Haider Al Lawati -
PEOPLE do care about many issues that deal with their daily life, one of which is a security issue. Having security means a person owns his reliability, certainty, safety and protection. This means that a person must live in a situation where there is the absence of danger and anxiety. For others the concept of security means stability, freedom and democracy. Therefore we find a lot of political unrest and upheavals with the people in some of the Arab countries, those who call for changing the political and security systems.
Security is a “concept” or a terminology that has been argued by different people, academics and practitioners, all of whom have not reached or agreed on its definition. Thus, most concepts in security studies are contested which means there is no consistent use of the term meaning in political discourse. Hence, we see the issue is very clear regarding the Arab Spring conflicts that have been continued since the last year.
In our daily life we use many different terminologies that are contested such as peace, war and terrorism as well as “security” with its meaning extended to several dimensions. In the field of international relations, “security” is a fundamental concept that means the absence of threats to the sovereignty of a state, but at the same time it’s a basic human need and represents one of our highest values. It is used in our individual, social, internal, national, regional, international, global, military, economic, financial, and environmental issues, and so on. In short, “security is one of the most important concepts in public discourse and one of the dearest values of our political culture” as it is mentioned by scholars. They believe when “security becomes the centre of our lives, we find it is difficult for us to travel everywhere or very far or to have venture too far outside a certain circle”. It creates in us confusion and challenge at the same time.
Some people find themselves that it is very hard for them to open themselves to new experiences, new people, new countries, and new ways of doing things. For example, some of us ignore the meaning of security when we travel outside the country, and feel badly and very sad when there is a different treatment given to us in some international airports like in the US or European ones at the arrival and departure times, but other people know the matter goes back to the problem of “security” because the officials think that most Arabs or Muslims are troublemakers. We have to accept these facts either we like or dislike, although those who commit terrorist crimes are very few. Such actions make us much more insecure, while any state by trying to provide security for the newcomers might create more insecurity for others.
On the financial situation, we have been dealing with a lot of financial problems in the world since 2008. As the analysts believe, people are busy to find ways to get their money back and keep the cash with them as much as they can, and find enough food and oil and everything else they need to be safe and to live in financial security. Concept of security concerns every single person in this world.
We are living in a world where unfortunately this famous saying of the former President of the US, Bush, applies: “those who are not with us are against us”, which is against what the people believe.
Now, the matters of security with the Arabs are growing from the meaning of the freedom of people in order to enable them to choose their governments through free and fair elections, while for others it means that all citizens have the same rights and opportunities to be involved in political decision-making. Others argue that true democracy depends on fair participation in social life of a community. However, it seems that there are a lot of misunderstanding involved with the definition of security and how to apply it towards what happened in different cases seen in many Arab countries.
This means to me and some others that the concept of security is very difficult to be applied in the sense of different group, but it offers at the same time an opportunity to discuss divergent meanings and terminologies of this word.
For more than the last previous seven decades and since the end of the Cold War, there are many calls for adopting a new meaning of security and for extending the traditional concept. Security is one of the main reasons that led to current round of political unrest and upheavals in many Arab countries since the last year. People believe to see more developments happen in the stability, democracy and human rights process in these countries so they can live in peace and security.