Kathy Kelly and Joshua Brollier of WNPJ member group Voices for Creative Nonviolence report from Afghanistan: “Our situation is like a football match. The superpower countries are the players, and we are just the ball to be kicked around.” This sentiment, expressed by a young man from North Waziristan, has been echoed throughout many of our conversations with ordinary people here in Pakistan and in Afghanistan. Most are baffled that the United States, with the largest and most modern military in the world, can’t put a stop to a few thousand militants hiding out in the border regions between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The following piece was written on February 9th by Dr Hakim (Dr Teck Young, Wee, on right in picture, with Raz and Abdulhai), a colleague of WNPJ member group Voices for Creative Nonviolence, who mentors the Kabul-based Afghan Peace Volunteers.
It’s hard for me, an ordinary citizen of Singapore, a medical doctor engaged in social enterprise work in Afghanistan and a human being wishing for a better world, to write this from Kabul.
But people are dying.
And children and women are feeling hopeless.
“What’s the point in telling you our stories?” asked Freba, one of the seamstresses working with the Afghan Peace Volunteers to set up a tailoring co-operative for Afghan women. “Does anyone hear? Does anyone believe us?”
Silently within, I answered Freba with shame,” You’re right. No one is listening.”
Thank Representatives Baldwin and Moore for speaking out against Gaza blockade - and other WNPJ Action AlertsSubmitted by staff on Mon, 02/01/2010 - 4:03pm
More than 50 members of Congress have written a letter to President Obama about the humanitarian crisis caused by the Israeli blockade of Gaza. The letter states: "The blockade has severely impeded the ability of aid agencies to do their work to relieve suffering... has devastated livelihoods [and] entrenched a poverty rate of over 70%." The letter goes on to note that "the ban on building materials is preventing the reconstruction of thousands of innocent families' damaged homes." Two members of the Wisconsin Congressional delegation, Tammy Baldwin (202-225-2906) and Gwen Moore (202-225-4572), have signed on to the letter.
More WNPJ Action Alerts below...
Wisconsin Representatives Tammy Baldwin and Gwen Moore provided two of only 11 "no" votes in the House of Representatives on a bill expanding sanctions against Iran. The bill would make U.S. parent companies liable for the acts of their non-U.S. subsidiaries that engage in trade with Iran and "Restore prohibitions on imports of carpets and certain food products." Perhaps more important than the actual content of the legislation was the bill's role in feeding an escalating PR campaign that could lead us to war.
On March 9, 2010, more than 30 veterans and supporters turned out in support of Assembly Bill 203, a bill to give the Wisconsin Governor the authority to review all federal orders for Wisconsin Guard troops, and to refuse any deployment order determined to be unlawful. Below is the written testimony of one of the participants, Steve Books of Mt. Horeb, who served in the Wisconsin National Guard from 1980-1985.
On March 9, 2010, more than 30 veterans and supporters turned out in support of Assembly Bill 203, a bill to give the Wisconsin Governor the authority to review all federal orders for Wisconsin Guard troops, and to refuse any deployment order determined to be unlawful. Below is the written testimony of one of the participants, Jane Kavaloski of Dodgeville.
Reversing their earlier decision, U.S. Consular officers have now issued a visa for Dr. Wee Teck Young (left) to come to the U.S. for a multi-state speaking tour as part of the U.S.-Mexico “Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity” organized by Global Exchange. Dr. Young prefers to go by the name Hakim, a name bestowed on him after he served as a public health doctor among refugees on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. In the Dari language, “Hakim” means “learned one and local healer.” The visa approval comes after Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Global Exchange, and Fellowship of Reconciliation urged their members and supporters to contact the State Dept. on Hakim's behalf. Responding to the news, Hakim said, "Your support letters to me and to the U.S. Embassies in support of my U.S. visa re-application encourage me deeply in my wish and work for global peace. Your acts of love show me that without extending our hand to one another, neither simple nor difficult steps towards a better, non-violent world could be taken successfully."
Thanks to a grassroots campaign on her behalf, Afghan human rights activist and former Member of Parliament Malalai Joya has now been granted a visa by the U.S. State Department, a little over a week after her visa application was initially rejected. Joya, an outspoken critic of the war in Afghanistan, was informed by State Department officials that she would not be allowed into the U.S. for an extensive speaking tour because she “lived underground” and was “unemployed,” even though she had been granted visas 4 times over the past several years (Joya, who has spoken against the control of the Afghan government by corrupt warlords, is often forced to go into hiding in response to death threats she has received.) Although the State Department's delay caused her to miss events scheduled for New York and Washington DC, she was able to appear in Boston on March 25th in a joint appearance at Harvard with Noam Chomsky to present "The case for withdrawal from Afghanistan."
A bill proposed by a bipartisan group of state representatives would require law enforcement officials to get a search warrant before using drones for surveillance, and ban drone surveillance by private citizens in non-public places, where there is "expectation of privacy," reports the Capital Times.
Bonnie Block of the Wisconsin Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, a WNPJ member group, applauds the bill but wishes it would go further.
"We have militarized the police and the use of drones is just another part of that," she said. "It is very worrisome to me that they need military-style weapons for local law enforcement agencies."