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Afghan Peace Volunteers

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Why Not Warmth in Afghan Duvets?

Ali on top of the pile of duvets on the truck: with me watching in the backgroundAli on top of the pile of duvets on the truck: with me watching in the background

…One hundred fifty duvets turned out to be a very big pile that was challenging to fit on the truck. The crew piled the duvets layers deep, as high as they could reach. Then Faiz climbed on top. Ali climbed partway up and the rest of the crew continued to carry out piles of two or three at a time while Faiz and Ali spread them on top higher and higher. Once they got that tall pile strapped down they started another the same way and then we were soon off to take the duvets to a house where they would be distributed to some of the poorest people of Kabul…

What Is the War Getting Us?

By Patrick Kennelly and Emmey Malloy

…Ordinary Afghans are keenly aware that each year the American and other International Security Assistance Forces remain in Afghanistan, the security situation continues to worsen. Afghan women repeatedly expressed to us their fear for their safety and the safety of their children. Women from a variety of groups repeatedly expressed their concern about suicide bombings, which are increasingly common in Kabul. They wonder why is it that despite the billions of dollars of aid money from the Americans, the children in the refugee camps located less than 20 minutes from the U.S. embassy, are still without blankets…

There. Now You Are One of Us.

By John Dear

…This morning, I met first with Faiz, a gentle 22 year old student with black hair and a beard who has lost both his parents and his brother from war and poverty.

…“I have observed the pain of the people, especially the children. Something needs to be done, but what? Our society claims to be Muslim, but it’s so hypocritical since so many families, women and children need help… The youth have to grow if there is ever to be peace, so this is worth pursuing. I want to pursue the beautiful idea of nonviolence. I’ve learned that if people can’t be honest about their violence and forgive one another, and learn to talk and negotiate, then there will be no way to resolve our ongoing violence. The wars will drag on. I hope to promote nonviolence in Afghan society.”

Making Friends in Afghanistan: The 2 Million Friends Campaign

December 14, 2012
By Emmey Malloy

A small group of international peace activists spent the past week in Kabul, Afghanistan with the Afghan Peace Volunteers for International Human Rights Day. The Afghan Peace Volunteers are a small group of young people, under the mentorship of Singaporean physician Hakim, who are sowing the seeds of nonviolent change in Afghanistan. Their current projects are multiple, but possibly the most meaningful is their struggle to live peacefully together in an interethnic, cooperative community. They share space, chores, cooking and managing the various project of the group. They take photographs, organize cooperatives, distribute aid to the poor, and make youtube videos spreading peaceful messages to others. They ask each other ‘hard questions’ and discuss their own personal struggles, stereotypes and discrimination. Finally, they make friends with other Afghans and a variety of internationals. In a country that has been torn by nearly four decades of war and taught that outsiders should not be trusted, this is a small but powerful change.

When We Look at You, We Know Peace Is Possible

Mairead Maguire: …I come from Northern Ireland and we had war and fighting among all the different ethnic groups, and it went on for a long time, a lot of people died.

My sister’s three little children were killed in our war. People came out, and they said: we want nonviolence, we want dialogue, we want negotiation from our politicians. We want to solve the problems through forgiveness, through love, through dialogue…

APVs and International Delegates Meet with Representative of UN-Kabul Office

Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire and UN StaffpersonNobel Laureate Mairead Maguire and UN Staffperson

By Hakim with the Afghan Peace Volunteers

The UN Kabul office can deliver the ceasefire petition to the Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.

Afghans are so tired of war.

The Afghan Peace Volunteers, Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire and internationals who have become ‘2 Million Friends’ think that a UN-brokered ceasefire by all warring groups is an urgent, humanitarian and socio-economic responsibility.

Nonviolence in Afghanistan

Given the uniqueness of the project—a small group of young people trying to live nonviolently in a country that has been ravaged by violence for more than thirty years, as well as the grave challenges facing Afghanistan, it is important that the world knows about these nonviolent efforts and the principals behind this movement.

Love letters from Kabul – on Family

7th December, 2012 ( Gregorian calendar )
17th Qaos, 1391 ( Afghan calendar )

Dear friends and fellow human beings,

From Abdulhai

Sometimes, I feel that it’s better that I don’t quite remember my father’s face, and that my family doesn’t have any photos of him.

Abdulhai visits his father’s graveAbdulhai visits his father’s grave

But sometimes, I wish I can remember what his farming hands felt like.

None of my family members talk much about the loss of my father. I want to help my dear mom feel better, but how can anyone feel ‘better’ about something like this?

Love Letters From Kabul – on a Fairer Education

16th November, 2012 (Gregorian calendar)
27th, Aqrab, 1391 (Afghan calendar)

Dear friends and fellow human beings

From Abdulhai

It’s not that important to be first in class. I think it doesn’t make us better people.

I mean, just because I get an education doesn’t mean I can solve the problems in my life or in this country, or be kind to others.

Those who flew the planes on September 11th were educated but I sense that they didn’t understand what to do with their anger. Also, those who ‘remote control’ today’s drones are educated but don’t seem to understand the anger they cause. I prefer ‘humbler’ folk, like mothers, shepherds and laborers.

I think too much? Well, I’m just ‘moody’ at times. I’m in Grade 9, and I failed some subjects last term. I don’t enjoy the way we have to memorize our answers. Our schools have many problems….the teachers are not well trained, there’s cheating, and bribery, and yet everyone pretends that we’re learning or teaching something….( watch this video of Abdulhai going to school on a cold Kabul morning )

Most of my school subjects would have been ‘useless’ for my father and my grandfather who were farmers. I haven’t decided what I want to be, maybe a photographer or a businessman or something.

I miss my mother and family in Bamiyan quite a lot while studying in Kabul. I agree with Hakim that the missing of people we love is itself an education.

You Tube video of ‘Abdulhai on education in Afghanistan

Love Letters From Kabul - A Fairer Life for All Second Installment

Love letters from Kabul – on basic needs
9th November, 2012 ( Gregorian calendar )
20th Aqrab, 1391 ( Afghan calendar )

A fairer life for all

Dear friends and fellow human beings,

From Abdulhai

Our staple is nAAn ( bread).

But my family’s small plots of wheat and potatoes don’t provide enough food to last through the year for our family of seven ( my mother, three brothers and two sisters ).

Abdulhai 7 years ago, reaping wheatAbdulhai 7 years ago, reaping wheat

We grind our wheat into flour at the water mill, for my mum to make about 4 to 5 months’ worth of nAAn. This year, my oldest brother Khamad had sold some of our potatoes for the usual mere fifteen U.S. cents per kilogram ( about seven U.S. cents per pound ). Some of us call potatoes the ‘apples of the land’, but why do we pay corrupt officials more than the farmers…?