June 30, 2015
Mohamedou Slahi photo: International Committee of the Red Cross
Each year, throughout the Muslim world, believers participate in the month-long Ramadan fast. Here in Kabul, where I’m a guest of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, our household awakens at 2:15 a.m. to prepare a simple meal before the fast begins at about 3:00 a.m. I like the easy companionship we feel, seated on the floor, sharing our food. Friday, the day off, is household clean-up day, and it seemed a bit odd, to be sweeping and washing floors in the pre-dawn hours, but we tended to various tasks and then caught a nap before heading over to meet the early bird students at the Street Kids School, a project my hosts are running for child laborers who otherwise couldn’t go to school.
by Martha Hennessy
Kabul—Outside the windows of the room where I sleep, here in Kabul, the Afghan Peace Volunteer (APV) women’s community maintains a small walled garden filled with roses. The community planted tomatoes, cilantro and greens. An apricot tree grows in one corner, a mulberry tree in another. The prayer call, chanted from a nearby mosque, awakens me just before dawn. Light appears in the sky around four, and soon after, the doves and neighborhood children begin to stir. Normal activities and routines persist here in Afghanistan, despite the decades of war and impoverishment. Military helicopters roar through the skies as sounds generated by ordinary workaday tasks fill the air: the whine of a machine cutting sheet metal mixes with a jingle played by an ice cream cart rolling down the street.
Zarghuna with one of her students
…Every Friday, the children pour into the center’s courtyard and immediately line up to wash their feet and hands and brush their teeth at a communal faucet. Then they scramble up the stairs to their brightly decorated classroom and readily settle down when their teachers start the lessons. Three extraordinary young teachers, Zarghuna, Hadisa, and Farzana, feel encouraged now because many of the thirty-one street kids who were in the school last year learned to read and write fluently within nine months. Their experimentation with different teaching methods, including individualized learning, is paying off—unlike government school systems where many seventh graders are unable to read…
by Gary Corseri
(and everyone else for that matter!).
When Kathy Kelly went to jail,
the land of the free, home of the brave
bent out of shape over deflated footballs;
O’Reilly railed at one of his guests
who dared to suggest that “American Sniper”
was not a really, really good show;
“black ice” blanketed Texas to New England
as 16-wheelers careened and caromed,
haphazardly killing all the way home.
by Eric Vincent
When many of us think of robotic warfare, we imagine Skynet from The Terminator or the machines from The Matrix. While these films may have been the mere dreams of science fiction authors, our future may be headed in that very direction. Military drones have become a widely used tool in the Global War on Terrorism and the U.S. War in Afghanistan in particular. General Atomics, the major manufacturer of armed drones in the U.S., “has produced some 700 aircraft to date” and production continues each month (“Predator/Gray Eagle”). Although the use of drones has been marketed to the public as a surgical method of eliminating high-threat targets with minimal risk to friendly troops and civilians, the reality is drastically different. During the Obama administration, “attempts to kill 41 men [by drone strikes] resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,147 people” and many of these collateral deaths were women and children (Ackerman).
American Sniper is a racist, militaristic movie. But it has much to teach us if we want to build a successful antiwar movement.
By Kay Campbell, writer for AL.com
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama - Want to feel less discouraged about the disarray and violence in the world? Then join a protest movement, say Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, and Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink, a pro-peace group originally organized by mothers against war.
Kathy and Medea: photo by Kay Campbell
Where Days Are Stones: Afghanistan and Gaza Poems
By Gary Steven Corseri
I have pondered lately about the world’s need for poet-journalists. (The hyphen is key here.) There are many great journalists who venture into terra incognita in order to tell the true stories of the victims of war, violence, poverty, ignorance, disease. Some of them, placing themselves “in the line of fire,” have been “killed in action,”– sometimes by “friendly fire”– while “just doing their jobs.” And, there are poets and artists in America who eschew the ease and comforts of an academic position– the foundation grants, the sinecures– because they are driven to sing their unique songs while they live– come hell or high water! (“There is some $#@& I will not eat!” wrote e.e. cummings).
On April 28, 2013, Ms. Mahoney was arrested when she joined 27 others in a die-in outside the front gate of Hancock Air Base, to protest their piloting of Reaper drones. Six months earlier Ms. Mahoney had traveled Pakistan to meet with families of drone victims. She stated:
“I was ashamed to say I live in a country that participates in terrorizing and killing of innocent people; where the killing of children is viewed as collateral damage.”