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Weeding Roses in Kabul

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.

Listen to Kathy Kelly on Live at the Heartland

In case you missed Kathy’s interview last Sunday, you can listen to her speak on her most recent time in prison, Megan Rice and recent Ploughshares actions, and the Afghan Peace Volunteers street kids school on Live from the Heartland.

Can the UN Talks Bring Peace to Shattered Yemen?

By Medea Benjamin and Nalini Ramachandran

According to two recent Human Rights Watch investigations, among the weapons being used by the Saudis are cluster bombs, which were banned by the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions because they kill civilians long after the fighting has stopped. Of the three types of cluster munitions identified recently in Yemen, two were manufactured in the United States and supplied by the US government. “The Saudi-led coalition and other warring parties in Yemen need to recognize that using banned cluster munitions is harming civilians,” said Human Rights Watch researcher Ole Solvang. “These weapons can’t distinguish military targets from civilians, and their unexploded submunitions threaten civilians, especially children, even long after the fighting.”

Fear and Learning in Kabul

Zarghuna with one of her studentsZarghuna 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…

Obituary for Tariq Aziz

…we had hoped that influential leaders would see it as their moral responsibility to see that Tariq Aziz, a sick and elderly statesman, would be allowed to live his last days in the comfort of his family. We were wrong. We had appealed to former US Secretary of State, James Baker, who co-chaired with Tariq Aziz the 1991 Geneva negotiations on Iraq, to support calls for humane treatment of his former counterpart. Baker refused to act as a statesman. We also had hoped to hear the Pope’s voice for fellow Christian Tariq Aziz following our contact with the Holy See’s foreign minister. The Vatican remained mute. Other leaders in Europe and elsewhere preferred silence to compassion…

Local TV Ads urge Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station Drone Pilots to "Refuse to Fly"

Fifteen-second television commercials condemning United States drone attacks will begin airing in Niagara Falls and Western New York on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, TWNS, and on YES Network during Yankees games during the month of June.

Pave Paradise, Put Up a Naval Base

South Korea’s Jeju Island is a popular tourist destination full of spas, resorts, golf courses, sandy beaches, waterfalls and hiking trails. But if you really want to get rejuvenated, skip the tourist hotspots and go directly to the village of Gangjeong to support the extraordinary community that has been opposing the building of a naval base since 2007. By Medea Benjamin

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