List of CWers going to Afghanistan: Chris Allen Doucot (Hartford Ct CW), Clare Grady - (Ithaca NY CW), Jim Haber (Las Vegas CW), Martha Hennessy (D Day's Granddaughter), Jake Olzen (Chicago Il. CW), Scott Schaeffer-Duffy -(Worcester Mass, CW)
I will be traveling to Kabul, Afghanistan next week to meet with a group of extraordinary young people called the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers http://www.youthpeacevolunteers.org/ (AYPVs). I, along with 27 other internationals organized with Voices for Creative Nonviolence http://vcnv.org/ and supported by Witness Against Torture http://witnesstorture.org/, will spend our time listening to the struggles of what life is like in a country plagued by three decades of war. The AYPVs are committed to a nonviolent end to the wars that have ravaged their families, their fields, and their livelihoods. As an act of Solidarity, we will be joining them as they speak out, with steadfast resolve and a resounding hope, the truth that they are determined to live without wars ("Our Journey to Smile").
The war in Afghanistan has now become the longest war America has waged. The costs are incalculable http://vcnv.org/incalculable. As Kathy Kelly wrote, co-coordinator of Voices and with whom I'll be joining in Afghanistan:
Recent polls suggest that while a majority of U.S. people disapprove of the war in Afghanistan, many on grounds of its horrible economic cost, only 3% took the war into account when voting in the 2010 midterm elections. The issue of the economy weighed heavily on voters, but the war and its cost, though clear to them and clearly related to the economy in their thinking, was a far less pressing concern.
U.S. people, if they do read or hear of it, may be shocked at the apparent unconcern of the crews of two U.S. helicopter gunships, which attacked and killed nine children on a mountainside in Afghanistan’s Kunar province, shooting them “one after another” this past Tuesday March 1st. (“The helicopters hovered over us, scanned us and we saw a green flash from the helicopters. Then they flew back high up, and in a second round they hovered over us and started shooting.” (NYT 3/2/11)).
Four of the boys were seven years old; three were eight, one was nine and the oldest was twelve. “The children were gathering wood under a tree in the mountains near a village in the district,” said Noorullah Noori, a member of the local development council in Manogai district. “I myself was involved in the burial,” Noori said. “Yesterday we buried them.” (AP, March 2, 2011) General Petraeus has acknowledged, and apologized for, the tragedy.
We must listen to the youth of our world, of Afghanistan, and take them seriously when they tell us "I wish to live without wars." Please see the attached document for a little more information about the AYPV and ways you can support the wishes of children to live in a world without war.
For more information or to offer financial support for our collective work to end these wars, look for details at the Voices website: http://www.vcnv.org
I am grateful for all the support and prayers I've received from the White Rose Catholic Worker, Kairos Chicago, my friends and family. I bring your desires for peace with me in my heart and will share them with the men and women and children I meet.
-peace & Solidarity-
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