[pjw] ANALYSIS: Kathy Kelly connects Afghan teens under US bombs to NRA

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Tue Mar 6 21:04:10 EST 2018

Hey PJW supporters
I've been hoping to see someone (anyone!!) make the connection that one 
reason people in the USA think it's ok to pick up a gun and kill people to 
resolve conflicts is _that is how the government teaches us to do it._ 
Kathy Kelly at Voices for Creative Nonviolence makes that connection in a 
very visceral way in this dispatch from Afghanistan, where US bombing 
raids are, according to the article, killing so many people there isn't 
enough room to make graves for them all.

I am hoping that as the national debate about guns, stepping up police 
presence at schools (Portland Copwatch has something to say about that), 
and arming teachers (??!!!) goes on, folks in the peace movement can 
bring forward this larger issue of violence.
dan h
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 3 Mar 2018 08:03:14
From: Voices for Creative Nonviolence <info at vcnv.org>
Subject: Teen Solidarity Against the Merchants of Death

Kathy Kelly, writing from Kabul, shares young Afghans' thoughts about 
teens protesting violence in the United States.

Photo caption: Afghan Peace Volunteers and friends in Kabul celebrate the 
International Day of Peace in Sept 2017
This article first appeared in The Progressive 

Teen Solidarity Against the Merchants of Death
by Kathy Kelly, March 1, 2018

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 
home town 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 

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."

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

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 forces 
as 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 

"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 at vcnv.org (mailto:kathy at vcnv.org) ) co-coordinates 
Voices for Creative Nonviolence (www.vcnv.org (http://www.vcnv.org/) ) 
While in Kabul, she is a guest of the Afghan Peace Volunteers 

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