3/18 (五) 思,英語討論會 4:Eve Ensler on Security

(press 'view subtitles' button for English or Chinese subtitles)

Discussion Question: How do our concerns about security affect our lives? As women (or men), as citizens, as human beings?

Questions to ponder:
1. What statements from the speech do you remember?
2. Which statements did you find most striking?
3. What’s a word or phrase that comes to mind when you hear the word ‘security’?
4. What’s your emotional reaction when you hear this word?
5. What feelings did you have when you listened?

6. What does the word ‘security’ mean when a government uses it?
7. What does the word ‘security’ mean when news programs use it?


8. What do you think of when you hear each of these words?
9. What does each word make you feel?
10. What do these words have in common?
11. What might the relationship be, between these concepts?
12. What could the connection between these concepts mean to our lives?
13. Do linking these concepts together suggest any change we could make in our lives?
14. What title would you give this discussion?

Discussion Question: How do our concerns about security affect our lives? As women (or men), as citizens, as human beings?

Excerpt 1: http://www.ted.com/talks/eve_ensler_on_security.html
1. I'm very worried today about this notion, this world, this prevailing kind of force of security. I see this word, hear this word, feel this word everywhere. Real security, security checks, security watch, security clearance. Why has all this focus on security made me feel so much more insecure? What does anyone mean when they talk about real security? And why have we as Americans particularly, become a nation that strives for security above all else? In fact, I think that security is elusive, it's impossible. We all die. We all get old. We all get sick. People leave us. People change us. Nothing is secure. And that's actually the good news.

2. This is, of course, unless your whole life is about being secure. I think that when that is the focus of your life, these are the things that happen. You can't travel very far or venture too far outside a certain circle. You can't allow too many conflicting ideas into your mind at one time as they might confuse you or challenge you. You can't open yourself to new experiences, new people, new ways of doing things. They might take you off course. You can't not know who you are, so you cling to hard-matter identity. You become a Christian, Muslim, Jew. You're an Indian, Egyptian, Italian, American. You're a heterosexual or a homosexual, or you never have sex. Or at least, that's what you say when you identify yourself. You become part of an "us." In order to be secure, you defend against "them." You cling to your land because it is your secure place. You must fight anyone who encroaches upon it. You become your nation. You become your religion. You become whatever it is that will freeze you, numb you and protect you from doubt or change. But all this does actually, is shut down your mind. In reality, it does not really make you safer.

3. I was in Sri Lanka, for example, three days after the tsunami, and I was standing on the beaches and it was absolutely clear that in a matter of five minutes, a 30 foot wave could rise up and desecrate a people, a population and lives. All this striving for security, in fact, has made you much more insecure because now, you have to watch out all the time. There are people not like you. People who you now call enemies, you have places you cannot go, thoughts you cannot think, worlds that you can no longer inhabit. And so you spend your days fighting things off, defending your territory, and becoming more entrenched in your fundamental thinking. Your days become devoted to protecting yourself. This becomes your mission. That is all you do. Ideas get shorter. They become sound bytes. There are evil-doers and saints, criminals and victims.

4. There are those who, if they're, not with us, are against us. It gets easier to hurt people because you do not feel what's inside them. It's easier to lock them up, force them to be naked, humiliate them, occupy them, invade them and kill them because they are only obstacles now to your security.

Excerpt 2: http://www.ted.com/talks/eve_ensler_on_security.html
5. In six years, I've had the extraordinary privilege through V-Day, a global movement against [violence against] women, to travel probably to 60 countries, and spend a great deal of time in different portions. I've met women and men all over this planet, who through various circumstances, war, poverty, racism, multiple forms of violence, have never known security, or have had their illusion of security forever devastated. I've spent time with women in Afghanistan under the Taliban, who were essentially brutalized and censored. I've been in Bosnian refugee camps. I was with women in Pakistan who have had their faces melted off with acid. I've been with girls all across America who were date-raped or raped by their best friends when they were drugged one night.

6. One of the amazing things that I've discovered in my travels is that there is this emerging species. I loved when he was talking about this other world that's right next to this world. I've discovered these people, who in V-Day world, we call Vagina Warriors. These particular people, rather than getting AK-47s or weapons of mass destruction or machetes, in the spirit of the warrior, have gone into the center, the heart of pain, of loss. They have grieved it, they have died into it, and allowed and encouraged poison to turn into medicine. They have used the fuel of their pain to begin to redirect that energy towards another mission and another trajectory.

