Open Letter on Human Security
Open Letter on Human Security
to the Chairs of the United Nations Independent Commission
on Human Security
Dear Mrs. Ogata and Dear Professor Sen:
I have the honor and the pleasure to send you an Open Letter from an international group of academics interested in Human Security. Some of us, researchers who have conducted our research, have organized international meetings, and exchanged ideas in this new field, have decided to develop a dialogue among us on the internet, and present to you our ideas and share with you our concerns. We are planning to submit to you an Open Letter with the different reports and papers we have produced.
We, all, are extremely happy that the Secretary General of the United Nations has asked both of you to Chair the Independent Commission of Human Security. I (Mushakoji) have had a few occasions to know you personally, and feel confident that you will bring to its full fruition this initiative.
This Open Letter does not, in any way, pretend to impose our views on you and on the distinguished group of experts composing the Commission. We wish, only, to draw your attention to a few points which has been the focus of our concern in our dialogue on human security. As researchers, acting only in our own capacity, we have raised politically and culturally delicate questions which, we are fully aware, you will not want to touch directly.
This Letter is, in this way, a collective work by us, but it is based on a considerable accumulation of knowledge by different international research activities on human security. Some of our members, Joseph Camilleri, Majid Teheranian, and Seiichi Katsumata, took the liberty to send you some documentation on a few of such initiatives conducted by Latrobe University, the Toda Institute, and the Meiji Gakuin.
1. Definition of Human security
1.1 Four Principles for the Definition of Human Security
We began our discussion among researchers concerned about human security by sharing between us the following principles about human security. We wish to submit to your consideration these four principles which will be confirmed by the different problems of human insecurity we identified during the course of our discussion.
The concept of “human security” which was proposed officially in the UNDP “Human Development Report” of 1994, should be treated always in close association with the concept of “human development” as well as of “human rights”. We are aware of some narrow interpretations which seek to propose “human security” in place of “human rights” or to avoid including in the issues covered by this concept the insecurity situations of specific vulnerable groups and prefer to limit it to global insecurities, or insecurities specific to particular regions. There is also a tendency, denounced by many participants of the e-group, to avoid taking up the root causes of human insecurity connected with the present process of globalization and global militarization.
Human security tends to be discussed in a general and/or practical way, obviously to avoid sharp critical assessments of the existing concrete structural and institutional problems. “Human security” could become another universal concept to be used in the technocratic unilateral activities, without reference to the every day insecurity of the vulnerable peoples, and it may ignore the fact that different human groups have opposite concepts about their security, be it between neighboring ethnic groups of between the citizens of the rich countries and the migrants from the “poor” countries. We perceive a masculinist bias in most of the concepts as they are now being addressed. They do not challenge the contradictions between state (i.e. military) security and human (i.e. “peoples’) security.
a). The “quotidian”: every day insecurity
Human security tends to be defined in general cumulative and “parallel” terms, e.g. environmental security, food security. There is acknowledgment that these are contributing factors to human security, but no accounting for the integral interrelationship among them, and the need to address them in systematic and holistic terms. Nor is there any reference to the fact that the military security system undermines and erodes all other bases of human security. We would argue that all of these factors are determining factors in the everyday conditions of peoples security. Security lies in the expectation of well-being. everyday life insecurity of individual persons, in their concrete life situations. The fundamental problems of security are in the insecurity experienced by individual persons, their search for more secure life situations, their personal initiatives, their right to expect States and other public institutions to care for their “quotidian” security needs to become an integral part of the definition of human security. Otherwise, the judgment on what constitutes human security could become monopolized by external decision-makers, who often lack gender sensitivity and concern about groups of people in situations of extreme insecurity.
b). The “most vulnerable”:
Human security should refer to all human persons and all human groups. However, preference should be put on eliminating the roots of insecurity of the most vulnerable peoples, individuals and groups, as has been formulated by Gandhi as “the smallest child walking on this Earth”. The concern for their “fear” and their “want” should be the primary concern of any effort to promote human security. This is indispensable, if the security of pluralistic humanity is to be guaranteed. As biodiversity can not be sustained without the maintenance of the most vulnerable life forms in the complex eco-system, human civilization can not develop in its rich diversity, without a special care for its most vulnerable members. It may be recognized that the justness of a society is measured by how it cares for the vulnerable, but it is not noted that the security of the society is also dependent in the long run on making security possible for the vulnerable. This concept is one that links positive and negative aspects of human security in ways that indicate they cannot be sustained without the maintenance of the most vulnerable life forms in the complex eco-system and human civilization.
A process of pluralistic interactions, dialogue and consultation among all the parties concerned, has to be adopted in identifying situations of human insecurity, and in developing joint efforts to cope with them. Certain nations, religions and cultures are labeled as anti-human-rights and become the object of unilateral “humanitarian” pressures. In order to avoid such misuse of “human security” it is crucial to take a clear non-unilateral and non-top-down approach in developing any human security activities.
Multilateralism implies the involvement of the peoples themselves in the processes to reduce and eliminate the sources of their insecurity. It also implies the full mobilization of civil society, especially the NGO community, local, national and international, in full cooperation with the UN, which should be strengthened to serve as the institution which represents multilateralism par excellence.
1.2 Different Views on Human Security
The above four principles helped trigger-off a heated discussion on whether such principles could help develop a concept of “human security” useful in facing the serious problems of insecurity caused by the present process of globalization and global militarization.
Claudia von Braunmul stressed the fact that “security” was a antagonistic polarizing concept between our security and them threatening it. Thanh-Dam Truong pointed out that non-Western concepts of security were not necessarily antagonistic. Mushakoji took the position that it was necessary to accept the natural human tendencies to define security in terms of one’s own identity community and develop the concept of “common human security” as proposed above.
Elmar Altvater pointed out the insufficiency to develop guiding principles without asking why these principles were ignored and violated. They insisted on the importance to answer this question in connection with the very nature of the neo-liberal global political economy. Why are there vulnerable peoples in the world? What is the reason of increasing poverty, even misery? These questions point very clearly to the structural tendencies perpetuating most vulnerable peoples. Of course, economic issues are of utmost importance for the endeavors of finding out the causes of vulnerability. Economic tendencies that produce exclusion, marginalisation, haves and haves-not, wealth and poverty, ups and downs, prosperity and crises etc. This means that discussing security issues without reference to globalised capitalist dynamics does not make much sense. (take other forms than its present neo-liberal version. Globalization is shaped by a strong political will making it neo-liberally oriented in the service of certain interests.) This is a theme which concerns anybody trying to conduct a meaningful reflection on human security. Migration, trafficking of women, informalisation of labor, criminal activities, the emergence of a global “mala vita”. I think, that it is also necessary to link the discourse on human security to the systemic tendencies and its dynamics.
Thanh-Dam Truong contributed to our dialogue by bringing in the distinction between an historical and a future oriented approach to human security. Human security as a human condition may be comprehended in two dimensions:
a) the historical dimension (how societies and people have historically experienced this condition or its erosion)
b) so-called ‘utopian’ dimension (for the lack of a better work) which reflects human aspirations, desire, imaginary of this condition beyond time and space (human growth, creativity, the image of a spring blossom, diversity of colors and contrasts yet together they form an inspiring landscape).
Our current concern of HS is restricted to the historical dimension, and we are not yet able to take up the second dimension. This is understandably so in view of gross forms of human insecurity we witness today. These must be tackled and addressed in order to make the imaginary of the inspiring landscape possible. The historical dimension of HS tells us that HS as a concept cannot be universalised. What we can do is to identify the changes that have occurred historically in people’s practices of human security at various levels of the societies in order to understand and reflect and learn from the ‘best practices’ ( fore their relevance as well as irrelevance). In examining the historical dimension of HS, we need standards and parameters for comparison, and in this sense the different facets of HS as defined by UNDP (Food, Environment, Employment, Health, Crime) are important as pointers for investigation and comparison. In this examination, it is important understand the institutional frameworks within which HS can be realized. I think that in Food, Environment, Employment, Health, there is a rich body of comparative literature, which we can learn from. Next, comes the analysis of the underlying conditions for their erosion (globalisation, and absence of ethical standards guiding this transition)
What should be put in place, by whom and how, are questions that concern us today. In dealing with these questions, I feel that underlying Musha’s four principles on HS (quotidian, most vulnerable, common good, multilateralism) lie a host of ethical issues that are yet to be explored. Why does each of these principles matter? What moral and social problem arises when they don’t matter? Although I am impressed with the body of work on development ethics, I also note that the field tends to get caught up in normative argumentation, and has almost left out the historical and explanatory discussions on why certain norms have stood or not stood the test of history. I think that if we take the historical approach, what comes clear to us is why peace and security at ensured by states has been predominating the discussions. This is not to say that is trying to secure peace and security among people living under its territorial control, states have been kind and gentle to all. But as a structure, the state is not unimportant in ensuring the conditions in which human beings blossom. Some time ago, we as political scientists were told that it is futile to theorize of the state. Just look at state behavior as a actor. Here I fully agree that we cannot escape theorizing about the state in connection with reflections on human nature.
