Friday, April 2, 2010

Insecure at Last - Eve Ensler

This book has a terrible title and a terrible cover (in my opinion, obviously). But, I picked it up because of Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologue fame. I completely misread what this was going to be about. I thought it was about living in an increasingly insecure world - and what to do when the fear of terrorists and WMDs and incomprehensible world-ending catastrophes overtake us. I assumed it would be only of these hysterical threats are all around us viewpoints, with the ultimate conclusion that we all need to live our lives, so we need to learn to live with insecurity. Instead, this is a very powerful discussion of horrific abuses and violations of human rights (mostly against women) being committed around the world - often in the name of making our world "more secure." Ensler weaves in her own person story of the physical abuse she suffered at the hands of her father, with stories about the use of rape in mass genocide, public executions of women in Afghanistan, the hundreds of murders of unnamed women in Ciudad Juarez, and descriptive accounts of pure brutality. As with her Vagina Monologues, Ensler speaks absolute truth to power - she gives unnamable atrocities a voice and speaks out against actions others are too ashamed to acknowledge. In doing so, she empowers women and communities around the world to engage in a dialogue and to refuse to hide in isolation. Ensler is in your face and at times some of the stories were too shocking for me to finish in one sitting. But there is no question that she is inspiring - this is the kind of writing that I feel is such a call to arms - a reminder that even though we've come so far, we have so much further to go.

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