SF Bay Area

Teen Solidarity Against the Merchants of Death

Afghan Peace Volunteers and friends celebrate the International Day of Peace in Kabul, September 2017.

By Kathy Kelly 

(This article first published in The Progressive magazine)

Here in Kabul, as the rising sun begins to warm our chilly rooms, I hear excited laughter from downstairs. Rosemary Morrow, a renowned Australian permaculture expert, has begun teaching thirty-five young students in a month-long course on low-resource farming. In war-torn Afghanistan, there’s a desperate need to rebuild agricultural infrastructure and help people grow their own food. People verging on despair feel encouraged by possibilities of replenishing and repairing their soil.

 The night before, over dinner, one of the students discussed news from his hometown in Afghanistan’s Wardak province about U.S. aerial attacks. “The blasts have become so frequent,” he said, “that people can’t find spaces to bury their dead.” During breaks in the class, I tell some of the Afghan Peace Volunteer students about the school shootings in the United States, and the remarkable determination of teenagers from Florida to demand that lawmakers take action on gun control.

These Afghan students have also heard about Black Lives Matter activists who have been tear gassed and beaten when they’ve demonstrated against police brutality. The Afghan teens identify with the activists facing danger, but still standing up to insist on change.

I asked if they thought that the U.S. media and government would heed Afghan young people raising their voices asserting their anguish and fear regarding U.S. aerial attacks and drone assassinations.

“You’re dreaming,” said Hamid. He flashed me a warm smile and shook his head, saying, “no one will ever listen to us.”

Nasir, a third-year university student who majors in mapping technology, tells me he thinks teens in the United States have a chance to be heard. Like Habib, he doubts that the same is true for Afghan voices seeking to end the sixteen-year-old war.

But Zainab, a high schooler in the permaculture class, added that she thinks it would be great to record a vigil of teenagers in Kabul sending their support for U.S. teenagers who’ve survived school shootings in the U.S. and who’ve begun shaming the adult world into action on the issue of gun violence.

The outrage now directed toward the National Rifle Association should also challenge all assaults made by the U.S. military.

People often tell me they believe the U.S. military remains in Afghanistan because it wants to eventually control mineral wealth and other resources. But right now, weapon manufacturers like General Atomics and Boeing—which supply the U.S. base in Kandahar with drones, missiles, and bombs—are profiting from the perpetuation of war. This profit gives them common cause with arms manufacturers like Sturm Ruger and Sig Sauer earning millions from equipping U.S. police forcesas well as deranged killers in U.S. classrooms.

Yesterday, I read about U.S. aviation brigades training in Colorado’s Fort Carson for possible Afghan deployment: 2,000 troops, part of an exercise called “Eagle Strike,” are preparing for attacks with ground-pounding weapons. The Kandahar base in Afghanistan now has three squadron’s worth of MQ-9 Reaper drones. Costing $65 million each, these drones are outfitted to carry 560-pound GPS laser-guided bombs as well as Hellfire missiles.

Why fill the landscape of any country with craters and graves? What could we possibly hope to harvest?

Zainab tells me she thinks the teenage generation is changing and that more young people believe in training individuals and nations to avoid killing.

“Why can’t we devise sustainable ways to bring about peace?” she asks.

I consider the idea that international teen solidarity could challenge both the U.S. military and the National Rifle Association to end assaults on human life. “Our goal must be to demand that every person around the world agree to stop producing and using weapons,” says Nasir.

I sit with them, and reflect on these courageous, clear-eyed Afghan and U.S. youth working in both countries to sow seeds that bear needed fruit, hoping they can change the adults as well.

Kathy Kelly (kathy@vcnv.org) co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence (www.vcnv.org) While in Kabul, she is a guest of the Afghan Peace Volunteers (ourjourneytosmile.org)

cp_banner
CodePink is a women's grassroots-initiated, worldwide organization of women and men working for peace, social justice and a green economy. CodePink SF serves the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.


