Obama has proposed sending 30,000 more US soldiers to escalate the wars in Afghanistan.
We at Peacework Magazine published a special issue on Afghan Peacemaking (our December 2008/January 2009 issue). In Peacework, we strive to highlight "Global Thought and Local Action for Nonviolent Social Change." Most of us in the US have a lot to learn about Afghanistan.
There are no easy answers. Listening to peace advocates from Afghanistan is vital. In this issue, Abdul Aziz Yaqubi of the American Friends Service Committee in Kabul discusses the challenges for the population, caught between men with guns on all sides. Malalai Joya describes how she was illegally kicked out of the Afghan Parliament for calling warlords, "warlords." Afghan women describe how they are documenting and challenging violence against women.
More details and links to the articles below.
For North American perspectives published about Afghanistan in this issue, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, which was founded to make the point that vengeance is not wisdom, and has continued to reach out to try to prevent other families from around the world from suffering the losses they endure, has compiled an invaluable primer for US peace activists. Joseph Gerson calls on the US to pull troops out. Metta Spencer interviews an advocate of using Afghanistan's poppies to make pain-relieving morphine instead of heroin. A US soldier bound for Afghanistan declares his conscientious objection to war. Finally, an organizer with United for Peace and Justice's Afghanistan Working Group provides us with ideas about how we can help end the occupation of Afghanistan.
Links to the articles follow:
Building on Afghanistan's Traditions of Peacemaking: An Interview with Abdul Aziz Yaqubi, who wrote "We're caught between warlords, drug lords, the government, international armies, and the Taliban."
Afghan Parliamentarian Confronts War: Malalai Joya Risks Her Life to Speak for Human Rights by Sam Diener. Joya said, "Despite death threats and attacks, I will not stop telling the truth."
Violence Against Women in Afghanistan: Documenting Prevalence, Organizing for Change by Lauryn Oates Diya Nijhowne. "62% of women surveyed survived multiple forms of violence."
The US War in Afghanistan: A Primer for US Peace Activists
By Madelyn Hoffman, Kelly Campbell, Jesse Laird, and Alexandra Cooper from September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. "The death toll is rising."
(see also the full report from the Families available for free download.
Alternatives to the War in Afghanistan: Don't Escalate the War -- Pull Troops Out by Joseph Gerson. "Peace is negotiated between enemies."
Poppies for Medicine in Afghanistan: A Potential Balm for Numerous Ills by
Metta Spencer. "Don't eradicate poppies. Use them to relieve pain."
US Soldier Refuses Deployment to Afghanistan: CO Declares War "Flat-Out Murder"
by Sarah Lazare. Blake Ivey declared, "I won't go."
Ten Ways To End the Occupation of Afghanistan: Inform, Educate, Agitate, Organize
By maTT De Vleger. "To organize, we need to inform ourselves and share what we learn."