The question is how to we (as practitioners of human security) do this and maintain the relevance of what we do with the diverse reality on the human conditions. In the current condition, the state has become in most cases a ‘courtesan’ to global capital, and we (as human kind) are entering an era of ‘ corporate governance’, do we (as HS practitioners) want to now make the courtesan the king? Is that possible?
If we want to look for alternatives beyond (not without) the state, then we must think of alternative actors and institutions, their relative strength and capability to make constructive contributions. I am thinking of different initiatives such as Assembly of the Poor, Women’s Caucus for Gender Justice, World Social Forum of the global south and a host of other networks. Our primary concern is their relative strength and countervailing power.
Brigitte Young, agreeing with Elmar Altvater and Thanh-Dam Truong that human security cannot be defined an aggregation of different dimensions of security such as food, health work, environment, and so on, suggested that we need a common integrative concept for economic security, or socio-economic security as proposed by ILO. Thus she proposed a fifth category (or at least discussion about the pros and cons) about economic democracy based on the recognition that each and every person counts. I do not think that Economic Democracy can be subordinated under common security.
Betty Reardon stressed the crucial importance for any reflection on human security to consider the harmful impact of militarization. Agreeing with all these points Mushakoji added that for the human security of the peoples who have historically experienced a process of colonization/Westernization/modernization, insecurity is also determined by these geo-historical tendencies combined with cultural ones. The “clash of civilization” is a very important ideological manifestation of the insecurity feeling of the North vis-a-vis the South which seeks to overcome its geo-historical insecurity in face the hegemonic West/North.
We summarized here some of the points raised by Elmar Altvater, Thanh-Dam Truong, Brigitte Young, Betty Reardon, and Kinhide Mushakoji which helped to shape this Open Letter with separate sections approaching the human security problematique in connection with “Globalization”, “Global Militarization” “the Gender Aspects”, and “cultural dialogue”.
The lengthy reference to this debate is made so that the basic philosophy of this Open Letter can be understood. It represents a diversity of points of views, but is sharing a common concern, i.e. to develop a reflection on human security which is based on a realistic analysis of the contemporary trends of globalization and militarization, as well as a critical and historical analysis which does not shy away from approaching the political and economic problems, some of which are “delicate” political problems, and an ethical and cultural approach facing the different, and sometimes antagonistic traditions according to which human security is understood.
We submit to the Commission this Open Letter humbly submitting to its consideration a few points which may be of some help in developing its collective reflection on human security.
2. Globalization as a Source of Human Insecurity
2.1 Human Insecurity Generated by Neo-Liberal Globalization
The e-group dialogue which was based on prior joint research by Elmar Altvater, Isabella Bakker, Stephen Gill and Brigitte Young, provided an occasion to look into the human insecurity generated by neo-liberal globalization. We submit to you just its summary.
Problems of human security can only be understood on the background of deep historical transformations of the modern globalised capitalist world. Social transformations in history always have uprooted peoples from secure social relations and created provisional forms of social reproduction containing in themselves sources of human insecurity. The social reproduction of human communities can be secure only when gender equality, as well as equitable class and ethnic relations are built into them. This is not the case in the neo-liberal global economy, based on the reproduction of competitive and speculative relations between individuals and groups which are unequal in terms of gender, class and ethnic origins. This is why, any search for human security can not bear fruit unless dealing with the human insecurity built in the different trends of globalization as concrete manifestations of the transformation in power production and social reproduction, within the framework of the new neo-liberal legal and financial institutions.
Insecurity generated by the globalization of the political economy has two sides, it is increasing the demand for security and decreasing the availability of supply in the public goods indispensable for the satisfaction of human needs indispensable for their basic security. The increase in demand for security accompanies the neo-liberal financial process which speculative mega-competition generates insecurity in the global market affecting the very survival of a large sector of the peoples as workers loosing decent working conditions and consumers loosing access to goods and services essential to their decent living conditions.
The informalisation of labour, money and politics, accompanying the decrease of the states’ power to regulate the formal political economy facilitates the expansion of corruption and illegal practices, and enables the transnational criminal organizations to trafficked women and children, and to “smuggle” refugees and migrant workers, thus increasing the insecurity of the vulnerable social groups, class-wise, gender-wise, and in ethnic terms. The informalisation of the economy, combined with the intensification of speculative finance protecting and protected by off-shore economies, opens new opportunities of market expansion for the transnational criminal organizations. This is a major source of insecurity for the peoples excluded from the global mega- Competition, who are caught between the criminal organizations and the States who Treat them as “illegal” migrant workers when their human insecurity force them to Migrate to the affluent countries even is their migration is exploited by the criminal organizations.
Public goods, which the States have been providing traditionally, are reduced to the minimum by the neo-liberal leadership which turn the States into providers of the security for the global market to the detriment of the security of the social groups who are excluded from the global economic development process. In times of State’s failure and dissolution the idea of a well defined territory as the spatial basis of political sovereignty of a nation state is partly becoming obsolete. The main function of the state is now to build a secure and beneficial position in neo-liberal speculative “mega-competition” by ensuring security of investments and its market for domestic and foreign investors. This means a state security system combining military and police capabilities (including extensive forms of economic and political surveillance) to minimize “country risks”. In this way, patterns of economic and political globalization connect to global militarization in ways especially harmful to human security.
Even more important for human security may be the political and social failure or even collapse of states, the breakdown of political institutions, and more broadly dissolution of power. States become the object of the greed of ethnic entities, of warlords, or of sectional economic interest groups operating in many cases from abroad. This generates an endemic situation of “human insecurity” in different developing regions. The States in these cases are not sovereign, but are a battlefield of conflicting parties backed by open and covert interests of MNCs and industrial states.
The western framework of global governance is often based on a neo-colonial discourse on the universality of democracy and human rights. Concomitantly it is linked to the proclaimed right to military intervention in “rogue states” who violate “western values”. This means that universally declared human rights and human security are enforced by a particular alliance - that is a globally acting alliance of the “democratic industrial States. Globalization thus not only results in a state of fuzzy sovereignty but also in the emergence of self-declared and self-mandated new sovereign powers - bound together by western values in ways that may increase insecurity elsewhere.
Gender dimensions of human security aspect exists in combination with all the above-mentioned aspects of the neo-liberal global political economy. It involves especially the process of social reproduction of the neo-liberal global economy, which strengthen and broaden patriarchal values and practices multiplying various sources of gender insecurity on a global scale.
We will discuss this problem in a separate section of this Open Letter. In any case, all the structural aspects of globalization affect more acutely the women of all classes, nationality and group affiliation. Their insecurity is made unbearable by the process of global militarization. Both the selective exclusion and the intervention aspects of the North-South relations affect women as victims of violence during conflicts, as refugees, as migrant workers, and as trafficked persons. The North often stands for gender security in its humanitarian intervention which often creates more gender insecurity for particular groups of women. The control of criminal activities creating insecurity for women of vulnerable groups often increase their insecurity.
Ecological exploitation and destruction of the global political economy is a major cause of human security. The global over-exploitation and wasteful dumping of renewable and non-renewable resources creates a variety of insecurities for all living beings, and the global neo-liberal mega-competition which intensifies the mass-exploitation, mass-consumption, and mass-dumping, requires a combined effort by the international community, the States, the corporate agents and the consumer citizens to create the necessary legal and ethical constraints of the neo-liberal global market economy. This is where a structural approach to the harmful impact of the neo-liberal global political economy is crucial, to put in its holistic context all the issues of environmental security.
From the above considerations, we may conclude that the Report may usefully address itself to three aspects of the effects of globalization on human security:
a) Firstly, there are particular groups in all regions of the world which vulnerability is crossing the limits of human insecurity. Their security needs special attention by the Commission.
b) Secondly, the Report may focus on the North-to-South trend of human insecurity generated by the overt and covert, legitimate and illegitimate interventions of the industrial “democracies” of the core region of the global economy into the conflict-laden situations of the developing peripheries.
c) Thirdly, the Report must focus on the trend of human insecurity experienced by the migrants who are part of the legal and “illegal” labour South-to-North movement.
In a word, the above considerations indicate the fact that the Report may usefully address the structural problems of globalization causing acute human insecurity generally for all peoples, but especially for particular vulnerable groups. In this connection, the humsec@yahoogroups e-group discussion took up the problems of the indigenous peoples.
2.2 The Human Insecurity of Indigenous peoples
Rodolfo Stavenhagen, using the case of the indigenous peoples of Latin America, and pointed out the following aspects of the problems indigenous peoples face as a consequences of globalization.
The economic tendencies which have impacted most negatively on the conditions of life and survival of indigenous peoples have in fact accelerated over the last few decades under the policies of neo-liberal globalization.
