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Writings by Voices

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No One Hears the Poor

No One Hears the Poor

May 28, 2012

Here in Kabul, Voices co-coordinator Buddy Bell and I are guests at the home of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, (APV), where we’ve gotten to know four young boys who are being tutored by the Volunteers in the afternoons, having “retired” from their former work as street vendors in exchange for a chance to enter a public school. Five afternoons a week, Murtaza, Rahim, Hamid and Sajad wheel their antiquated bicycles into the APV “yard.” They quickly shake the hand of each person present and then wash their feet outside the back door before settling into a classroom to study language, math and art, tutored in each subject by a different Volunteer. They’ve cycled here from school through heavy traffic, which worries their mothers, but the families cannot afford for the boys to take a public bus.

Today, their mothers were here to observe the class, quietly sipping tea as they watched the two youngest boys practice writing the Dari alphabet, (Dari is an official Afghan language), while the older boys, age 12 and 13, took turns reading, in Dari, a chapter about the respiratory system from an elementary school science book. The APVs hope to help the mothers learn tailoring, so they can become tailors in the community and earn a modest income.

The Republic of Kinaneistan

Ed Griffin-Nolan
June 30, 2011

Ed Kinane SupineEd Kinane Supine

During the same week that Barack Obama stopped at Fort Drum in Northern New York to announce that he was starting to bring U.S. troops home from Afghanistan, a Syracuse man began packing his bags for a journey into the country that is the setting for the longest war in U.S. history.

Beyond Retaliation

By Voices for Creative Nonviolence
May 2, 2011

This morning, a reporter called to talk about the news that the U.S. has killed Osama bin Laden. Referring to throngs of young people celebrating outside the White House, the reporter asked what Voices would say if we had a chance to speak with those young people.

We’d want to tell them about a group of people who, in November of 2001, walked from Washington, D.C. to New York City carrying a banner that said, “Our Grief is not a Cry for War.” Several of the walkers were people who had lost their loved ones in the attacks on 911. When the walk ended, they formed a group called “Families for Peaceful Tomorrows” to continually represent the belief that our security is not founded in violence and revenge.

Letter From Kathy Breen, June 7 2010

Just a half an hour ago I got an email from a doctor friend in Baghdad whom I wrote just last night asking about their well-being. ” …we are always thinking that being not alone is a grace. We are passing hard times….the hot summer is not hotter than the fire inside our hearts from the chaos we are living and the tragic stories we are witnessing everyday.”

The world cup of economic and military warfare

By Kathy Kelly and Joshua Brollier

June 2, 2010

Islamabad— “Our situation is like a football match. The superpower countries are the players, and we are just the ball to be kicked around.” This sentiment, expressed by a young man from North Waziristan, has been echoed throughout many of our conversations with ordinary people here in Pakistan and in Afghanistan. Most are baffled that the United States, with the largest and most modern military in the world, can’t put a stop to a few thousand militants hiding out in the border regions between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Letter from Cathy Breen, May 24 2010

Damascus, Syria
May 24, 2010

The other day an article caught my attention while I was at the internet shop I frequent—“In Baghdad Ruins, Remains of a Cultural Bridge.” (NY Times, May 21, 2010, Anthony Shadid) I printed the article out to take back to my room.

“I Want to Live with my Family”

by Kathy Kelly and Josh Brollier

May 24, 2010
Refugee Family Living in Shah MansoorRefugee Family Living in Shah Mansoor Islamabad—Abir Mohammed, a refugee from Bajaur, says that the battles which raged in his home province since 2008 have dramatically changed his life. We met him in a crowded Islamabad café where he politely approached customers, offering to shine their shoes. He isn’t accustomed to shoeshine work. But, he needs to earn as much money as possible before reuniting with family members who await him, near Peshawar, in a tent encampment for displaced people.

Drones and Democracy

May 18, 2010

by Kathy Kelly and Josh Brollier

Islamabad—On May 12th, the day after a U.S. drone strike killed 24 people in Pakistan’s North Waziristan, two men from the area agreed to tell us their perspective as eyewitnesses of previous drone strikes.

Letter from Cathy Breen, May 16 2010

Damascus, Syria
May 16, 2010

Dear Friends, “Ten years ago everyone dreamed about going to America.” The words of an Iraqi friend to me recently. But this is no longer the case. Quite the contrary as a matter of fact. Iraqis who have been resettled to the U.S. have been returning to Syria and Iraq as the conditions there have been unbearable. No work to be found, benefits cut, etc. Iraqis here and in Jordan are quite aware of such situations, but they are caught in a bind. The U.S. is the only show in town so to speak; their quotas for Iraqi refugees far surpass those of other countries.

Letter from Cathy Breen, May 15 2010

Damascus, Syria

May 15, 2010

Dear Friends,

Last week I visited a family I met last year. They were rejected by Homeland Security for resettlement to the U.S. in March of 2009. They received a form letter with a check in the box “credibility.” Translated this means “we don’t believe your story.” The family told me that during the interview for resettlement the Department of Homeland Security officer repeatedly said “good, good” after each question, even telling them that as far as he was concerned they would be accepted.