Earlier this month, I was honored to be invited to Kaua’i by Kaua’i Alliance for Peace and Social Justice to participate in a forum on ‘real security’. The forum was important because it was one of the first public discussions that questioned the premise of the ‘security’ discourse of the government and reframed the question from the point of view of communities. Jon Letman wrote a two-part article on the forum for the Hawaii Independent. He writes:
Ours is a nation obsessed with security. Two months after the bitter sting of the 9/11 attacks, the federal government formed the Transportation Security Administration and, one year later, the Department of Homeland Security. In the decade that has followed we have been pounded with talk of security in every aspect of our lives: from computer security and private home security to food and energy security, national security, nuclear security, and global security.
Yet as we approach our ninth year of war and occupation in Afghanistan and our eighth in Iraq, Americans have seen security at home eroded by financial collapse, a neglected infrastructure, a hemorrhaging job market, anemic social services and public health care crisis, volatile energy and food markets, and the complex realities of climate change.
In the face of home foreclosures, bankruptcy, and unemployment with many Americans’ income flat or falling and funding for basic civil institutions like public schools, libraries, and parks in decline, the question screams: “What is real security?”