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by Afghan Peace Volunteers

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#Enough!

by Dr Hakim
21st September 2015
Kabul, Afghanistan

16 years ago, a Talib (literally translated, a student) shot and killed Zarghuna’s father.

Zarghuna and her family were frantically fleeing a desperate situation. The same holds true for more than 60 million refugees in today’s ‘progressive’ world.

If you’re like me, you may think, “Oh, how messy is Zarghuna’s part of the world.”

“How terrible are the Taliban!”, and perhaps even, “We should imprison or eliminate them.”

But, Zarghuna thinks differently…

Afghan kids serving food: at the Borderfree Center in KabulAfghan kids serving food: at the Borderfree Center in Kabul

A question from Afghanistan

“Can we abolish war?”

By Dr Hakim

Hadisa, a bright 18 year old Afghan girl, ranks as the top student in her 12th grade class. “The question is,” she wondered, “are human beings capable of abolishing war?”

Like Hadisa, I had my doubts about whether human nature could have the capacity to abolish war. For years, I had presumed that war is sometimes necessary to control ‘terrorists’, and based on that presumption, it didn’t make sense to abolish it. Yet my heart went out to Hadisa when I imagined her in a future riddled with intractable violence.

Hadisa tilted her head slightly in deep thought. She listened attentively to different opinions voiced by fellow Afghan Peace Volunteers. She struggles to find answers.

But when Hadisa turns up at the Borderfree Afghan Street Kids School every Friday to teach the child breadwinners, now numbering 100 in morning and afternoon classes, she lays aside her doubts.

I can see her apply her inner compassion which rises way above the war that is still raging in Afghanistan.

Hadisa, like 99% of human beings, and the more than 60 million refugees fleeing from military and economic wars, usually chooses peaceful, constructive action rather than violence.

Hadisa Says #Enough! WarHadisa Says #Enough! War

“Dear students,“ Hadisa says, “In this school, we wish to build a world without war for you.”

Afghan Girl, Sakina, Buries Toy Gun and Says…

by Dr Hakim

Ten-year-old Sakina, an Afghan street kid, had this to say, “I don’t like to be in a world of war. I like to be in a world of peace.”

On 27th August 2015, Sakina and Inam, with fellow Afghan street kids and the Afghan Peace Volunteers, held a mock funeral for weapons and celebrated the establishment of a green space in Kabul.

Dressed in long black coats, they broke and buried toy guns in a small spot where, over the past two years, they have been planting trees.

Sakina breaks a toy gun before burying it. Inam and other street kids await their turn.

Inam, a bright-eyed ten year old, caught the group’s energetic desire to build a world without war. “I kept toy guns till about three years ago,” he acknowledged with a smile.

Sakina breaks a toy gunSakina breaks a toy gun

My Father Was Killed by a Computer, Says 7-Year-Old Afghan Child

by Dr. Hakim

Imal, a 7 year old Afghan student in the 2nd grade, came to visit us in Kabul.

As Imal grew up, he kept asking his mother where his father was. His mother finally told Imal that his father had been killed by a drone when he was still a baby.

If you could see Imal in this video, you would want to hug Imal immediately.

If Imal were a white American kid, this tragedy would not have befallen his father. Which American would allow any U.S. citizen to be killed by a foreign drone?

Afghan Youth Travel to India

Six of the Afghan Peace Volunteers went to Delhi for an International Youth Camp on Nonviolence. They also visited and stayed at the Gandhian ashram called Ekta Parishad. Read the photo-journal here.

World Peace Gong: New DelhiWorld Peace Gong: New Delhi

Borderfree

"Love will end drone attacks"“Love will end drone attacks”

Going and coming from our communities to “the center” is a 35 minute walk through village-like streets if you take the back ways. The Borderfree Community Center, when it was first rented, needed considerable rehab and repairs. Hakim, Faiz, Zekerullah and Abdulhai worked very hard to shape it up. Now, guests enter an attractive space, neatly painted, with plenty of classroom and meeting space. Plants, curtains, photo exhibits, and choices for rugs and carpets have all been carefully chosen. Sadaf, one of the APV women who has been very active Borderfree scarf production, organized art students from local Universities to paint images on the walls of a children’s classroom as well as the reception area. Painted on a wall inside the center’s gate is a playful graffiti with lots of floating bubbles. Letters floating in some of the bubbles spell out “We love Peace,” although certain bubbles have wafted up and down, making it a challenge for linear thinkers. Another artist, a well-known cartoonist, painted an image on the outside wall of the Borderfree Community Center, (a wall that can be seen by anyone passing by), of a figure shooting a slingshot at a drone, but instead of a rock, a red heart breaks the drone in half.

We’re Human Fodder Caught in the Crossfire of Armed Groups and Armed Governments

By Dr Hakim

“Her father was killed in Helmand amidst fighting between the Taliban and the Afghan/U.S.-NATO forces,” said a relative about Gul Jumma, who looked down, shy and full of angst, sensing a future that’s not promising.

Gul Jumma, together with the Afghan Peace Volunteers, expressed their opposition to wars in this video. Gul Jumma holds up the sign for ‘Ukraine’, indicating ‘No to wars in Ukraine’. She understands what it is like to be caught in the crossfire, as happened to her father when he was killed in battle.

Gul Jumma: on the rightGul Jumma: on the right

No to War in Gaza and Afghanistan!

From the Afghan Peace Volunteers

On the 8th of July 2014, during the fasting month of Ramadan, the Israeli government began yet another military offensive on the people of Gaza. By the 4th day, they had already killed 105 Palestinians, including at least 23 children.

The Afghan Peace Volunteers went out onto the streets of Kabul just before it was time to break their fast. They shared dates with the people in the streets, in solidarity with the Palestinians and the Israelis being killed by the bombs and rockets dropped and fired by their governments.

Voting with Their Feet

It was the jolting vibrations
that shook our senses,
direction-less,
nonetheless directed by fellow humans.
Our eyes darted from mysterious fears
of losing one another.
“There’s been an explosion. Don’t come this way!”,
torn by our unspoken wish to huddle together,
as if madness could be scattered
among the fragile shells of ourselves.
as if we could
dream the unknown away.

Two Afghan Girls' Indian Journey to Nonviolence

Read the original blog at Our Journey to Smile.

Torpekai and Zarghuna arrive in Delhi, India: Torpekai is wearing the Borderfree Blue ScarfTorpekai and Zarghuna arrive in Delhi, India: Torpekai is wearing the Borderfree Blue Scarf

Hakim : Torpekai, where have you arrived at?
Torpekai : Delhi.
Hakim : How do you feel?
Torpekai : I feel good.
Hakim : Zarghuna? Was it a good flight?
Zarghuna : Yes, we’ve arrived safely. I feel that every place of the world has a home for human beings.