Sunday, July 17, 2011

Book Review: Insecure At Last

Insecure At Last: A Political Memoir

Author: Eve Ensler

The Overview:

This book was $0.75 at Mckay's. I couldn't put it down once I started that first page. Whoever marked this as only $0.75 had obviously never read Eve Ensler, or maybe the price maker person was a boy, or perhaps they just hadn't discovered yet how captivating her writing can be.

As a playwright, Eve tells stories. True ones...about women all around the world: Bosnian refugees, female prisoners, Katrina survivors, etc. This is also about Eve's story and about how coming in contact with these women have taught her how to take back the power from "security."

The Good:

Eve is real and raw and penetrating. Unsettling in her quest for understanding and immovable in her stance against violence towards women of every shape, color, language, size, and circumstance. She writes about security because it is something she has been striving for and something she has yearned for her whole life. We are products of our culture and our culture has decided that the female gender, the American, the the mother of 2.5 children has only arrived once "security" has been achieved. We throw away our rights, we destroy faith in humanity and we label all for the sake of this one little word. Security is's definition ever's power ever growing. Eve dives into the question..."What if I were to live insecure."

The Memorable:

A story:
Agnes Pareiyo was a victim of FGM (female genital mutilation). The pain, the humility, the consequences of somebody else's ignorance...she lives with all of this, but has used it to educate and prevent. Agnes walks from community to community through the hot and dusty Rift Valley for hours or even days looking for the Masai. She carries around a woman's torso and teaches the mothers, the fathers, the boys and the girls about the consequences of FGM. She has created an alternative ritual for girls that celebrates their coming-of-age with dance and music and theater...and NO cutting. Fifteen hundred girls have been saved from being cut because this woman kept walking and kept teaching.

A quote:
"Today the United States has the highest prison population in the world, over 2.1 million people. This is the population of a small country. We lock people up at a rate that is seven to ten times that of any other democracy. We build more and more prisons, rather than addressing the poverty, racism, violence, that are the roots of crime. In our need for security, we fortify against our fear rather than changing the circumstances that create it."

The conclusion:
"The Law of Security goes something like this. It is almost a guarantee that in the pursuit of security you will become more insecure...

Make the world "secure" by spending all of your money on destroying things rather than creating–bomb rather than build, annihilate rather than feed...

Allow corporations to ransack contries you are, in theory, saving, making the majority of the people poor and sick and without resources, then call them security threats, illegal combatants, terrorists, insurgents, when they rise up to fight you...

Control will eventually be mistaken for security."

The Recommendation:

"Freedom comes not from holding your life more precious or sacred than others'. Not from consuming more than your share...Freedom does not mean I don't have values or beliefs. But it does mean I am not hardened around them. I do not use them as weapons...Freedom cannot be bought or arranged or made with bombs or guards. It is deeper. It is a process. It is the acute awareness that we are all utterly interdependent."

So good.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Thanks for the review Jess! I will try to make a quick trip to McKay's and cough up $.75 for my own copy :)