Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Final Report

Villa de Leyva, Boyaca, Colombia

Very soon, just few weeks after we started the work on professor Sadria’s seminar last semester, the axis of our discussions was stated. A single question, red in the whiteboard at the end of the gathering: “Why Human Security is independent from and even opposed to State Security?” As usual, you take precise note of the task, maybe make some comments – more related to form than content – and begin the intellectual journey that is supposed to end the day of the final presentation.

After a long and hard push, I set my argument. First, I bet to find opposition in the statements that from Human Security Now report openly seem to do so. Hence, I addressed health, internal conflict, post-conflict reconstruction and information issues as to standing up to the state paradigm. The futility of a sophisticated army to fight diseases was my principal point around health. Internal conflict was justified as an example of how the security of a state could depend on the insecurity of its people. The post-conflict issue involve many questions which their actual answer – “actual” meaning the practical outcome - differ openly from what is expected: questions about the monopoly over the legitimate use of armed force being central objective of the process, the structure and encompassing of humanitarian and development assistance, the role of stakeholders in the institutions worked out of the crisis, to mention some. Information concern, ending the section, remarked how judgments are made out of what we know and how controlling that knowledge security is menaced.

Then, I tried to find independence in a glimpse of disconnection and thus complement between arguments. The Human Security Now report definition for the concept spins around empowerment and people. Broadness is, consequently, necessary. Multi-actor focus, deriving in new answers to old questions, was one of my arguments. Economic action for security, and the proposals stated in the reference report, was the other.

I finished the paper commenting on the sovereignty of nations object of the international help (or intervention) and the conceptual role that Human Security could have in its justification.

The comment of professor was categorical. My lack of background was evident, my arguments naïve, obvious, and out of context.

It’s been almost two months since that and the understanding of the replica is still in digestion. Very eastern-style in spite of the western-style of the seminar. The clues I got, however, seem premature to me, but I state them to keep on moving:

About the former, nothing to say, that is the reason why I am here. Naïve is to try to unveil conspiracies which are evident and, spending precious time on that, is to fall in their game, losing from the scope what is most important of this focus: people. All the aspects presented are not vain but tend to be grandiloquent, what keeps busy many pundits and make common people hate politics. But aiming to the ones who surround us, they who make our world, is the final, long-term bet for coherent solutions for the centuries (maybe millennia) to come.

Come to my mind parts of Asimov’s Foundation, evolutionary psychology harmonizing of biology and culture, the struggle between environmental and ecological economy, comprehensiveness statements from Fernando Zalamea and a song of Bob Marley, but it is enough for now. See you.

Oscar Andres Gomez Salgado
First Year Master Student
Human Security and Environment Program
Professor Kimura Laboratory
Tohoku University

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