Tag: Afghan War

I had forgotten the Afghan mountain spirit

The wars within and without had spun me into a hurry, a hurry to do what, to accomplish what? I had forgotten the mountains of Afghanistan until, going up her untamed slopes encroached by an expanding cemetery, I asked Sami and Sarwar, as a cold breeze blew my voice away, “Is the mountain a living or non-living thing?” The clouds were presenting shadow shows with the sunlight, as the mountain peaks loomed above hibernating shrubs, and graves previously and newly dug for grieving families. “Alive! The mountain is living,” they both replied. The earth’s seismic sway had served up her prominent art for us to gaze and tread upon, for us to reconsider our obsessions to extract, exploit and kill on her watch. During a team building circle two weeks ago, we had thought, “How could we manage our fears, stresses, anger, sadness…?” ‘Go touch Nature, let her caress us, […]

Afghan friends: For a moment, I didn’t know what to wish for you

Afghan friends: For a moment, I didn’t know what to wish for you   Mahdi drew what he wanted to become: a doctor – white coat, blue tie   In 2015, Mursal drew and wrote: I want a School of Nonviolence Ibrahim ( extreme left ) said #Enough! War, along with other Afghan street kids Mahdi and Mursal, today, when I heard the blast of another suicide bombing in Kabul, I didn’t know what to wish for you. I was irritated, rather, my thoughts scattered in multiple fragments, because, not only did I need to know that you were safe, it hurt me to think of how the sensational images will traumatize you, again. Mahdi was back polishing boots last summer, together with his cousin, Ismael   With another street kid, Nisar, Mahdi volunteered to water trees at Kabul Peace Garden   He also helped out in the winter duvet […]

Ending the war inside and outside us

* A Different Afghan Winter Photo Essay Series Green Permaculture: Being Vulnerable with one another and with the Earth’s Feelings Bamiyan Peace Park: Even the Stones will Speak Equal Genderless Bikes in Afghanistan Afghan Street Kid Mehdi’s Disappearing Dream Another hard reality about Afghan duvets Nonviolent Relationships can heal ‘terrorism’ Ending the war inside and outside us Ending the war inside and outside us I can see the damage that bombs and a lost refugee father has thrown on you; it was written on your chained face even as you led the bicycle freedom ride. Subconsciously, you search for love to provide a balm, but your hand or leg or back or stammering speech are often trapped in hurts, like birds with clipped wings in human-crafted cages. Like every human can be, you are a revolutionary, taking the ball in Kabul’s corrupted nights of military raids, hoping to score, or […]

Relationships can heal ‘terrorism’

* A Different Afghan Winter Photo Essay Series Green Permaculture: Being Vulnerable with one another and with the Earth’s Feelings Bamiyan Peace Park: Even the Stones will Speak Equal Genderless Bikes in Afghanistan Afghan Street Kid Mehdi’s Disappearing Dream Another hard reality about Afghan duvets Nonviolent Relationships can heal ‘terrorism’ Ending the war inside and outside us Relationships can heal terrorism When, across a language barrier, Najib befriended me, I began to heal from capitalist and militarist notions that were destroying Najib’s life. He was no longer a Holly-Bollywood Pashtun ‘terrorist’ or a ‘fighting-age male’. Young people can solve their disputes better than the adults of today, if we guide them to, like peer mediator Ellis Brooks did. The inner peacemakers in us spring up spontaneously, including among the elderly in Okinawa, and the refugees in Finland, and the Afghan Peace Volunteers in Kabul, among all of us. When we […]

Another hard reality about Afghan duvets

* A Different Afghan Winter Photo Essay Series Green Permaculture: Being Vulnerable with one another and with the Earth’s Feelings Bamiyan Peace Park: Even the Stones will Speak Equal Genderless Bikes in Afghanistan Afghan Street Kid Mehdi’s Disappearing Dream Another hard reality about Afghan duvets Nonviolent Relationships can heal ‘terrorism’ Ending the war inside and outside us Another hard reality about Afghan duvets “Ali, Abid, Omid, Zarghuna, Zohra, Barat…. be kind to us, give us some duvets…” ranted the many Afghan women, again and again, I saw your kindness as you carefully weighed the duvet material,  spoke softly to each lady, and handed out the duvets for free. You try to explain the realities, while the crowds cope with their reality: desperation, and the women scramble for their children to keep warm. So, you remain strong when you’re out there, though sometimes, like the mothers, you’re crumbling inside. You organize […]

