August 31, 2014
During the summer of 2014, Kathy Kelly with Voices For Creative Nonviolence, and Sherri Maurin, an educator and Campaign Nonviolence representative from the San Francisco Bay Area, lived in a working class neighborhood in Kabul, as guests of the Afghan Peace Volunteers. Througout those hot summer months, fighting increased dramatically in Afghanistan. Kabul was “a bubble,” but now Kelly and Maurin hear of rising alarm on the part of their friends and their families who fear that combinations of warlords, drug lords, criminal gangs and Taleban fighters will take advantage of the void in governance which seems likely to follow a failed election. Matthieu Aikins chronicles these very real concerns in this August 18th Rolling Stone article “Last Tango In Kabul.”
However, the Afghan Peace Volunteers are resolved not to let war sever the bonds of friendship between themselves, as an interethnic group, and the internationals whom they’ve befriended since 2010. Steadily calling for a “cease-fire,” the Afghan Peace Volunteers believe that maintaining special operations forces and drone warfare in Afghanistan will prolong and exacerbate the war. They also call for a cease fire on the part of all the warring parties and believe that every country which has invaded Afghanistan should pay reparations for suffering caused.
“Instead of conducting continued drone strikes and pursuing more military solutions to world conflicts, the United States and other powerful nations of the world should take responsibility for their past war crimes and destruction in countries like Afghanistan,” says Kelly. “One way to approach atonement would be to provide reparations, dispersed by an independent body such as the United Nations general assembly. Reparations could fund projects decided on by local communities and might take the form of food aid, water filtration, housing construction, soil renewal, sanitation, mine disarmament, or medical outreach.”
Maurin concludes: The Afghan Peace Volunteers model nonviolent direct responses for us. In addition to forming an inter-ethnic communities to expand cross-cultural ties, they provide math and literacy skills as well as needed food to impoverished street children and their families, stand up against violence in schools where corporal punishment is a teaching standard, and organize new approaches to the environment through neighborhood clean ups. Following extensive training in nonviolence, particularly studying Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Badshah Khan, the APVs have joined Sikhs, Hindus and peoples of other faiths for continuing Interfaith dialogues. They will later be visiting towns throughout Afghanistan to share their message of nonviolence. These are the ways to a nonviolent peaceful world that will never be achieved through drone warfare and special operations forces.
August 31, 2014