Many are the changes which have affected indigenous communities, and not all of them have been beneficial. Take agricultural modernization, for example. The widespread introduction of commercial crops for export, based on the intensive use of costly inputs (mechanization, improved seeds, fertilizers, insecticides) tends to displace traditional subsistence agriculture, on which most indigenous communities depend for their survival. Increasing production costs and the need for economies of scale have favored the consolidation of larger agricultural units and agro-industries, putting small subsistence farms at a disadvantage in a highly competitive market. Government agricultural policies, instead of helping the small subsistence farmer overcome his handicaps, have in fact pushed the poorer peasants out of business and favored the concentration of larger agro-industrial enterprises. or they have forced the small farmers to become increasingly dependent on, and therefore vulnerable to, the globalised agricultural economy.
Indian indigenous peoples in the Americas are caught up in this maelstrom of change, and they become uprooted and displaced, virtual “development refugees”, increasing the ranks of migrant laborers both within as well as across national boundaries. Millions of indigenous peasants have thus become itinerant agricultural laborers and migrants to far-away cities, sometimes in far-away countries.
Indian peoples who for centuries were the victims of those who coveted their lands and their resources, nowadays occupy so-to-speak the “last frontier” in their countries, the areas that up till now were of no interest to the ruling classes and the transnational economic interests. This has now changed. From southern Chile to the Amazon jungle, from the highlands of the Andes to the forests of Central America, there is no longer any territory which is not of some interest to expanding world capitalism, either for its mineral wealth, its oil deposits, its pastures for livestock, tropical or hard-wood forests, its medicinal plants and agricultural plantation potential, or its water resources for irrigation and the generation of electricity for the benefit of distant cities and industries.
Surviving indigenous peoples are the most recent victims of global capitalist development, and if these tendencies continue unabated, their chances of survival are becoming slimmer and many of them live in a state of chronic human insecurity. Indigenous groups are not, of course, the only populations negatively affected by economic globalization, but not only is the physical survival and well-being, i.e. the human security of their members at stake, (numerous are the examples of malnutrition, disease, prostitution, and criminal violence associated with the encounter between indigenous groups and the representatives of global capitalism), but also their very existence as distinct societies and cultures is seriously endangered. This example is very important for any reflection on human security. In the case of the indigenous peoples, as discussed by Stavenhagen, human security is not primarily the security of a human individual.
It is the security of an individual as far as he or she is a member of a group with a specific political-economic, social and cultural context within which his or her security is challenged by the process of globalization which generates a insecurity in terms of their land and territory, their culture and their autonomy.
This is why Mushakoji considers that human security has to be guaranteed to each identity community which constitutes a human security community. Whether the Commission adopts this concept is unimportant, but it is crucial for it to take into consideration the fact that the human individuals belonging to different vulnerable groups feel insecure when they leave their identity group, and feel insecure inside it when the group itself is put in a situation of chronic insecurity, by loosing their land and territory, by loosing their culture, or by loosing their autonomy.
2.3 Human Insecurity of Migrant Workers
By the same token, human insecurity created by globalization for migrants, especially undocumented migrants treated as “illegal” by their recipient countries needs our attention. As Elmar Altvater points out, the process of globalization generates a massive flow of human migration which can not be ignored by any reflection on human security given the tragic expansion of human insecurity in this basically insecure sector of humankind. Throughout history, labour migration has been an important component of the world capitalist system, and the control of incoming migrants has been always considered by the modern nation States as an exigency for the preservation of their territorial sovereignty.
The privatization of the social services, traditionally provided by the State, characterizes the present neo-liberal globalization and implies the crisis of the welfare State. The lack of social security which follows, aggravates the insecurity created by the growing gaps between the rich and the poor. This generates both push and pull factors for the globalization of labour migration. With the advent of the global economy, nation States and civil societies are now, willy nilly, integrated in the global economic system, and their efforts to control selectively incoming migrants is becoming more and more difficult. This makes the immigration policies, especially of the recipient countries, increasingly selective and selfishly concerned with domestic security. Industrialized recipient States which had accepted as “Gastarbeiters” a considerable number of migrant workers in their time of prosperity, now tighten their selective control, welcoming only skilled migrant labour, such as those especially experienced in I(information) T(technology), rejecting the unskilled workers, or more exactly accepting them only as an legal” cheap labour exploitable workforce. This causes the informalisation of labour migration, which is channeled through the informal global networks of the transnational criminal organizations.
The human insecurity of the “illegal migrants” whose security is endangered by both the criminal organizations and by the public authorities is but part of a broader obstacle to human security, both structural and institutional. The financial globalization adds to their insecurity by the volatility of the capital movement and of prices (interests and exchange rates) which makes the global labour market highly fluctuating and uncertain. Insecurity experienced by the migrant workers, especially the undocumented ones, is chronic and unbearable. Their rights and security are often ignored by the global States only concerned by their survival in the global mega-competition. The sending States see in their outgoing migrant workers only a lucrative source of income sending home remittance. The recipient States develop a triage system, also to accept a skilled labour-force beneficial to add to the competitiveness of their national market.
As the International Labour Organization pointed out, the above-described trends of the global political economy calls for efforts by States and civil societies, including their corporate sector, to guarantee a minimum of human security, especially of socio-economic security, indispensable conditions for any democracy to function, providing a condition for “decent work” to everybody working on its territory.
The above-mentioned structural and institutional insecurity faced by migrant workers, due to neo-liberal policies associated with economic globalization, has to be fully addressed by the Commission in all its complexity. This is a difficult task, but we put our confidence its collective wisdom.
3. Global Militarization as a Source of Human Insecurity
3.1 Human Insecurity Generated by Militarization
As Betty Reardon insists, Human security can not be realized unless is means “quality of life” and “every day security” as well as protection from harm. A healthy environment, adequate nutrition, assurance of fundamental human rights and protection against harms imposed by policies made in the interests of the elites at the expense of the well-being of the general populace are essentials of the everyday aspects of human security, the fabric of ordinary life.
Global militarization is characterized by the growing impact of the military (and increasingly of the police) on the political economic power relations, on social reproduction, and on the everyday life of all members of the society, but especially of its most vulnerable sectors. It has a most serious impact on human security because militarization is often justified as a means to increase human security, i.e. the security not only of nations but also of their citizens. Militarization is linked with the military R and D and the arms industries, profiting the scientific/military/industrial/technocratic complex and supported by it.
The globalization of military industrial technology with strong competition down stream and close cooperation up-stream, relates people’s security to an increasingly powerful source of threat. Militarization triggers-off interventions in the name of humanitarianism and of human security. This creates more insecurity and involves the local peoples in its destructive activities, calling “collateral damage” the deaths caused by it. Militarization is accompanied by military bases and other stationary presence of a masculine and masculinist group called armed forces or peace keeping forces.
The history of gender-violence that U.S. military have committed on the women in the military base area, for example Okinawa, is well documented. This shows that the military itself is a violence-producing institution based on gender-violence. Because the soldiers, especially the Marines are prepared to engage in the front combat thus they are daily trained to maximize their capability to attack the enemy and sexism underlies in the process of dehumanizing the others. The pent-up feelings of frustration, anger and aggression are often vent out towards women in locality. The very structure of the military is a cause of human insecurity for women, and this poses fundamental questions on the very notion of militarized security: Whose security the military provide? This aspect of the military, and more broadly of militarization is a key issue for human security which will have to be treated thoroughly by the Commission. We will come back to this question in the section on the gender aspects of human security.
3.2 Human Insecurity Generated by Police Security
Another aspect of global militarization, which was pointed out by Erella Shadmi, is the emergence of a grey area where the military and the police roles become increasingly blurred. This creates diverse kinds of human insecurity which have to be taken into account in any reflection on human security. The recent trends of political economic globalization has made the military strategists to talk about the new threats the armed forces of the hegemon and its allies should address together. These new threats are identified by some governments, as threats to human security. It is drugs, AIDS/HIV, trafficking in women and children, “illegal” migration, and terrorism. These “threats” to the civil societies have been traditionally dealt with by the police as threats to domestic security, law and order. Globalization caused the distinction between police and military almost meaningless. Military interventions are now called police action, the air forces are mobilized to destroy fields of poppies, terrorism is the object of a global military intelligence network including the US plane which caused a diplomatic conflict between the US and the Chinese governments.
This new development can easily be treated as a major reason to protect by military and police means the human security of the civil society. Unless a good analysis of the intertwined old and new causes of the “security” issues is made, which is what the Commission should advocate, a very selective and arbitrary reference to problems of human security can be made - ignoring the seriousness of the insecurity generated by militarization. The human security involved in military bases can not be ignored, as long as human security, especially gender-based human security of the citizens is to be given priority over national and corporate interest. The problems of trafficking in women, so closely connected with military presence and R. and R. activities, can not be treated only as a problem of the transnational criminal organizations only. It is a combined consequence of militarization and global competition of service industries, ignoring human dignity and commodifying human persons.