Afghan Street Kid Mehdi’s Disappearing Dream

* A Different Afghan Winter Photo Essay Series Green Permaculture: Being Vulnerable with one another and with the Earth’s Feelings Bamiyan Peace Park: Even the Stones will Speak Equal Genderless Bikes in Afghanistan Afghan Street Kid Mehdi’s Disappearing Dream Another hard reality about Afghan duvets Nonviolent Relationships can heal ‘terrorism’ Ending the war inside and outside us Afghan Street Kid Mehdi’s Disappearing Dream We’re angry for you because we love you and your dream of becoming a doctor. You have your rightful doubts and fatigue, and you remember shaving the snow shovels for a Kabul winter that never snowed on our spinning and warming earth. You must feel alone sometimes in your family’s spartan room, whose rent you just couldn’t pay. Far less could you feed your niece with the bag of rice provided by the Borderfree Street Kids School. Believe me, your volunteer teachers are really trying to find […]

Genderless Bikes in Afghanistan

* A Different Afghan Winter Photo Essay Series Green Permaculture: Being Vulnerable with one another and with the Earth’s Feelings Bamiyan Peace Park: Even the Stones will Speak Equal Genderless Bikes in Afghanistan Afghan Street Kid Mehdi’s Disappearing Dream Another hard reality about Afghan duvets Nonviolent Relationships can heal ‘terrorism’ Ending the war inside and outside us Gender-less bikes in Afghanistan Despite being officially the ‘inferior’ gender, Halima and Mahtab were determined. Fatima was excited. Mursal had practiced hard but couldn’t join them for the International Day for Women. After all, this was Afghanistan, where some prefer women not to be seen in her streets, where life has stood still and hard, where war is a mistake repeated by the U.S. and the Taliban and all alike, where high walls and rampant guns take precedence over food and trees. It wasn’t just the female volunteers who wanted to rescue the […]

Bamiyan Peace Park: Even the Stones will Speak

Ali and Zekerullah on Day 4 of Peace Vigil at Bamiyan Peace Park 2009 * A Different Afghan Winter Photo Essay Series Green Permaculture: Being Vulnerable with one another and with the Earth’s Feelings Bamiyan Peace Park: Even the Stones will Speak Equal Genderless Bikes in Afghanistan Afghan Street Kid Mehdi’s Disappearing Dream Another hard reality about Afghan duvets Nonviolent Relationships can heal ‘terrorism’ Ending the war inside and outside us Bamiyan Peace Park: Even the Stones will Speak As today’s mainstream media and conventional historical record has no mind of its own except corporatized profit and power, I choose to use the ‘voice’ of stones, the stones around Bamiyan Peace Park, established in 2009 with the help of the youth of Bamiyan, some of whom became core members of the Afghan Peace Volunteers. When the Governor of Bamiyan, Dr Sarobi, inaugurated the Bamiyan Peace Park in October 2009, she […]

Permaculture: Being Vulnerable with one another and with the Earth’s Feelings

* A Different Afghan Winter Photo Essay Series Green Permaculture: Being Vulnerable with one another and with the Earth’s Feelings Bamiyan Peace Park: Even the Stones will Speak Equal Genderless Bikes in Afghanistan Afghan Street Kid Mehdi’s Disappearing Dream Another hard reality about Afghan duvets Nonviolent Relationships can heal ‘terrorism’ Ending the war inside and outside us For Omid, Mursal, Mehdi, and the Afghan Peace Volunteers, this winter in Afghanistan was different from the usual. Omid loads the duvets “This is the Afghan story, that I’ve been a breadwinner since I was very little,” 19 year old Omid said with perceptible angst. It is a usual story for young Afghans to have prematurely lost one or two parents, and to have to pick themselves up again and again to face the world. “I’ve taken up different kinds of ‘jobs for the poor’ ( ‘gharibi kardum’).” “But, it still doesn’t quite […]

Seeing Flight as a Non-violent Option

Seeing Flight as a Non-violent Option: One Way to Change the Discourse about the World’s 60 Million Refugees by politicalviolenceataglance on January 26, 2016 By Erica Chenoweth and Hakim Young for Denver Dialogues In Brussels, more than 1,200 people protest against Europe’s unwillingness to do more about the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean, April 23rd, 2015. By Amnesty International. Today, one in every 122 humans living on the planet is a refugee, an internally displaced person, or an asylum-seeker. In 2014, conflict and persecution forced a staggering 42,500 persons per day to leave their homes and seek protection elsewhere, resulting in 59.5 million total refugees worldwide. According to the UN refugee agency’s 2014 Global Trends report (tellingly entitled World at War), developing countries hosted 86% of these refugees. Developed countries, such as the U.S. and those in Europe, host only 14% of the world’s total share of refugees. Yet public sentiment in the […]