices and instincts. Make them feel afraid to speak out. Control will be eventually mistaken for security. In securing people, distract them through addictive consumption and mindless entertainment programming. Amnesia will eventually be mistaken for security.

Freedom can only come from contemplating death, not pretending it doesn't exist. Not running from loss, but entering grief, surrendering to sorrow.

Freedom comes from not holding your life more precious or sacred than others. Not consuming more than your share.

Freedom is not knowing something when you don't know it.

Freedom means I may not be identified with any one group, but I can visit and find myself in every group. Freedom does not mean I don't have values or beliefs. But it does mean I am not hardened around them. I do not use them as weapons.

Freedom cannot be bought or arranged or made with bombs or guards. It is deeper. It is a process. It is the acute awareness that we are all utterly interdependent. That ecomonic injustice and inequity creates an environment of global despair and rage that until balanced, will inevitably lead to hatred and violence.

Freedom is not only being able to tolerate mystery, complexity, ambiguity, but hungering for them and only trusting a situation when they are present.

Not owned, not occupied, not bought.

Finding the place in me that connects with every person I meet rather than being different, better, or on top.

Believing there is a power determining everything at the same moment that I know there is absolutely no one in charge.

Wanting to win the award when I know awards mean nothing.

Freedom is not knowing where you are but being deeply there.

Not waiting for someone to save or rescue you or make up your terrible past. Doing that for yourself.

Not putting your flag in the ground.

Not owning people or ideas. Being willing to get lost in the desert.

Freedom is about becoming vulnerable to one another, rather than becoming secure, in control, and alone.

The increasing insecurity of the world can make us insane or can simply clarify reality, which is that we are going to die and it could happen any time, anywhere.

The world is indeed a near death experience, forcing us, if we let it, to let go of certain illusions that separate us from each other. Having this in our consciousness could be the elixir making us more feeling, more present, more appreciative, more loving, more generous.

It is clear that the tactics of this current regime -- retaliation, humiliation and revenge -- have actually increased terrorist attacks in the world and undermined security. There were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985.

"People across the world overwhelmingly believe the war in Iraq has increased the likelihood of terrorist attacks worldwide," reveals a poll for the BBC in March 2006. "Some 60% of people in 35 countries surveyed believe this is the case, against just 12% who think terrorist attacks have become less likely."

But, more importantly, most of the dying in this world, most of the suffering, is not a result of terrorism. The focus on terrorism has been one of the great manipulations and diversions. Most of the world, particularly outside the U.S., lives in perilous conditions. The greed centered economic policies of multinational corporations in partnership with the U.S. government masquerading as our great protectors, cause worldwide starvation, the destruction of the environment, horrendous poverty, illness, illiteracy, the spreading of AIDS, and resulting violence.

If we are truly interested in security, let's begin with securing all people the basic human right to food, shelter, drinkable water, healthcare, a place to live, safety, and a livable earth.

Let's take that 250 billion (that could ultimately become 1.3 trillion) dollars that it cost to bomb the heart out of Iraq, to murder the children there, to kill and maim thousands of people, to scatter ready-to-explode cluster bomblets on the Iraqi earth, to fill the bank accounts of the C.E.O.'s at Halliburton and Bechtel. Let's take that money and make compassion the end goal, human connection the end goal, honoring all people the end goal.

Then I promise we may not know security, but we will certainly know peace.

-- An excerpt from Eve's new book, Insecure at Last.

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