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Reject Plan to Continue War on Afghanistan

The U.S. air strikes on the Kunduz hospital have generated more attention than many other U.S. atrocities committed in Afghanistan. Yet horrific attacks have been the mainstay of this war which was begun illegally and without U.N. authorization. The motivation of revenge for 9-11 is not a legal justification for war, and also ignores the Taliban’s offer to have bin Laden face trial in a third country. This war has killed many thousands of Afghans, tortured and imprisoned, wounded and traumatized many more. The top cause of death among members of the U.S. military who have gone to Afghanistan is suicide. We shouldn’t allow continuation of this madness to be depicted as reasonable and cautious. It is criminal and murderous. A third U.S. president should be given no opportunity to continue “ending” this war for additional years.

The Obscenity of Our War

Before the 2003 Shock and Awe bombing in Iraq, a group of activists living in Baghdad would regularly go to city sites that were crucial for maintaining health and well-being in Baghdad, such as hospitals, electrical facilities, water purification plants, and schools, and string large vinyl banners between the trees outside these buildings which read: “To Bomb This Site Would Be A War Crime.” We encouraged people in U.S. cities to do the same, trying to build empathy for people trapped in Iraq, anticipating a terrible aerial bombing.

Tragically, sadly, the banners must again condemn war crimes, this time echoing international outcry because in an hour of airstrikes this past Saturday morning, the U.S. repeatedly bombed a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, a facility that served the fifth largest city in Afghanistan and the surrounding region.

VCNV Calls for Emergency Protest of Airstrike on Afghanistan Hospital

Press Release

When: 3:00pm Tuesday, Oct 6, 2015 Where: In front of Stroger Hospital (Ogden/Damen)

During the 2003 Shock and Awe bombing on Iraq, and afterwards, anti-war campaigners with Voices for Creative Nonviolence were encouraging people around the country to go in front of hospitals with signs and banners saying, “To bomb this site would be a war crime!”

At around 2 a.m. on Saturday morning, Oct. 3, 2015, U.S./NATO forces carried out an airstrike that hit a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Medical staff immediately phoned NATO headquarters to report the strike on its facility, and yet strikes continued on for nearly an hour. At least nine medical staff were killed and seven patients including three children. At least 35 more people were injured…

…VCNV is mobilizing activists to gather in front of hospitals around the U.S. and beyond, under the message, “Dropping Bombs Here would be a War Crime!” and “The same is true in Afghanistan.”

From Baghdad to Syracuse: Exposing the Reality of War


This article originally appeared on openDemocracy

Although I was oblivious, in those days war clouds were gathering over Vietnam. I’m not sure why, but I signed up for the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) for college students, a program operating on many U.S. campuses. Around six weeks into my freshman year, we cadets gathered on the football field for bayonet training. There, for 40 or 50 minutes, we lunged at the air with imaginary weapons. With each lunge, we screamed, ‘Kill! Kill!’

At some moment in time I was gobsmacked by the absurdity of it all—struck by the contradiction between this exercise in the de-sensitization and normalization of murder, and the so-called Christian schooling I thought I had chosen. The next morning I told the ROTC commander that I was resigning. “You can’t resign, Kinane, he sputtered. “You’re fired!”

Members of the upstate Drone Action Coalition outside the Hancock Air Force base, New York: Ed Kinane is on the far left. Photo Credit: Upstate Drone ActionMembers of the upstate Drone Action Coalition outside the Hancock Air Force base, New York: Ed Kinane is on the far left. Photo Credit: Upstate Drone Action

On Eve of Pope's Visit, Citizen Activists Urge Obama to Heed Pontiff

(based on Max Obuszewski’s summary, Sept. 23, 2015)

Just prior to the historic visit of Pope Francis, NCNR activists gathered on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House. Amidst heavy security, speakers raised issues about Islamophobia, nuclear weaponry, extraction and consumption of fossil fuels, global inequality, corporate control of governments, climate chaos, killer drone strikes and other abusive actions in which the U.S. government is complicit. During the White House rally some twenty-five of the citizen activists went to the visitor’s entrance to the White House to seek a meeting. After their request for a meeting was rebuffed, many of them sat down in solidarity with the world’s suffering. While sitting there, they noticed many people, including members of the media, did get through to the White House. Since people were entering through this gate, some of the activists got in line. Again they were rebuffed, and eventually fifteen of them were arrested.

#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

Predators, Near and Far

Fatima in her mud house compound, with Ali, an Afghan Peace Volunteer teacher who helped Fatima get a proper medical assessment: photo credit- Dr HakimFatima in her mud house compound, with Ali, an Afghan Peace Volunteer teacher who helped Fatima get a proper medical assessment: photo credit- Dr Hakim

Jamila met the Afghan Peace Volunteers when Hadisa and Abdulhai visited her home in April this year as part of a survey designed to identify children who could participate in the Street Kids School. When Ali, a volunteer teacher at the Street Kids School, learned about Fatima’s illness, he introduced Jamila to Hakim, the mentor for the Afghan Peace Volunteers. Hakim is a medical doctor from Singapore. Since 2004, when he first began working in Afghanistan, Hakim has recognized that the country’s health care system is riddled by pervasively corrupt practices. Appalled by the massive doses of antibiotics prescribed for Fatima, Hakim recommended a stool sample analysis which could be done through the lab of a local hospital. The lab report showed that Fatima no longer needed the antibiotics, that her medical condition was normal.

The medical system in Afghanistan failed to help Jamila and Fatima. Lack of oversight allowed corrupt doctors and pharmacists to over-prescribe antibiotics, and Jamila had nowhere to turn for a second opinion or for any assistance. Greedy predators, purportedly delivering health care, have steadily taken money from desperate people, like Jamila, in payment for useless or even murderous treatments.

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.”

Which Side Are We On?

Kabul—Here at the Afghan Peace Volunteers’ Borderfree Center, between morning and afternoon Street Kids School sessions, I asked several of the volunteer teachers how they felt about organizing the school and teaching weekly language, math and nonviolence classes.

“Now we have 100 students,” Zekerullah said. “I feel happy because I see how they change after spending time here.” When he first met some of the children, all of whom work on the streets as child laborers, ideas of washing up, dressing for school, bringing completed homework to classes, and being part of a community that cares deeply about them might have seemed remote or even unimaginable. Many who live in refugee camps get caught up in wild behavior, and hard work on the streets further toughens them.

The children seem exuberantly happy during the Friday classes. They care for and respect each other. And their eyes light up when they see their teachers, all of whom are students in secondary schools or Universities in Kabul.

“Many of the children come from one room, mud homes inside refugee camps,” said Hamida. “They have no safe place to store their notebooks and school supplies. But still they try hard to prepare for classes.”

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