The growth of the hidden sector of the global political economy, including the criminal organizations and the States’ information services is a new aspect, a hidden one, of the global trends of global militarization including its police version. We will come back to this problem in the section on the gender aspects of human security. The Report will have to include an analysis of this problem. The Commission can not ignore the importance to guarantee human security for the civil societies. Yet, this security should not sacrifice the security of the vulnerable peoples, be them local populations around the military bases, the trafficked persons, the “illegal” migrants, or the peasants making a poor living by growing poppies. We hope that the Commission will be able to develop a “common security” scheme which will not sacrifice the security of the vulnerable peoples to the security of the citizens of the rich countries.
In brief, human security may be undermined by global militarization and by military (and police) security. Military security is a contradiction in terms. Militaries are the most environmentally-damaging institutions in the world. They are patriarchal (even when women take part, and in some cases make military careers). The poverty draft in the U.S. means that young peoples from poorer (often black) communities enter the military as a way of getting health insurance, feeding their children, and perhaps furthering their education. They could be provided to all if the country spent a lot less than $310 billion per year on the military, that is if wealth supported genuine and universal human security.
Any real commitment to human security necessitates demilitarization and serious planning of an alternative security system different also from the global police system of surveillance and control. The Commission’s work is an exciting opportunity to put forward a model of genuine human security that can be a basis for analysis, research, evaluation, policy-making, and grassroots activism.
3.3 Human Insecurity Generated by Unilateral “Hegemonism”
We must, however, be frank and realistic and recognize the fact that global militarization is not a simple consequence of globalization. It is part of a politico-military project of the hegemonic power to rule over the global political economy. Militarization and the expansion of police security are closely connected with the problems originating in the unilateralism of the post Cold-War unipolar hegemony or what the Chinese call “Hegemonism”. This point was made especially clearly by Shi-Bin Yuan. According to him human security is by no means an abstract concept, but something realistic. It is closely linked with politics, economics, environment and civilization.
Yes, we are in a world of globalization today, yet the world is still structured on the basis of nation states that are equal in sovereignty according to the UN Charter. Globalization may push sovereign states to delegate more authority and power to a multilateral institution like the UN or a regional institution such as European Union, but it certainly does not mean that sovereign states will gradually swallowed up by globalization. No one can deny the fact that nations vary greatly in their traditions, cultures, religions, ideologies, values and ways of lives. Economically and politically they are at different stages of development.
Under such circumstances, human security is not threatened only by globalization as such, but also by the efforts of the West and particularly of the US administration to graft Western state structures, American values and their understanding of democracy onto different cultures and civilizations. All this has been done under the cover of so-called humanitarian intervention and the American national interests. This has been manifested not only in Africa, Asia and Latin America, but also in Europe.
In Africa, we witness chaotic freedom (is this real freedom?) and anarchism in many countries where they have adopted American-style democracy. In Latin America, people there have little choice in their political system. We saw American troops in Panama arresting the former Panamanian President for trial in the US. The only exception is Cuba. After the failure the Bay of Pigs invasion, the American Government has imposed military and economic sanctions upon this small country for about forty years - just because they have a different political system from the US. In the Asia-Pacific region, unilateral efforts of the US to scrap the agreement on anti-ballistic missiles reached with the Soviet Union in 1972 and the go-it-alone policy of the Bush government on the question of missile defense threatens to start a new round of armament competition which greatly threatens human security in this region.
In Europe the very recent extradition of Milosevic to The Hague demanded by the US government and openly realized with the lure of US dollars is a shameful and typical example of power politics that has already caused tremendous instability in the Yugoslav Federation. And the purpose of all this is to prove that the wanton bombing of Yugoslavia in 1998, killing hundreds of innocent civilians and destroyed bridges and non-military buildings including radio stations was correct. The turbulence and conflicts in Macedonia today is in fact an aftermath of US-led bombing of Kosovo, for which the West is not being held accountable. Of course, we can cite many more such examples which totally disregard or violate international norms of behavior between sovereign states.
Threats to human security caused by the unilateral activities of the hegemon and its allies must be controlled by multilateral efforts led by the United Nations and involving the different States and non-State actors who compose the legal, political and economic framework for the human security of the different peoples. A dialogue among them should be promoted. It should be based on shared ideas about the fact that human security can not be guaranteed unless the human security of the opposing groups are also guaranteed.
4. The Gender Aspects of Human Security
4.1 The Gender Aspaects of the Human Insecurity Experienced by the Victims of Trafficking
We have dealt with so far with the consequences of globalization and global militarization on human insecurity. Our e-group discussion focussed in terms of both subjects on their gender aspects. The gender aspect of globalization was stressed in connection with the human insecurity of the victims of trafficking created by the transnational criminal organizations, the global sex industries, and the government authorities. The gender aspects of global militarization was taken up both in connection with the human insecurity caused by the military bases, and of the human insecurity built in the peace keeping activities, both with a clear gender aspects to the human insecurity generated by global trafficking was especially discussed by Thanh-Dam Truong and Seiko Hanochi. The expansion of the global sex industry, accompanied by the trafficking into the industrialized countries of women and children from the developing countries, constitutes a violence against women and a double discrimination, gender-based and racial. Trafficking is often the result of racial discrimination and/or the limited social and economic opportunities available to the trafficked persons and their families.
Trafficking is a consequence of structural discrimination. Trafficking has an aspect of institutional discrimination, since it is very often the result of the absence of avenues for legal migration. The process of globalization is accompanied by an expansion of the global sex industries. This expansion takes place in spite of the fact that the State plays a role in regulating and limiting the increase of migrant workers, especially women workers in sex industries. The State is known to use its immigration and police agencies to control the criminal activities of the Mafia who traffic women for the sex industries. Nevertheless, the global sex industry prosper in spite of such State control.
The leisure industries, especially the sex industries are partially regulated but have taken part, as legally recognized industries, in the corporate sector's hegemony formed in the service of the interests of the State, in each stage of its modernization and globalization. This hegemonic alliance of the State with the sex industries and the illegal Yakuza/Mafia criminal organizations exploiting the sex industries is made possible by specific combinations of structures and institutions corresponding to the interest of the agents involved and by the historical development of the State The State's decision to regulate and limit the immigration, which increases with the widening gap between rich and poor countries, facilitates the role of the transnational criminal organizations, who profit from the demand for 'illegal' migration.
We consider that the concealed structures linking the legal sex industries to the illegal criminal organizations combined with the hegemonic alliance between the State and the sex industries helps the sex industries, especially when they participate in the global economy, to commodify women from poorer countries. Trafficking of women, a sex trade from poor to rich countries, is not just conducted on the basis of the commercial value of the work force but represents the 'culture' of (women) bodies particular to the Bourgeoisie of the industrial countries in general, and of Japan in the case under study in this paper.
The globalization of the criminal organizations is perceived as a challenge to the States' authority, and not to protect the rights and dignity of the victims of trafficking, The industrialized powers, the G7 repeat the importance of their cooperation to fight trafficking in women. The United Nations is preparing a Convention against the transnational organized crime with a Protocol on the trafficking of persons, especially women and children. However all these institutional efforts are only peripherally concerned about the protection of the fundamental rights of the victims of trafficking and of the exploitation.
The sex sector is a hidden indispensable institution of the masculinist civil society. The states consider their only task is to maintain law and order in the sex districts, ignoring their responsibility to make institutional efforts to transform the political-economic structures and the socio-cultural conditions which are at the root of this extreme case of human insecurity and of violence against women. There is a need not to treat the victims as criminals, leaving free the true culprits.
The reality, however, is inauspicious to such institutional development, since political and economic interests, legal and illegal, exercise a countervailing influence, wherever such initiatives are taken to protect the rights of the women victims from the combined activities of the criminals and of the State. Such political and economic interests can be opposed only by a healthy gender-sensitive civil society which stands up to protect the rights of the women exploited by the traffickers and the industries, by the criminals and by the police. To build such a civil society is, in other words, to build a human security culture in the civil society, which respect the victims and protect them from the threats they receive conctantly from the criminals, the sex industries, and the State authorities.
It is also important, in addressing the gender dimension of human security, to take into account the fact that research has shown how forms of direct violence experienced by women and children in prostitution are very closely related to the social construction of their sexual identities. Since the 1980s many incidences of sexual slavery have emerged to public consciousness. State reaction to this evidence has been directed at silencing activists based on the fear of national shame.
The global sex industries reproducing its work force by trafficking women from the poor countries can be seen as a most typical case of the violence built into the structures of the neo-liberal global market and its underlying masculinist and racial culture. Human security must provide the ground rules for the creation of favorable institutional, structural, and cultural conditions for combating the criminality of the global sex industry, taking into full account of the rights and dignity of the victims, and the need to eliminate the market commofifying human bodies.
