What's so funny about Peace, Justice and security?

I have been wrestling with the concept of peace with justice. Rationally, I understand that a peace without justice is not a real peace. It would be a detente, but not really peace. On the other hand, when the word justice is used like a flag, it feels like a threat to "the other". They wonder "what do you mean by justice?", "Do I need to give up my home, my way of life, my security?" I agree that justice has to be the endgame, but to demand it up front is very similar to demanding "security" before peace. Neither can be a precedent for peace, but all of these are fruits of the process. But as I stated earlier, demanding peace upfront is also illogical and shallow. It is only by taking a risk to be vulnerable, to experience true dialogue can we get to peace, justice and security. If I am able to get to know and care about "the other" as my brother or sister, it would hurt me to see them in pain. So I then become willing to make sacrifices for them. Their justice or security would no longer be a threat to me, and I can begin to understand that my comfort came at a cost to someone else. Once that happens we move a lot closer to justice. Maybe I am naive, but I believe that with connection.we will get to Peace, Justice and Security.

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Comment by Paul RETI on March 27, 2008 at 10:52am
Hi Catherine

The current US government may well be very inept. I think that it has set itself up for failure by using myopic and unsound people to make and then implement policy.

I think that security can in fact be objectively measured based numbers and magnitudes of events, and casualties. Opinion polls can also assess the level of fear in communities. Though the level of fear can be manipulated by propaganda.

Israel's security barriers and checkpoints do seem to have really increased security for Israelis (assuming that intelligence and all other related things have not changed). I've seen some of the Israeli stats (in the public domain). The US can and probably does produce similar figures.

A recent book based on extensive Gallup poll figures seems to indicate that educated, middle class people of reasonable financial means seem to be attracted to Jihad. Interesting... The Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times.

Be well...
Paul R
Comment by Catherine on March 27, 2008 at 6:56am
Paul -

The US administration wants the world to think that security can be objectively measured. Since the "war on terror" began, they want us to believe, that we are more secure - there have not been any more attacks on US soil (a measurable outcome) so we must be more secure. And a lot of Americans believe . But there are other measures that say otherwise - increased attacks elsewhere, increasing #'s of recruits to extremist groups and so on. Then there is the issue of personal security .In the States we have a lovely piece of legislation called the "Patriot Act" which is supposed to make me more secure; but at the cost of my civil liberties. That fact that I am corresponding with someone from Gaza is enough reason for the government to monitor my emails, phone calls etc. Even the other people in my life that are not involved in such "radical" activities as discussing peace with a Palestinian, can be monitored just because they also correspond with me. (Just for fun, let's throw in the word Jihad) And since you can not prove a negative, the government can go on saying that it works. Or, if it's my own government I am worried about, maybe that doesn't count? So, who gets to write the definitions :-) ?
Comment by Paul RETI on March 27, 2008 at 6:34am
Hi Catherine,

I have no problem with adding security. Though like you, I see all the problems you raise. However, whether security is achieved can be objectively measured and documented. Justice, i think can not be objectively measured and documented. Justice in my view is always and only subjective.

My real problem is with the word JUSTICE. The capitalization is deliberate. Often people (seem to) shout that word, very emotionally.

I think that objective justice is just not really possible in many circumstantiates. Justice is really subjective and depends on the circumstances and perceptions of those see themselves as (in my view, real or imaginary) stakeholders.

The perception of justice exists if there is a real concensus about it among all the (in my view, real or imaginary) stakeholders.

When I say justice, mean my perception of justice. i am fairly certain my view of that is not unique. What may be (relatively) unique is that ackowledge that. Most people don't.

Please note that by perception, I do not mean illusion.

Be well...
Comment by Catherine on March 27, 2008 at 5:49am
Paul –
While I am not comfortable with your use of the term ”war cry”, I understand what you are saying. Perhaps you would be interested in a different way of looking at this:

1. Real Security is really about feelings and perceptions that are subjective. It is a fear thing.
2. Objectively attempted assessments of Security depend upon objective evidence and knowledge. Different people never really have the same knowledge, ability, or consider the same evidence,
3. Different people often assess even the same knowledge or the same evidence in different ways, especially in emotionally charged environments.
4. By SECURITY most people simply mean their own subjective aspiration or perception of what the elements or shape of that SECURITY is. Many SECURITY advocates rarely consider or understand THE OTHER.
5. In some cases absolute SECURITY is just NOT possible in this world. An obvious example of that is death.
6. And so on.
So it seems obvious to me that "Peace with Security" is just a war cry, advocating for and often simply and irresponsibly inciting others to fight for my or our or their interpretation of SECURITY.

I believe that Peace, Justice and Security are so tightly interwoven that putting one before the other is at best, foolish.

Be Well,
Comment by Paul RETI on March 26, 2008 at 2:27pm
This also is one of my hobby horses. :-)

See the discussion
"Peace with Justice" is just a war cry!

So we have that and "Be well" in common.

Comment by Catherine on March 10, 2008 at 2:01pm
Thank you - that it exactly my point. It is like the metaphor of the boy that was so impatient for the emergence of the butterfly from the cocoon that he opened the cocoon for the butterfly. Without the "struggle" to emerge the butterfly was not strong enough to survive and soon died. Don't get me wrong though - I do believe that without delay the occupation needs to end. As it continues and the GOI continues expanding infrastructure in the OPT, how can the Palestinians even begin to trust enough to start building those relationships?
Comment by Neri Bar-On on March 10, 2008 at 1:41pm
When you replace Peace, Justice & Security with sustainability, resilience and emergence (flexibility) reality can contain more peace justice and security.

Peace is an outcome of relationship, it is not a goal by itself as justice and security cannot stand by itself.

We need to work on a future that can be sustainable has resilience and the flexibility to emerge new realty where peace, security and justice will be more available to more people .


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