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Nome 2003 CRISE - Conceptual Framework for Human Security

Human insecurity is an ancient phenomenon. Threats of famine, war, drought, flood, wild animals, plague, and enslavement appear in ancient writings across the world. The ancient tales of Gilgamesh, written about 2000 BC in what is now Iraq, tell of floods and scorpions, a mythological bull whose breath kills hundreds, and an ultimately unsuccessful quest for eternal youth. For descendants of Gilgamesh, the certainty of eventual death seems matched by the uncertainty of its time or manner. As a woman in contemporary Brazil said, “I do not know who to trust, the police or the criminals… We work and hide indoors… I am afraid that they might kill my son for something as irrelevant as a snack.” Human insecurity, however painful, is not an historic anomaly. What has changed, and changed considerably, are the kinds of insecurity that people face, and the institutional possibilities of tempering that insecurity.

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