(Transcribed by Nicole Heiden)
I think that there are forces, and I don’t know to whom we would best ascribe this, but there are forces within Afghanistan that want to prolong the war, that want to prolong the fighting. They’re making in one way or another a profit that they wouldn’t be able to make without the war, and I think as long as there is a justification being made for keeping United States and NATO troops in Afghanistan then there is a better possibility for US and NATO forces to eventually bring enough security for the development of a pipeline and of various roadways in order to control the pricing and flow of resources, that would be extracted from Afghanistan… they also now found in terms of mining deposits, and estimated 1 trillion dollars’ worth of copper, gold, and iron ore, and 1.4 million metric tons of what are called rare earth elements, R.E.Es. Those are the elements that are used for cellphones and computers, and whoever can control… those resources will have a huge advantage over the countries that are wanting to buy those resources; so we could think of China and Russia which are immediate neighbors to Afghanistan, as being places where there would be a desire to consume those resources. The US would like to make sure that they can’t get those resources at cheaper prices than what the US would pay.
Quite honestly 93% of the world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan, and the education system is terribly corrupt, healthcare delivery is very very poor, such that one out of every 11 women dies in childbirth. Rights for women are so bad that in 1,670 registered incidents of violence against women, only 7% of the cases even went through the judicial process, and 1 million children are suffering from acute malnourishment in southern Afghanistan… in Afghanistan the United States has tried to market the war there by saying that the troops are needed in order to protect the rights of women and children, but how can you have one million children suffering from acute malnourishment in the very area where there’s a huge concentration of U.S. troops, in Helmand and Kandahar, and talk about the rights of children being protected?
Salam! We are the Afghan Peace Volunteers, a nonviolent multi-ethnic community working for peace in our war-stricken country. We wish to hear 2 Million Voices breaking the silence of the 2 Million loved ones Afghans have lost to war.
Zukoom, middle, killed in a suicide bombing
Every morning in Kabul, like yourselves, we wake up to the same old noise. The same old rich getting louder and the poor remaining unfed and unheard. The same old firing of weapons and use of brute force to defend thieves and warlords, both local and foreign. The same old suffocating of Mother Earth, as her desertified land fills with trash and grey fumes. We the people of Afghanistan, like yourselves all over the world, are hurting.
Because we find hope and healing in friendship, we’d like to hear 2 Million of your Voices remembering our 2 Million loved ones lost to wars.
Sign the petition.
By: Hakim & Sherif
Sherif and I in Cairo, 2006
While catching up with one another over the challenges facing ordinary Afghans and Egyptians, Sherif Sameer and I talked about how ‘opening our eyes’ could go a long way to building a better world. We decided to co-write this piece, from Ismailia, Egypt and Kabul, Afghanistan.
by Hakim (Dr. Teck Young Wee, mentor for the Afghan Peace Volunteers)
The Two Became Us
The daily struggles of ordinary people against elite-driven injustices hovered in the mud-walled room, like a scent.
I was swept up by voices both personal and familial.
War had not become less cruel with time…
November 20, 2013
Gul Jumma, originally from Helmand, who fled from the war there after her father was killed in a NATO air raid. She goes to a tent-school run by Aschiana in an IDP camp in Kabul.
I’ve been a guest in Colorado Springs, Colorado, following a weeklong retreat with Colorado College students who are part of a course focused on nonviolence. In last weekend’s Colorado Springs Gazette, there was an article in the Military Life section about an international skype phone call between U.S. soldiers in Kandahar, Afghanistan and sixth grade girls at a private school in Maryland. (“Carson Soldiers Chat With Friends” November 17, 2013 F4) Soldiers from Fort Carson’s Company C Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 4th Infantry Division had been receiving care packages and hand-written letters from sixth grade girls at a private school in Brooklandville, MD. The project led to a late October video chat session which allowed the soldiers and students to converse.
I read in the article that one of the U.S. soldiers in Kandahar assured the girls in Maryland that girls in Afghanistan now have better access to education than they did before the U.S. troops arrived. He also mentioned that women have more rights than before. On November 21st, I’ll participate in a somewhat similar skype call, focused not on soldiers in Afghanistan but on the voices of young Afghans. On the 21st of every month, through Global Days of Listening, several friends in the U.S. arrange a call between youngsters in Afghanistan and concerned people calling or simply listening in from countries around the world. I long to hear the optimism expressed by the Fort Carson soldier reflected in the Afghan Peace Volunteers’ words. But our young friends in Afghanistan express regret that their families struggle so hard, facing bleak futures in a country racked and ruined by war.
by Hakim and the Afghan Peace Volunteers
On the 22nd of October, 2013, the Afghan Peace Volunteers ( APVs ) in Kabul, Afghanistan, had a Skype conversation with peace activists at Gangjeong Village on Jeju Island, South Korea, during which they shared solidarity in saying ‘No!’ to the U.S. war apparatus in Afghanistan and South Korea.
Save Jeju Now: resisting the construction of a U.S. military naval base
They represent the ‘small people’ of the world, ordinary Afghans who are opposed to the establishment of nine U.S. military bases in Afghanistan through the Bilateral Security Agreement currently being negotiated, and ordinary South Koreans opposed to the construction of a Korea/U.S. naval base on Jeju Island…
Spoken Word Group Piece with The Afghan Peace Volunteers and Luke Nephew of The Peace Poets
As the war turns 12
Me and other Youth in Afghanistan worry we will not make it alive to visit our families for Eid,
As the war turns 12,
Women in Afghanistan are still sold and traded, beaten and degraded
we are still demanding our education… but over two thousand and five hundred
Afghan women have committed suicide so far in 2013
By Luke Nephew
Luke Nephew with the Afghan Peace Volunteers
The sun has just set and we’re sitting in a circle on the floor. This is how we eat here. There’s ten men and five plates of food. Each plate shared by two hungry men. And tea. There is always tea. Tonight, dinner is good. We’re halfway through our five plates of potatoes and rice and baow. We freeze for two seconds. Baow, Baow. Two more shots ring out. The young men jump to their feet and away from the windows. Within two seconds they seem to be behind the thickest parts of the walls. Dr. Hakim and a few of the guys are still sitting. There is a ten seconds of silence. We all wait to see what will come. Just quiet. The sounds of the street.