In this connection there exists a concept which can be integrated into the very definition of human security which can be useful to the Commission. The concept of socio-economic security was recently developed by ILO for the purpose of guaranteeing the global standard of 'decent work'. 'Decent work' is one that guarantees the security of the workers, which is too often forfeited for the competitiveness of their corporate employers. This concept is also useful when considering the protection and promotion of the rights of trafficked persons. Often, discussions on the rights violated by trafficking are limited to those that result from coercion and exploitation. However, the right to socio-economic security, though often neglected, must be a primary consideration in the question of trafficked persons.
Victims of trafficking fall pray to the criminal organisations that subject them to insecure and 'indecent' working conditions. Trafficked persons, especially women and children, fall victims to trafficking precisely because of their hopes for a more stable socio-economic condition which is not attainable in their own countries due to impoverishment from the global economy. Once trafficked, the victims are then placed in a state of chronic insecurity, as with victims of bonded-labour and other forms of exploitation. Their socio-economic insecurity is often increased by immigration and police authorities who treat them as so-called 'illegal' migrant workers. For example, the Filipinas who were trafficked to Japan and repatriated with children who are referred to as JFCs, or 'Japanese Filipino Children'. From the time of their recruitment, up to the time of their repatriation, thereafter, their lack of security constituted a fundamental violation of their socio-economic rights.
The Commission is requested not to neglect the important question of the right to socio-economic security in their consideration of the trafficking and smuggling in persons and the protection of their human rights. The issue of socio-economic security is one that must be clearly recognised and adequately protected by the international community as a basic aspect of human security.
4.2 The Gender Aspects of Human Insecurity in Peace-Keeping Operations
Another gender aspect of human security and insecurity is related to global militarization. The e-group email@example.com was informed by Sandra Witworth of her work on the Canadian Peace Keeping Operations, and shared her concern about the following gender biased set of problems which poses a fundamental problem about the very institution of PKO. The Canadian peace-keepers are considered to be the best in the world, and the Witworth study find problem caused by masculinity even in their case.
In her research she deconstructs the myth which idealizes the Canadian Peace Keeping activities, taking the case of a Somali youth, Arone who was maltreated by the peace keeping para-troupers. Arone's tragic death, and the shooting two weeks earlier of two Somali men by Canadian soldiers, sparked a series of Courts Martials and eventually prompted the Canadian Government to launch a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the activities of its Forces in Somalia.
Witworth stresses in her research the problems of militarized masculinity and the use of soldiers - people trained to destroy other human beings by force - in peace operations. However, the dramatic expansion of peacekeeping missions in the post-Cold War period demands such an analysis. She concludes her study by pointing out that the case she studied leads us to questions about the constitution and effects of militarized masculinity. The evidence strongly shows that it is constituted through norms of masculinity which privilege violence, racism, aggression and hatred towards women. And its effects were dramatically depicted in Somalia. What this means for human security is that a change of 'mission'-from military to peace-keeping- does not by itself transform the years of training and socialization that have gone into the creation of a soldier.
Particularly in elite units such as commandos, paratroopers, and special service forces], but also in other combat units, behaviour which may be considered verging on the sociopathic in peacetime becomes a prerequisite for survival in war. Aggressiveness must be selected for in military organizations and must be reinforced during military training, but it may be extremely difficult to make fine distinctions between those individuals who can be counted on to act in an appropriately aggressive way and those likely at some time to display inappropriate aggression.
What this suggests, quite dramatically, is that the skills of war are often quite at odds with those required for peace operations. Indeed, it is often the non-military contributions which Canadian peacekeepers make for which they are best remembered. In Somalia, these included re-opening a local school and hospital. In other settings it has included building parks for children, and serving as mediators in difficult situations. This means that we need to acknowledge that soldiers don't always make the best peacekeepers - sometimes it is carpenters, mediators and doctors who best perform that function, and who best contribute to a people's sense of a meaningful security. It means also that when we do send soldiers on peace operations, they need to be soldiers who have been trained and encouraged to understand that properly masculine behaviour need not be dependent on misogyny, racism or violence.iii Keeping the peace positively demands it.
It is clear that the case of Canada raises a general question about Peace Keeping, and its gendered bias towards militarization. This is a serious problem which has to be asked whenever human security is used as a yardstick to measure the achievements of Peace Keeping. We hope that the Commission will take up this question, and look at it within a gender-sensitive perspective.
4.3 The Gender Aspect of Initiatives for Human Security Against Militarization
Another theme relating global militarization and gender regards the positive role of the women movements in coping with human insecurity generated by the effects of global militarization. The case of the gendered violence created by the military bases in Okinawa triggered-off such a movement which has been reported by Kozue Akibayashi.
In recent years, a stronger women's peace and human rights movement emerged in Okinawa that gained more visibility when they raised distinctive voices as women against the rape of 12-year old Okinawan girl by three U.S. soldiers in September 1995. The rape was coincided with the UN 4th World Women's Conference in Beijing, where 71 Okinawan women participated in NGO Forum. One of the workshops of Okinawan women was devoted to present their analysis of the military: 'Military: Structural Violence and Women.' At this workshop they demonstrated the history of gender-violence that U.S. military have committed on Okinawan women, and showed that the military itself is a violence-producing institution based on gender-violence.
When they found out about the rape insident upon their return from Beijing, they immediately took action of protest in response to the young victim's courage to report the crime to the local police. It was reported that she said that she had reported to the police because she did not want to the same crime to repeat. The NGO Forum participants' public protests lead the island-wide protests against U.S. military bases which were the cause of many forms of insecurity, especially for the local women. The protesters identified a variety of sources of insecurity generated by the armed forces of the military bases, abduction, attempted rape, rape including cases of gang rape, and murder . Prostitution around the bases is another form of violence against women by the military. Another problem that women in Okinawa have faced is the problem of mixed-raced children fathered by U.S. military personnel; Amerasian children. There are cases of the results of sexual crimes, cases that fathers abandoned their wives and children. Amerasian children often suffer discrimation because of their mixed-race appearances, and of hostility against U.S. military.
The above-mentioned problems that the movement of Okianwa women have brought up are yet to be included in the security discourse on the realist paradigm. They can not be ignored in any effort to promote human security. As they argue correctly, demilitarizing security is imperative in order to achieve authentic human security, because militarized security does not provide security for women and children.
4.4 The Gender aspects of Human Security
The above examples of the different gender aspects of globalization and of global militarization are presented to the Commission in view of their importance and also because the e-group dialogue indicated the importance of looking at all the problems of human security with a gendered perspective. The e-group learned from several feminist participants the importance of looking at all the human security problems within an everyday life, 'quotidian' context.
An important aspect of human security which we humbly recommend the Commission to address itself is the gender aspect of security. This is not only in terms of the fact that human insecurity is most often accompanying a gender dimension, and that women are the object of gender violence which constitute a most serious threat to human security.
The gender dimension is crucial, because, as many remarks were made in the course of our humsec dialogue about the fact that women tend to have a perspective on security which can provide to the whole discussion on human security a special point of view which shed lights on aspects of human insecurity often ignored by the masculinist discussion on security, national or human.
Among the four principles of human security we have proposed at the beginning of this Letter, the need to define human security with a special emphasis on everyday experiences of insecurity is especially relevant to women exposed in their everyday lives to situations, structures, and institutions constantly causing their insecurity. 'Everyday (quotidian) security' as a concept and experience derives from women's lives and experiences. In general, women are most negatively affected by globalization and cannot be secure so long as the hegemonic military power maintains the imbalance in the economic system through the imbalance in command of weaponry and the 'hardware' of security. This imbalance is likely to persist so long as women are only a token minority in security establishments, and in the policy sectors where security is defined measured.
The 'dailiness' of human security which is self evident to many women is lacking in the present security system which in its preoccupation with the realm of protection from harm, places the highest priority on 'national defense', (read 'military force') giving at best secondary concern to the other three areas that are most significant to quotidian security. A healthful environment, adequate nutrition, assurance of fundamental human rights and protection against harms, imposed by policies made in the interests of the elites at the expense of the well-being of the general populace are essentials of the dailiness of human security, the fabric of ordinary life.
With few exceptions the fabric of ordinary life is the concern of women and governance remains in the care of men. Thus, there is, in the wider realm of human security a sharp division which assigns the daily chores of family and social survival to women and the political tasks of national and state security to men, reinforcing a dysfunctional separation between public and private and, in most societies, the exclusion of women from public policy making, thus closing them and their perspectives out of the security discourse, contributing to the lack of consideration of human security issues in determining approaches to national security.
This separation has also often been cited as a primary cause of the lack of actual physical security masses of women experience in their own homes, and communities. The public vs. private dichotomy, or physical vs. psycho-social aspects of security confuses the trues issues of human security. In many instances, women's physical experience of insecurity can be interpreted as a consequence of men's psycho-social experience of insecurity arising from the perceptions of threats from outside their sphere's of governance (and increasingly moe often of threats to their control of governance from within.) For men in the public sphere insecurity derives from percieved threats with varying degrees of actuality.
