Editor's PickIn Security
by Ron Harpelle
In Security is an engaging and thought-provoking documentary about how barbed wire, a simple 19th century invention used to claim land for agricultural purposes, has evolved into a silent sentinel that acts as a means of control over people and spaces around the world. Since its inception, barbed wire, a.k.a. the "Devil's Rope," has become a ubiquitous feature of our daily lives, yet we never give it a second thought. Used as a security barrier, it surrounds pastures in the countryside, parking lots, homes and other buildings. While its general purpose is to establish a boundary, barbed wire is also used as a frontline obstacle by the military forces of the world, as a boundary marker between countries, and as an impenetrable wall around prisons and other institutions that demand absolute control over the movement of human beings. Barbed wire is used everywhere for security purposes, but it also speaks loudly about the insecurity of our times. Produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker, Ron Harpelle in association with Kelly Saxberg, the film reveals how barbed wire introduced concepts of boundaries and private property where none existed before, and how strands of wire have been used ever since to restrict the free movement of people everywhere.
The guide for this journey is Mark Solomon, a Canadian of aboriginal descent who has worked with Amnesty International on indigenous people's rights. Mark puts the story of barbed wire in context by discussing how First Nations were the first nations to be dispossessed of their land and freedom by sharp pieces of metal strung on a wire. Mark ties the aboriginal experience to the subsequent history of the use of the "Devil's Rope." Edrick Jenkins, an inmate at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, provides viewers the last word on what it means to be locked up behind the razor wire: "Well, you can see through it but you don't see freedom when you look through it. When you look through that razor wire … you actually see a wall … that razor wire is a wall, that says no, you cannot come this way, the razor wire is there to say, if you do try me, I'll hurt you. I'm bigger than you, I'm badder than you, and if you try me you'll lose…" Between the introduction and conclusion of the film, barbed wire is followed across the Great Plains, to Europe, Canada, South Africa, the Middle East and the borderland between Mexico and United States.