Eve Ensler is a feminist writer, a poet and playwright, best known for her earlier The Vagina Monologues, but whatever your view of the former -- whether you burned it after reading the first ten pages, loved it, or never even heard of it -- this book is a different kettle of fish. It is a clarion call by a poet and playwright for preserving those values which must triumph if humanity is to survive, "family values" that embrace the whole family of humanity.
And it is a devastating indictment of the atrocities committed by the present U.S. government in the name of preserving national security -- atrocities against its own citizens as well as everyone else, including its brutal disregard of the victims of Hurricane Katrina. It is also an analysis of how the Bush Administration has tried to frighten Americans into accepting the atrocities perpetuated and countenanced by its government by the big lie that Bush is defending America's security.
She writes from the depth of her own personal experiences and her journeys to disaster zones.
She writes with great compassion for the people whose lives have been devastated by tragedies on a global scale; women who have seen their husbands, sons and brother killed before their eyes and who themselves have been raped and otherwise savaged.
She writes of men who have been powerless to help them or perhaps forced to commit atrocities themselves in the hope of protecting their families.
She writes of the trauma of seeing friendly neighbors turn into torturers and murderers in civil-war conditions such as occurred in Bosnia and Rwanda, and how rape was used as a deliberate terror tactic against the population.
She writes of despair and the simple acts of human kindness that help the psychologically wounded to survive, and she is unequivocal that It is compassion which must trump revenge if the human race is to survive.
This is an important book. The excerpts below are taken from her final chapter.
Peace is a State of Being;
Security is Being of the State
The Law of Security goes something like this. It is almost a guarantee that in the pursuit of security you will become more insecure. Inherent in the quest for security is its undoing. Some recent examples:
... bomb Iraq to get rid of theoretical terrorists and manufacture thousands of potential terrorists in the process.
... Send American soldiers into battle in Iraq to make the country secure, but refuse to spend any money on armor to make the soldiers secure,
Declare war on Iraq to get rid of chemical weapons and end up using illegal chemical weapons (incendiary devices) that destroy the children you are saving. Secure democracy by using techniques of torture ...
... Freedom can come only from contemplating death, not from pretending it doesn't exist. Not from running from loss but from entering grief, surrendering to sorrow.
Freedom comes not from holding your life more precious or sacred than others, not from consuming more than your share than others ...
... If we are truly interested in security, let's begin with securing all people the basic human right to food, shelter, drinkable water, health care, a place to live, safely, and a livable earth.
Let's take $250 billions (which could ultimately become $1.3 trillion) that it costs to bomb the heart out of Iraq, to murder the children there, to kill and maim thousands of people, to scatter read-to-explode cluster bomblets on the Iraqi earth, to fill the bank accounts of the CEOs at Halliburton and Bechtel.
Let's take the money and make compassion the end goal, human connection the end goal, honoring all people the end goal. Then I promise, we may not know security, but we will certainly know peace.
About the Author: Carol White has had a long and varied career, but the salient points are a first career as mathematics teacher--in NYC high schools and then at the City University of New York. After that she morphed into being a science writer and editor. These days her news beat is the local culture scene.
ePluribus Contributors: JeninRI, cho and roxy