For women insecurity derives from experience of physical abuse and deprivation, forms of violence which run along the whole range of a continuum from verbal abuse to sexual enslavement and the fundamental economic deprivation now exacerbated by globalization.
It is pointed out by feminist researchers that the present highly militarized global security system undermines all four sources of genuine/human/quotidian security. It must also be noted that militarized security imposes a greater burden on the personal/quotidian security of women. Such indicators as the increase of domestic violence documented in Israel during both Intifadas and the greater frequency of rape and sexual exploitaion of women around military bases and operations (including trafficking into areas of 'peacekeeping') attest to the erosion of an already tenuous condition of the physical security of women in public as well as private spheres. A primary example of this is Okinawa where women have organized against the long term military presence they have endured for six decades under Japanese and US control.
The ever increasing militarization of society increases women's phyiscal insecurity and vulnerability as it decreases their recourse to protection, the very security need that rationalize military security. A significant indicator of this deficit of recourse to protection is the increasing militarization of police by their being more and more used to impose order rather than protect citizens.
A gender analysis of human security illuminates the condition of the vulnerable and the significance that should be given to vulnerability in the conceptualization of security. The human species, in this historic period, is now understood to constitute a biological unity. Human society from the perspective of the United Nations constitutes a normative unity (viz. international legal standards on human rights, environment etc.) The normative unity is producing an international ethic to assure the well being the biological unity. It can be demonstrated that military security in addition to undermining the fundamental sources of human security also sytematically violates the normative order the drive to achieve invulnerabilty in the face of the perceived threats to national security.
Women, children, the aged, the sick and the poor live in an imposed state of vulnerablity, thus weakening the entire biological unity. Failure to consider means to compensate for the security deficits of the vulnerable places significant and largely over looked actual threats to the human security of all of human society. Security must be reconceptualized to recognize this condition and the reality of the vulnerabilty of all living systems and their components, most of all the living system of human society. A major purpose of any security system should be the reduction of its vuneralbity by attending to and compensating for the most vulnerable components of the system. This means that the human security needs of women and all other vulnerable groups should be the primary concerns of definitions and proposals of human security. We humbly submit the above points, including the emphasis on the 'quotidian' and on the security of the most vulnerable peoples, to the consideration of the Commission.
5. Cultural Dialogue and Human Security
5.1 The Cultural Dimensions of Human Insecurity
Security is not primarily a physical but a psycho-social experience. After all the fear of physical attack is itself a psycho-social phenomenon. Indeed, a strong case can be made for treating insecurity, rather than security, as the conceptual point of departure. That, in a sense, is the deeper meaning of human security. Many proponents of the notion of human security equate it with ‘quality of life’. This approach, while it has the obvious advantage of highlighting the concept’s multi-dimensional character, in practice deprives it of its explanatory power. If, on the other hand, the stress is placed on the psycho-social dimensions of insecurity, it matters less whether or not the concept is consciously reflected in the discursive practices of states. More important are the analytical insights it offers us.
Analytically, what is critical to human security is not sustainable development, human rights and fundamental freedoms, the rule of law, good governance, protection of the environment or social equity per se. These are all highly desirable outcomes, and no doubt integral to human welfare, but their relationship to security is more complex. What is critical to security is the maintenance of a social order, which has enough pattern and regularity to it to inspire in the self a degree of confidence in the future.
This is precisely what we mean by psycho-social security, sometimes called ontological security.
Conversely, insecurity relates to the experience of social disruption, the fragility of social relationships, the absence of cognitive control over, or affective empathy with, various forms of human interaction (which would very much include the ecological implications of such interaction). Psycho-social insecurity can be seen as the perceived disruption -actual or potential - of the social order. We may speak of a cleavage or dissonance in the patterns of mutual knowledge, as well as in the fabric of common norms and shared loyalties. To this extent, insecurity is inextricably linked with the problem of collective identity.
The awakening of national consciousness in late eighteenth century Europe and the subsequent development of notions of nationhood and national identity may be understood as the peculiarly modern and politically far-reaching response to the experience of insecurity. The individual‘s feelings of insecurity may be accentuated by the realisation that this is a social rather than purely personal experience. In periods of acute collective anxiety and insecurity, the tendency will be to search for new unifying symbols or to revive long established ones. This is precisely the function of national culture, national honour, and national glory, and the collective memories of the past and collective expectations of the future which they imply.
National identity does not, however, operate in a vacuum. The principle of self-determination has been repeatedly used to establish a fusion between nation and state. Over time a form of bureaucratic nationalism has emerged, whose function has been to appeal to - some would say manipulate - national symbols and loyalties as a means of strengthening the unity and legitimacy of the state. In many parts of the world, nation-building has become inseparable from, and in many instances the legitimating principle for, state-building, and national security but a code-word for state security.
Enough has been said to indicate that security and insecurity are fundamentally subjective and relational. The construction of the image of self and other is replete with moral choices. To identify the needs which security policy must address is to make moral judgments about competing priorities, loyalties and identities. This applies as much to issues of environmental security as to military security, as much to the question of NATO's enlargement as it does to the Korean conflict or the East Timor dispute.
Human security discourse may therefore be considered in part an attempt to develop the policy implications of this normative perspective. It is, in fact, part of a larger project which takes issue with the positivist reading of social order, and points to the essentially unstable, fluid, contested and normative character of security. This is why any discussion on human security can not ignore the cultural aspects of insecurity, which can be summarized under the heading ”clashes of civilization”. The other side of the coin, is that human security can benefit from an open and enriching dialogue among cultures. We humbly suggest that the Commission could take both the negative and the positive aspects of this cultural problematique which negative and positive tendencies are intensified by the globalization of communication and human mobility.
5.2 The Cultural Insecurity Called Islamophobia
On the negative side, the case of “Islamophobia” provides a typical example of the human insecurity generated by the clash between the West and some non-Western civilizations and cultures. This is a point on which Chandra Muzzafar makes the following remarks.
“Today, the mainstream Western media portrays Islam or what it describes as ‘militant Islam’ or ‘fundamentalist Islam’ as a threat to the West. The media, the government, the geopolitical strategists, and --- although they are marginal to the culture at large --- the academic experts on Islam are all in concert: Islam is a threat to Western civilization”.
If anything, that notion of a ‘threat’ to the West has become even stronger in the nineties. Selective and therefore biased analysis adds to our ignorance rather than our knowledge, narrows our perspective rather than broadening our understanding, reinforces the problem rather than opening the way to new solutions”. On numerous occasions, policy-makers and politicians in the West, particularly the United States, have exploited this ignorance, this narrow perspective to advance self-serving foreign policy objectives. Why, one may ask, are Muslims stigmatised in this manner? Why is there so much bias and antagonism against Muslims within certain crucial segments of Western society? Part of the explanation lies in the Muslim conquest and occupation of parts of Western, Southern and Eastern Europe for long centuries. Though Muslim rulers were, by and large, just and fair to the Christian and Jewish communities under their charge, there was, nonetheless -- and understandably so -- a certain degree of resentment towards the alien conquerors. The infamous crusades which ended in the defeat of the Christian invaders of Arab-Muslim lands in West Asia also heightened European antagonism towards Islam and its followers.
It is a measure of the intensity of European antagonism that Western civilisation has consciously chosen to downplay, even ignore, the immense debt that it owes Islam and the Muslims. In almost every facet of life, from medicine and algebra to law and government, Islam had laid the foundation for the progress of medieval Europe. In the words of the distinguished Irish scholar-diplomat, Erskine Childers:“In every discipline upon which Europe then began to build its epochal advancement, European monarchs, religious leaders and scholars had to turn to Arab sources. When once any Western student of history manages to learn of this vast Arab inheritance buried out of sight and mind in Western historiography, the astonishment that the very facts of it do not appear in Western education is the greater because the proofs are literally in current Western language”.
Childers describes the unwillingness of the West to acknowledge the intellectual inheritance of Islam as “a collective amnesia”. However, what perpetuated this collective amnesia through the centuries was not just the mere memory of conquest and crusades. The West was determined to block out Islam for yet another more important reason. This, in a sense, is at the root of contemporary Western antagonism towards Islam and the Muslims. It is the persistence of Muslim resistance to Western colonialism and neo-colonialism. colonial powers. Since the end of formal colonial rule, Muslim societies are discovering that they are once again the targets of new forms of Western domination and control. This is primarily because most of the world’s oil reserves -- the lifeblood of Western industrial civilisation -- lie beneath Muslim feet. Controlling Muslim and Southern oil has been a fundamental goal of US foreign policy for at least the last 4 decades.
