Comments on M.K. Gandhi’s “Non-Violent Resistance”

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Reading Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s Non-Violent Resistance echoes an interesting example of the contribution of religion on promoting peace and non-violent movement. In the last several years, world community has been shocked by 9/11 tragedy in U.S. Since then, religion has been under the spotlight of international eyes. Religions were suspected as the root of violence, such as terrorism. Terror actions were very easily associated to religion. Thus, issues on violence based on religion has raised in public discussion sphere.

On the other hand, long before this Gandhi has sounded that religious values could also contribute promoting peace, non-violent movement and social justice. Gandhi as an Indian charismatic leader at the dawn of 20th century, has brought many changes on Indian struggle against British colonialism. Gandhi fought in political, philosophical and religious ‘ways’. As he graduated from a law school in England, Gandhi fought in politics by his law and political knowledge. Gandhi also became a religious leader for Indian people who also appreciated and embraced Hindu religion. Gandhi received two predicates at the same time, both as a political leader and religious leader. He is revered as the father of Indian Nation. These factors has made him became a heroic and charismatic leader in India at that time, although in later discussion there were some controversies over him. Thing that caught my attention is Gandhi’s ‘strategy’ emphasising symbiosis values of Buddhism, Christianity and Islam religion on peace, non-violence, love and social justice (p. 111). He extracted these values and ideas as the root of his actions. He learned Christianity to offend Englishman on how to practice the true Christian value that full of compassion, love and justice to others. And he learned Buddhism and Islam to embrace his fellows Buddhist and Muslim in Indian society to struggle together as one nation. This demonstrates that religions could cooperate to promote and support peace, love and social justice.

Gandhi dug deeply the meaning of peace from his philosophy and religious believe. For him, reactive action without deep understanding will remain in vain for a struggle against colonialism. There should be a deeper understanding, therefore people could have strong persistency on non-violent resistance. That is why Gandhi planted “Satyagaha principle that also could have meaning as ‘devotion to the truth’. If it is a devotion, accordingly it would be a lifetime struggle on achieving peace and justice.

Other thing that I fascinate Gandhi is his way to conduct dialogue with the British colonialist representation in India, in this case on the Examination by Lord Hunter (pp. 19-29). Gandhi has shown his persistence on non-violent resistance. Dialogue or negotiation to the oppressor has been an effective strategy to show the oppressor what human right, equality, justice and truth should be. Peace that meant by Gandhi has its reference to the appreciation of human dignity. On the contrary, arbitrary actions shown by British colonialist to the people of India irritated him and encouraged him to speak up non-violently.

And how does Gandhi`s Satyagraha speak for today`s context? It will be a very long discussion. But one more point that I learn from Gandhi is his non-violent resistance and his systematic political strategy to organize Indian people to insist the truth, peace and justice that he began from his philosophy and religious foundation. []

Reference

Gandhi, Mohandas Karamchand, Non-Violent Resistance, (New York: Schocken Books, 1951).

Security, Security Studies and the Logic of Securitisation

Security and Security Studies

 

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Security studies mainly focuses on how society dealing with threats that have potentials endangering lives and livelihoods. Some threats can be traced back from the beginning of its occurrence as a risk. The risk can actualise itself into a kind of problem in society. A set of problems, then, can escalate into crisis. At this level, society may perceive this situation as a threat for their society or individual lives in which serious attention and concern are needed to mitigate it. In line to this understanding, Fierke argues that, “security is typically about survival and about an existential threat to a particular object. The problem of security arises from an emergency condition which establishes the right to use whatever means are necessary to block a threatening development” (Fierke, 2007). Thus, Security studies is a set of studies that dealing with the measures to prevent any possibility of threat and efforts to eliminate the danger of threat since the very beginning of its development.

On the other hand, the Copenhagen School asserts that security is as a Speech act. Security as a Speech act means that it is the product of claims that made by certain party, usually the government or authority that determine particular risk as a threat for the society and by mentioning something as security, it is already a kind of act. As contended by Waever, “by saying it [security] something is done (as in betting, giving a promise). By uttering ‘security’, a state-representative moves a particular development into a specific area, and thereby claims a special right to use whatever means are necessary to block it” (Waever, 1995). This viewpoint portrays the ‘power’ of security in which when the authority claims something as a security issue than the authority can employ any measure necessary to block it.

The object where the security refers to or the referent object is also important topic in security studies. According to Peoples and Vaughan-Williams, referent object means the entity that is taken as the focus for analysis in security studies (e.g. the state, the human, the ecosystem); or put differently, ‘that which is to be secured’ (Peoples & Vaughan-Williams, 2014). In short, it can be understood as ‘what thing needs to be securitised.’ There are many debates over what is actually considered as the referent abject of security, or on debate over whether particular thing should be securitised or not.

The so-called, “Traditional Security Studies” perceived state as the main referent object of security. And security measurement responding threat to the state is by using military actions. However, nowadays there are also debates on the broadening of referent object of security, such as human (Human Security), economy (Economic Security), resource (Resource Security) and so forth. The broadening meaning of the referent objects of security closely links to the idea of securitisation (the process where particular issue somehow is categorised as a security issue).

Securitisation

According to Peoples and Vaughan-Williams, securitisation means “shifting an issue out of realm of ‘normal’ political debate into the realm of emergency politics by presenting it as an existential threat” (Peoples &Vaughan-Williams, 2014). Securitisation requires degree of certain issue that is originally considered as the non-political issue, before it is politicised. When certain issue is already politicised, then the next step would be to securitise this. As Peoples and Vaughan-Williams shows this process in a simple chart below:

Non-politicised  ->  Politicised -> Securitised

(Peoples & Vaughan-Williams, 2014)

However, Fierke suggests that, any issue is can be applied of securitisation if it is capable to be intensified at the degree whereby it is presented and accepted as an ‘existential threat’ (Fierke, 2007). When particular issue or problem has its potentiality as an existential threat, then it would be easier to be securitised. The question over ‘who does securitise?’ also needs to be considered. In most cases, the state ‘normally’ does the securitisation.

From the idea of securitisation, the broadening referent objects of security emerged. There are more issues, thus, can be securitised. As Biswas maintains that, as proposed by the Copenhagen School, whereby broadening of security beyond traditional military issues by incorporating also economic, societal, environment, resources and energy security as mentioned above (Biswas, 2011). Moreover, in the globalised world context, the threats and security issues are more interconnected and interdependence.

Peoples and Vaughan-Williams, furthermore, propose the prospect for ‘de-securitisation’ is some securitisation theory variants. ‘De-securitisation’ is perceived as process of moving an issue out of the realm of security and considered it back into the realm of non-political deliberation (Peoples &Vaughan-Williams, 2014).

 

References

Biswas, Niloy Ranjan. (2011). “Is the Environment a Security Threat? Environmental Security beyond Securitization”. International Affairs Review. Vol XX. No. 1: Winter 2011. Web.

Fierke, Karin M. (2007). Critical Approach to International Security. London: Polity.

Peoples, Columba and Nick Vaughan-Williams. (2014). Critical Security Studies: An Introduction. Abingdon: Routledge.

Wæver, Ole. (1995). “Securitization and Desecuritization”, in Ronnie D. Lipschutz (ed.) On Security, pp. 46-86. New York: Columbia University Press.