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2 Million Candles to End the Afghan War

Actions in 2012

The Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers have been working steadily in Kabul on some action plans for 2012 :

1. Caravan of Non-Violence Visiting youth in the provinces of Jalalabd, Parwan and Kapisa to raise awareness on non-violence (using the Manual 50 Crucial Points of Non-violent Struggle by C.A.N.V.A.S. and showing short video clips on non-violence from ‘A Force More Powerful’)

2. Community of Shared Pain A 3-month program to encourage 5 street kids in Kabul to return to school

3. Walk of Unity 25 to 100 multi-ethnic youth will walk from Kabul to Parwan to make a visible statement of ethnic unity.

4. 2 Million Candles to End the Afghan War The Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers (AYPV) call on the world community to join the people of Afghanistan in lighting 2 million candles, symbolizing our collective grief for the 2 million victims of war in Afghanistan and our determination to work together for peace in Afghanistan and a life without wars. This event on the 10th of December 2012, the International Day of Human Rights, is supported by Dr Sima Simar, Chairperson of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, and will be attended by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mairead Maguire and former US Army Colonel, Ann Wright. We will request the United Nations and all armed groups involved in the conflict to negotiate for a multilateral ceasefire, and to redirect their war funds to reconstructing the socio-economic, humanitarian and educational services in Afghanistan.

“2 Million Candles to End the Afghan War”

Candlelight vigils and processions in Afghanistan and around the world

The Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers (AYPV) call on the world community to join the people of Afghanistan in lighting 2 million candles, symbolizing our collective grief for the 2 miilion victims of war in Afghanistan and our determination to work together for peace in Afghanistan and a life without wars.

Date of candle lighting actions: 10th December 2012, The International Day of Human Rights

Brief introduction to campaign

This campaign remembers the 2 million victims of war in Afghanistan and reaffirms our commitment to nonviolence. In accord with o the 1948 UN Charter to ‘remove the scourge of war from future generations’, we request the United Nations and all armed groups involved in the conflict to negotiate for a multilateral ceasefire, and to redirect their war funds to reconstructing the socio-economic, humanitarian and educational services in Afghanistan.

It is clear that Afghanistan has become a playground of world powers, and in the absence of an independent, unified and just government, economic and political greed in Afghanistan is increasing.

As AYPV, Khamad Jan, says, “All the actors in this war have their own reasons for being here. And there is absolutely no benefit to innocent, impoverished Afghans from the wars being fought.”

We are human beings who are tired of the past and present situations in Afghanistan. Afghanistan has suffered from over thirty years of continuous war and foreign intervention. We organized ourselves as the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers in order to share the suffering of fellow human beings in our land and to express our longing for friendship, peace and non-violence to the world.

The political and war powers, both Afghan and foreign, have killed countless, nameless Afghans, Afghans who are human beings, all 2 million of them.

Lighting 2 million candles for the victims of war is a way of getting the people of Afghanistan and the world to pay attention to the catastrophic events in Afghanistan, which are largely ignored and forgotten. We wish to share the pain of the victims of war and their survivors and by doing so to develop a loathing for war and violence. Through peaceful living, we wish to nurture a culture of non-violence.

Action plan for campaign

International participation: The Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers will be asking the people of the world to join the people of Afghanistan in lighting 2 million candles, so that we can work together for a life without wars. The success of this campaign depends on the efforts of local peace activists to organize candle-lighting events in their respective communities.

Coordinating workgroups: Coordinating workgroups will be formed in Afghanistan and in countries across the world to plan and implement this event.

Candle-lighting: Various appropriate locations will be chosen in Afghanistan and the world for the lighting of candles. An effort will be made to involve ordinary citizens of Afghanistan, as well as representatives from the 49 NATO coalition countries and from regional countries..

Inviting local and international peace builders: Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mairead Maguire and former US Army Colonel, Ann Wright, have kindly agreed to attend events in Kabul. Other locals and international peace builders will also be invited to Afghanistan. Outreach: We will be using various media to seek the voluntary involvement of ordinary people in Afghanistan and the world, through radio, television, print and online media, as well as online tools like candle apps and social media.

Media: Various media will be invited to cover the event, as well as the preparation and run-up to it.

Preliminary meetings with Dr Sima Simar for the campaign

The Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers were privileged to meet with Dr Sima Simar, Chairperson of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, on the 20th of February 2012 (1st of Hut 1390 in the Afghan calendar). It was our second meeting with Dr Sima Simar regarding this event. The following points were raised at the meeting on the 20th of February 2012 :

-Dr Sima Simar agreed that the people of Afghanistan are tired of the war and should request all groups involved in the conflict to end the war.

-A few places in Kabul were suggested as possible sites of the candle lighting : Quriq Hill, Afshar Hill and Television Hill

-All relevant security as well as local representatives and religious leaders of the event sites will be consulted for the event

-Dr Sima Simar, in support of the event, agreed to undertake the printing of brochures for the event.

The Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers would like to thank Dr Sima Simar for pledging her presence, guidance and support.

After-note: A working group will soon be formed to organize all matters related to the campaign. This working group will consist of the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers, members of the Transitional Justice Group and other civil society and social justice groups in Afghanistan.

This version of the campaign brief is specifically translated for internationals, keeping as close to the meaning of the original Dari script.