Anyone who dares to resist American control, or worse, challenges its hegemony, is at once branded as an ‘extremist’, a ‘radical’ or simply ‘a threat to peace and stability’. (e.g. the Iranian Prime Minister Muhammad Mossadegh, the Iraqi and Libyan, Iranian leadership) Whatever the ideological orientations of the leaderships of oil-producing countries -- and indeed each of them relates to Islam in a different way -- the West has decided that they are all Muslim militants, “fundamentalists” and sponsors of terrorism. What the general public in the West and even in the East does not realize is that the conscious denigration of these leaderships has less to do with their misdemeanours (which do exist) and more to do with their assertion of authority over their one most precious natural resource.
To this is added the ideological struggle associated with the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
It is not difficult to understand why massive propaganda machines choose to project Islam and Muslims in such a derogatory light. By presenting Islam as evil and Muslims as loathsome, their opponents try to justify their own illegitimate, immoral usurpation and annexations. This explains why those Palestinians and Arabs who resist Israeli occupation and subjugation -- the real freedom-fighters -- are invariably described in the mainstream Western media as ‘terrorists’ and ‘militants’. It is quite conceivable that negative portrayals of Palestinians and Arabs resisting Israeli and Western domination may get worse in the coming years. This is partly because the main thrust of opposition sentiment to not only Western domination but also to local regimes which are in cohorts with Western powers, is now being channeled through the ideology of Islam.
Indeed, Islam is rapidly emerging as the ideological rallying point for Muslims everywhere as they aspire for genuine liberation from the fetters of both local despotism and global authoritarianism. Given the prevailing perceptions of Islam within the major centres of power in the West, one can expect its political elites and opinion-makers to respond to Islamic resurgence with even more anger and antagonism.
This would be a real pity. For it can only lead to greater strife and conflict, exacerbated by all the prejudices and misconceptions accumulated through the ages. There is an urgent need, therefore, for mainstream Western society to try and understand Islam and the Muslims with an ‘openness of mind and heart’ which is sadly missing today. As the Christian scholar, Karen Armstrong put it, in her analysis of Western-Muslim relations, “We in the West must come to terms with our own inner demons of prejudice, chauvinism and anxiety, and strive for a greater objectivity”. In the process, one hopes that the West will realize that if there is to be genuine peace and harmony between the West and Islam -- and within the human family as a whole -- those structures which allow the few who are powerful to dominate the many who are powerless would have to be replaced by new institutions that promote equality and justice for all. At the same time, as the West evaluates itself, so must the Muslim world examine itself critically. The rise of Islam with all the emotional power it commands makes it incumbent upon us to ask some searching questions about certain Muslim attitudes and priorities.
Islamophobia is a typical, but only one among so many other cases of human insecurity which is widely spread around the industrialized regions. This is a new form of cultural racism which is often “taken for granted” due to overwhelming media indoctrination. Even if the World public opinion is better prepared to condemn them, other forms of racism and discrimination are intensifying their ravage around the world thanks to the globalization of the cyber-space. Anti-Semitism by the Neo Nazis and many others, the hate crimes against Afro-descendants in the United States and elsewhere, caste and descent-based discriminations are all rooted in the same cultural exclusivism claiming supremacy of one cultural community over some others. This is why human security can not be sustained unless cultural unilateralism is overcome and replaced by a dialogue among the different cultural and civilizational currents which have enriched human history.
5.3 Inter-Cultural Dialogue Promoting Human Security
As Richard Falk writes, human rights, democracy, and freedom have been achieved or are being fought for thanks to the secularism which emerged after a bitter fight for this denial of religious unilateralisms in the history of the modern Western societies. It is a great achievement which the non-Western cultures can learn from with much benefits. Nevertheless, human security requires the development of a dialogue between the secular traditions of modern human rights and democracy, and the religious and spiritual traditions in the different regions of the World.
A sustainable world community, which promotes human security, can only result from a combination of secular and spiritual energies, and that from this perspective the religious resurgence is an indispensable source of hope, as well as a dangerous challenge to the achievements of modernity. The many initiatives associated with inter-civilization dialogue are a crucial part of this world cultural preparation for the next stage in world order centered on human solidarity, sustainable development, global civil society, and multi-level arrangements of global governance.
So comprehended, the negative energies of resistance to such transformative possibilities arouse intense emotions as was evident in the global resonance to Samuel Huntington’s depiction of the coming clash of civilizations. The clash hypothesis is the shadow side of post-Westphalian struggle, a darkness that lacks any impulse toward transcendence. The silver lining of dialogic interaction is not merely an exchange of views to avoid perverse misunderstandings and recriminations, it is an endeavor to collaborate in the hard work of political and moral imagination that must be done on a global scale if the outcome is to be eventually welcomed.
The citizen pilgrim is engaged as a militant in this process. The religious factor need not be explicit or direct. Reliance on “human rights” or on “human security” as a universal political language is a secular alternative for engaging in dialogue, despite some serious drawbacks arising from perceived Western biases and the marginal role of non-Western civilizations in the norm-generating experience. (In this connection, human security has the advantage over human rights in that its theoretical development is new and does not have the imprint of Western discourse the latter has). By accepting the challenge of dialogue, as in the work of such seminal non-Western thinkers as Chandra Muzaffar, Tu Weiming, and Ahmet Davutoglu, there arises a real possibility that a shared understanding of what needs to be done to safeguard the human future can begin to take shape.
The moves in this direction remain at the margins of entrenched power, both the residual power of the state and the new constellation of forces associated with globalization (and regionalization). But there are signs on the horizons that such a dialogic civilizational/religious challenge will become inevitably more credible. As yet, little has been done to prepare humanity for the advent of radical technologies likely to emerge in the course of the next several decades. The ethical/political problems associated with biogenetics (including human cloning), advanced robotics (including sophisticated robot armies), and super-computers (with problem-solving and decision-making capabilities far exceeding what humans can achieve) present a series of challenges to the meaning and nature of life that cannot be confined in space without risking catastrophic developments that could imperil human survival. It is not relevant to interpret the controversy unleashed as to whether the technological innovations on the horizons are as a big a menace as Joy supposes. What seems inevitable is that human consciousness will be profoundly challenged throughout the world to respond in a manner that allows for a global democratic process of assessment and regulation.
It is within such a future that human security will have to aim at a community of believers in the collective destiny of the human species. When such attitudes intersect with tendencies toward transnational networking and institutional innovation, the foundations for new varieties of citizenship will begin to emerge, with appropriate patterns of allegiance, participation, and accountability. Such varieties remain over the horizon, beyond our imagining capacities, but their preconditions are beginning to become clear, expressive of an ethos of nonviolence, sustainability, compassion, and solidarity.
We conclude this lengthy Open Letter by reiterating our conviction that the United Nations Independent Commission on Human Security will play a key role in the promotion of human security, and we submit to its Chairs this Open Letter in the hope that it may be of some help to them in approaching this problematique which concerns us all.
Respectfully submitted by:
Konstantin M. Dologov (Russia)
Vinod Raina (India)
Lau Kinchi(Hong Kong, China)
Rodolfo Stavenhagen (Mexico)
Chandra Muzaffar (Malaysia)
Joseph A. Camilleri (Australia)
Majid Tehranian (Iran/Hawaii)
Hayward Alker (USA)
Richard Falk (USA)
Yuan Shibin (China)
Mihaly Simai (Hungary)
Makoto Katsumata (Japan)
Hideaki Uemura (Japan)
Achola Pala Okeyo (Kenya)
Nancy C.M. Hartsock (the U.S.A) Nasrin Mosaffa (Iran)
Lee Jung-ok (Korea)
Thanh-dam Truong (Netherland)
Betty A. Reardon (U.S.A.)
Kinhide Mushakoji (Japan)
Jonathan Nitzan (Canada)
Sandra Whitworth (Canada)
Cynthia Enloe (U.S.A)
Robert W. Cox (Canada)
Isabella Bakker (Canada)
Stephen Gill (Canada)
Seiko Hanochi (Japan)
Brigitte Young (Germany)
Elmar Altvater (Germany)
Yacine Fall (Senegal)
Haggith Gor Ziv (Israel)
Gwyn Kirk (U.S.A.)
Margo Okazawa Rey (U.S.A.)
Birgit Mahnkopf (Germany)
Shahla Nazaran (Iran)
Touba Kermani (Iran)
Matt Davids (USA)
In view of the tragic breach of human security committed by the terrorists in New York and Washigton on 11 September 2001, and the reaction of the Government of the United States with extremely serious implications to human security, we can not conclude this Open Letter without mentioning our serious concern about the insecurity which waits humankind in the 21st century. This is why we attach here two documents written by two colleagues who have contributed to the firstname.lastname@example.org discussion which helped us prepare this Open Letter.
15 September 2001
His Excellency Mr. George W. Bush
The President of the United States of America
Dear Mr. President
*The Tyranny of Terror; the Triumph of Truth
*Peace be upon you
Allow me to express our profound sadness and sorrow over the horrendous carnage that occurred in New York and Washington DC in the morning of 11 September 2001.