7. These warriors now devote themselves and their lives to making sure what happened to them, doesn't happen to anyone else. There are thousands if not millions of them on the planet. I venture there are many in this room. They have a fierceness and a freedom that I believe is the bedrock of a new paradigm. They have broken out of the existing frame of victim and perpetrator. Their own personal security is not their end goal, and because of that, because rather than worrying about security, because the transformation of suffering is their end goal, I actually believe they are creating real safety and a whole new idea of security. I want to talk about a few of these people that I've met.

8. Tomorrow I am going to Cairo, and I'm so moved that I will be with women in Cairo who are V-day women, who are opening the first safe house for battered women in the Middle East. That will happen because women in Cairo made a decision to stand up and put themselves on the line and talk about the degree of violence that is happening in Egypt and were willing to be attacked and criticized, and through their work over the last years, this is not only happening that this house is opening, but it's being supported by many factions of the society who never would have supported it. Women in Uganda this year who put on the Vagina Monologues during V-Day, actually evoked the wrath of the government.

9. And, I love this story so much. There was a cabinet meeting and a meeting of the presidents to talk about whether Vaginas could come to Uganda. And in this meeting, it went on for weeks in the press, two weeks where there was huge discussion. The government finally made a decision that the Vagina Monologues could not be performed in Uganda. But the amazing news was that because they had stood up these women, and because they had been willing to risk their security, it began a discussion that not only happened in Uganda, but all of Africa. As a result, this production which had already sold out, every single person in that 800-seat audience, except for ten people, made a decision to keep the money. They raised $10,000 on a production that never occurred.

Excerpt 3: http://www.ted.com/talks/eve_ensler_on_security.html
10. I think what I'm trying to say here, is that if your end goal is security, and if that's all you're focusing on, what ends up happening, is that you create not only more insecurity in other people, but you make yourself far more insecure. Real security is contemplating death, not pretending it doesn't exist. Not running from loss, but entering grief, surrendering to sorrow. Real security is not knowing something when you don't know it. Real security is hungering for connection rather than power. It cannot be bought or arranged or made with bombs. it is deeper, it is a process, it is acute awareness that we are all utterly inter-bended, and one action by one being in one tiny town, has consequences everywhere. Real security is not only being able to tolerate mystery, complexity, ambiguity, and hungering for them. and only trusting a situation when they are present.

Excerpt 4: http://www.ted.com/talks/eve_ensler_on_security.html
11. Freedom means I may not be identified as any one group, but that I can visit and find myself in every group. It does not mean that I don't have values or beliefs, but it does mean I am not hardened around them. I do not use them as weapons. In the shared future, it will be just that, shared. The end goal will becoming vulnerable, realizing the place of our connection to one another, rather than becoming secure, in control, and alone. Thank you very much.

Excerpt 5: http://www.ted.com/talks/eve_ensler_on_security.html
12. And how are you doing? Are you exhausted? On a typical day, do you wake up with hope or gloom? You know, I think Carl Jung once said that in order to survive the 20th century, we have to live with two existing, opposite thoughts, at the same time. And I think part of what I'm learning in this process, is that one must allow oneself to feel grief. And I think as long as I keep grieving, and weeping, and then moving on, I'm fine. When I start to pretend that what I'm seeing isn't impacting me, and isn't changing my heart, then I get in trouble because when you spend a lot of time going from place to place, country to country, and city to city, the degree to which women, for example, are violated, and the epidemic of it, and the kind of ordinariness of it, is so devastating to one's soul, that you have to take the time, or I have to take the time now, to process that.

13. There are a lot of causes out there in the world that have been talked about, you know, poverty, sickness and so on, you spent eight years on this one. Why this one? I think that, if you think about women, women are the primary resource of the planet, they give birth, we come from them, they are mothers, they are visionaries, they are the future. If you think that the UN now says that one out of three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in their lifetime, we're talking about the desecration of the primary resource of the planet, we're talking about the place where we come from, we're talking about parenting. Imagine that you've been raped and you're bringing up a boy child. How does it impact your ability to work, or envision a future, or thrive as opposed to just survive? What I believe is, if we could figure out how to make women safe and honor women, it would be parallel or equal to honoring life itself.