 

Actions
Mar
5
Fri
5:00 PM Friday Peace Vigil Back on the S... @ In front of MLK Library
Friday Peace Vigil Back on the S... @ In front of MLK Library
Mar 5 @ 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Friday Peace Vigil Back on the Street. @ In front of MLK Library
End Endless War Remaining silent is not an option. We can either have a culture of complicity, or a culture of resistance. With no public opposition we will have a culture of complicity. Public acts[...]
Gatherings
Mar
1
Mon
3:00 PM Peace Collective Gathering: How ...
Peace Collective Gathering: How ...
Mar 1 @ 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Peace Collective Gathering: How to Start a Divestment Campaign
The Peace Collective was created and started by the twenty-somethings at CODEPINK for the young folks (up to age 29) that want to become a part of the peace movement, raise hell, and just do some cool[...]
6:00 PM Restorative Yoga w/Khalilah @ Online
Restorative Yoga w/Khalilah @ Online
Mar 1 @ 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Restorative Yoga w/Khalilah @ Online
Description This Yoga class is a one hour practice the is meant to restore, rejuvenate and provide a restful strengthening session for the body, mind and spirit. Please wear comfortable clothing. No prior experience is[...]
Mar
5
Fri
5:00 PM Haiti: What’s Imperialism Got To...
Haiti: What’s Imperialism Got To...
Mar 5 @ 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
What: Haiti: What’s Imperialism Got To Do With It?! solidarity event When: Friday, March 5, 8pm ET / 5 pm PT Where: RSVP for Zoom info  WHEN March 5, 2021 at 5:00pm – 6:00pm (PST)  WHERE Zoom  CONTACT Leonardo Flores[...]
Mar
6
Sat
9:00 AM Peaceful Yoga w/Khalilah @ Online
Peaceful Yoga w/Khalilah @ Online
Mar 6 @ 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Peaceful Yoga w/Khalilah @ Online
Description This is a morning yoga class focused on strengthening, calming and centering the body, mind and spirit. No prior experience in yoga is required. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3090894469?pwd=V1lqRk9odTY3OGZLM3ZXbXlPYjkzZz09 Meeting ID: 309 089 4469 Passcode: 712607 https://www.paypal.me/thepeacedancer Contact: Khalilah[...]
12:00 PM The Mauritanian – Film Screening...
The Mauritanian – Film Screening...
Mar 6 @ 12:00 PM – 3:30 PM
The Mauritanian - Film Screening with Q&A
Join the movement to #CloseGITMO and be a part of a conversation about The Mauritanian, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Shailene Woodley, Tahar Rahim, and Jodie Foster. Based on a true story, The Mauritanian follows attorney Nancy[...]
Mar
8
Mon
3:00 PM Peace Collective Discussion: Sin...
Peace Collective Discussion: Sin...
Mar 8 @ 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Peace Collective Discussion: Sinophobia & Manufactured Consent
The Peace Collective was created and started by the twenty-somethings at CODEPINK for the young folks (up to age 29) that want to become a part of the peace movement, raise hell, and just do some cool[...]
4:00 PM Women’s Voices from Central Amer...
Women’s Voices from Central Amer...
Mar 8 @ 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
Women's Voices from Central America: Impacts of US Policies on Migration
On International Women’s Day, we will hear from women in three Central American countries that have been heavily impacted by U.S. foreign policy: El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Through a video montage of interviews they[...]
Mar
10
Wed
4:00 PM Divest From the War Machine Camp...
Divest From the War Machine Camp...
Mar 10 @ 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Divest From the War Machine Campaign Zoom Meeting
Chicago, we’re taking on the war machine! Join us for our monthly Chicago Divest from the War Machine Meeting.  WHEN March 10, 2021 at 4:00pm – 5:00pm (PST)  WHERE Zoom  CONTACT Cody Urban · cody@codepink.org Can we count you[...]

PinkBridgeDivider

 

WORLD

PinkBridgeDivider

ARTS

PinkBridgeDivider

GREEN ECONOMY

PinkBridgeDivider

From our National Site

The national CodePink organization organizes for justice for Iraqis and to hold war criminals accountable. CodePink actively opposes the U.S. war in Afghanistan, torture, the detention center at Guantanamo, weaponized and spy drones, the prosecution of whistleblowers, U.S. support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine and repressive regimes.

Rooted in a network of local organizers, CodePink's tactics include satire, street theatre, creative visuals, civil resistance, and directly challenging powerful decision-makers in government and corporations. And, of course, wearing pink!