The terrorist attacks upon the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon were an utterly reprehensible act. What made it even more abhorrent was the massacre of innocent civilians -- a dastardly deed condemned in all our religions.
Condemning terrorism alone is not enough. As you have rightly recognised, the international community must join forces to combat terrorism together. But how do we fight terrorism? Can we eliminate terrorism through military might?
Organising an international coalition to hunt down terrorists and to destroy their sanctuaries is not a solution. For the terrorist bases and their networks will re-emerge as long as the root causes of the phenomenon have not been addressed. Besides, employing one's military prowess to pulverise terrorism will only goad the terrorists to retaliate. And when they counter attack, the forces that want to crush them will respond. It will go on and on. The vicious cycle of violence will reduce everyone and everything to smithereens.
This is why the crying need of the hour is not cobbling together an international military alliance. It is understanding the causes and circumstances that facilitate the rise of terrorism. While the reasons are undoubtedly complex, it is not difficult to identify certain factors that have fuelled terrorism in recent years -- factors which may throw some light upon the September 11 catastrophe.
Mr. President, the policies of the US government in the Middle East in the last 50 odd years, and especially in the last decade, have created so much frustration and desperation among the Arab masses that it has set the stage for terrorism. Palestine more than any other conflict epitomises this sense of hopelessness and helplessness. Because of the United States' intimate relationship with Israel, Palestinians and Arabs are convinced that they cannot expect even a modicum of justice from your government. The brutal suppression of the second Intifada in the last few months which witnessed Israel unleash the full fury of state terror upon a humiliated and subjugated people was perhaps 'the last straw that broke the camel's back'. In the eyes of the victims of Israeli aggression and occupation, their oppressor could not have embarked upon such merciless suppression without the support and solidarity of the US.
Add to this, the unending suffering of the Iraqi people because of the cruel sanctions imposed by the United Nations at the behest of your government and your British partner. 10 years after the end of a war which your father fought to protect American and Western oil interests in the Gulf, sanctions are killing scores of children everyday because of an acute shortage of essential medicines and a disintegrating healthcare system. It has been estimated that more than half a million children have died as a direct or indirect consequence of US engineered sanctions.
It is the situation in Palestine and Iraq that has created that huge reservoir of resentment, of bitterness, of hatred towards the US in the Middle East. But there have been other monumental calamities in the region from Lebanon in the fifties to Sudan in the nineties that the Arabs hold the US responsible for. Through much of the Middle East, a region which is of tremendous geoeconomic and geopolitical significance to the US, ordinary women and men, rightly or wrongly, perceive the US as the primary cause of their misery and their deprivation. This perception has developed also because they know that it is the US which helps to prop up some of the corrupt, autocratic but oil-rich regimes in the region that continue to resist demands for social justice and democratic rule.
Instead of persuading these autocratic client states to respond to the winds of change, the US persists in manipulating them to maintain its hegemony. US hegemony extends throughout the world. At a time when the good citizens of the US are so deeply concerned about the sanctity of life, it may be illuminating to remind all of us that that hegemony began on 6 August 1945 with the bombing of Hiroshima which obliterated thousands of innocent people from the face of the earth. It is estimated that 3 million people died in Vietnam and Indochina so that the US could maintain its hegemonic power. And in Panama, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Chile, indeed the whole of Latin America, from the fifties to the early eighties, tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children had perished as a result of a superpower's desire to perpetuate its control and dominance through covert operations, espionage activities, assassination squads, economic strangulation and organised political subversion.
This is why, Mr. President, in many parts of the world while there is so much sympathy for the bereaving people of America there is a great deal of antipathy towards an arrogant superpower. The Christian scriptures tell us 'What you sow, you shall reap.' In Islam, as in Hinduism and Buddhism, there is acknowledgment of the law of requittal. In the context of the terrible tragedy that has befallen the US, nothing is perhaps more apt than that wise Confucian saying, echoed in Judaism and other traditions, 'Do not do to others what you do not want others to do to you.' It should be the golden rule of not just inter-personal ties but also inter-state relations.
Mr. President, the United States should cease to be a hegemon whose tentacles reach every nook and cranny of the planet. America's hegemonic control is one of the root causes of global injustice. When a hegemonic global system centralises power, wealth and knowledge in the hands of a minority, when there are very few avenues of action to ensure a certain degree of accountability on the part of the sole superpower, the feeling of marginalisation and alienation among the many can sometimes lead to disastrous consequences.
Mr. President, you can begin the process of re-building a new America which neither dominates nor dictates to others, an America which is guided by the principle of justice, rather than the imperative of power, in its relations with other nations. For a start, one could undertake a sincere review of the US's Middle East policy. Work with courage and integrity towards the establishment of a sovereign, independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. Show some humanity and compassion and lift the crippling sanctions against the people of Iraq. A lot of the anger and frustration in the Middle East will dissipate. Terrorism will not find succour among the people.
A good, kind and generous people are trying to make sense of a grim and grave tragedy. It is a time to cry. It is also a time to think. And a time to reflect. A time to pray.
Mr. President, you are a religious person. So are the American people. We pray that God will give you and your people the strength and the humility to discover the truth about your nation and the truth about the enormous power that America commands.
When you have embraced that truth, the tyranny of terror and the viciousness of violence will be vanquished.
With warm regards.
Dr. Chandra Muzaffar
International Movement for a Just World
THE SEARCH FOR MEASURED RESPONSES
September 11, 2001 may be considered a defining moment in world history. For a decade now pundits have been groping for a new catch phrase to identify the main features of the post-Cold War era. End of History,Clash of Civilizations, and Globalization have been obvious candidates.These terms catch an aspect of the phenomenon but distort others. None ofthese terms seems to fit the new reality of a global war of terrorism and counter-terrorism that seems to lie ahead of the world. There is no catch phrase to grasp the tragedy and complexity of this new reality.
Since both state and non-state actors are acting with willful planning, we may call our troubled times, 'The Era of Death by Design'. There is also no panacea for the crisis. The problem seems to have three linked features. First, we have witnessed mounting terrorist acts in the past 40 years carried out both by state and non-state actors. Second, we are witnessing the rise of a new global system characterized by growing gaps among and within nations. Third, we now live in a global fishbowl in which Hollywood extravaganzas as well as starving children in Africa are displayed for all to see on their television screens. The envy and hatred generated by global communication seems to have outpaced the benefits.
In the past decade, Western powers have demonstrated that they can destroy their adversaries in Iraq and Yugoslavia with high tech weapons without much damage to themselves. Terrorism has consequently become the weapon of choice by the weaker states and groups. The suicide attacks in New York, Washington, and Israel are part of that lesson. The 'enemy' in this case is not a territorial state. It is the fringe elements of a much larger global resentment against the way the world is being run. We have entered into a new form of politics and warfare against the commodity fetishism of globalization, identity fetishism has become the ideological vehicle of the marginalized groups. Benjamin Barber has called it 'Jihad vs. McWorld'.
Against the market fundamentalism of neo-liberalism, religious and ethnic fundamentalism is the new battle cry. Against post-modern cosmopolitanism of the centers, pre-modern kinship and tribal loyalties are the cultural orientation of the peripheries. Since the advanced industrial world is powerful but highly vulnerable to sabotage and surprise, the new weapon of shock terrorism is deadly and effective. In future, it may include other weapons of mass destruction. The types of weapons that could possibly be deployed by terrorists in the future are too horrible to contemplate.
The response to terrorism cannot be divorced from its underlying causes. Both problems are global in scope. The approach must be commensurately global. Despite its shortcomings, the United Nations system continues to provide us with a useful institution under which a carefully devised strategy of war on violence and poverty can be fought. The United Nations counter-terrorism and peacekeeping forces must be reinforced. We need a standing UN peacekeeping force that is fully equipped with counter-terrorist intelligence and the necessary means to prevent tragedies such as that of September 11th.
That is necessary but not sufficient. The world community under the UN auspices must demonstrate that it cares for the fate of some 2 million people in the world today living on $2 a day.UN member-states should commit themselves to a war on world poverty and injustice by tangible means. A certain portion of national def ense budgets, say 10 percent, should be allocated to the United Nations peacekeeping and poverty eradication programs. The world cannot afford to continue living one-fifth rich, two-fifths in abject poverty, and another two-fifth struggling for a decent life.
As Huxley has said, 'civilization is a race between education and catastrophe'. We often learn through our pains and sufferings. Historical leaps often result from major human tragedies. The League of Nations resulted from World War I. United Nations emerged out of World War II. This time, global terrorism has proved to be a scourge of humanity. Its victims have paid a high price. For their blood not to be in vain, we must learn to come together. We must establish a more democratic and just global governance. We must pledge to a new rule of international law for nations large or small.
Professor, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Director, Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research
Honolulu, Hawaii, September 19, 2001.