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International Activists Assemble in Kabul, March 17 – 24 to Join Afghan Youth in Solidarity Delegation
INTERNATIONAL - March 14 - Jim Haber and Mary Lou Anderson of Las Vegas will be among the international peace activists meeting with members of Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers (AYPV, www.ourjourneytosmile.com) in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 16-24. Traveling as “citizen diplomats,” they hope to learn about Afghan experiences and to support an AYPV campaign called “I Wish to Live Without Wars,” www.livewithoutwars.org. Updates from Haber and Anderson will be posted on an NDE webpage.
Haber and Anderson are coordinator and a volunteer, respectively, with Nevada Desert Experience (NDE). Founded to resist nuclear weapons work at the Nevada National Security Site, NDE has recently been in the forefront of the movement against the increasingly deadly use of Predator pilotless aircraft in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Many Predator “drones” are controlled from Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, NV.NDE also facilitates personal renewal in the desert tradition, honoring the land, as people of the Earth.
"I look forward to meeting the brave citizens and youth groups of Afghanistan, listening to their dreams, their strife; sharing some joy, knowledge and hope for a violence-free future,” Anderson said about her reasons for going on this journey. Haber added, “One doesn't have to go there to have solidarity with average Afghans, beset by violence from so many quarters, both foreign and domestic. However, I feel called to see for myself, to meet peacemakers there who I have been supporting in my long-standing work against US war-making and other brutalizing forces in Afghanistan.”
The AYPVs have asked the international delegation to help promote thesecond “Live Without Wars, Global Day of Listening” and to support their other anti-violence activities in Kabul in celebration of the Afghan New Year which is March 21, the first day of Spring. Afghans of many ethnicities will walk for peace together, followed by a tree planting take on Saturday, March 19, the Global Day of Listening on Sunday, March 20 (starting on 3/19 in Las Vegas), and the candle lighting is on Monday, March 21.
Like the group Afghans for Peace, AYPV calls for an end to war. Determined not to exacerbate spiraling violence based on desires for revenge, members encourage wide-scale friendships of love and truth that will cross all borders towards nonviolent and conciliatory relations. They ask, “Why not love?”
During 2010, Voices for Creative Nonviolence members spent three weeks in October and again in December as guests of the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers, first in Bamiyan and then in Kabul. As in those trips, Anderson, Haber and the other 22 delegation members will meet with representatives of various NGOs and with leaders of civil society. They will also meet with Afghans who have been displaced by the war and now endure wretched conditions in a Kabul refugee camp.
*Voices for Creative Nonviolence (*www.vcnv.org) has deep, long-standing roots in active nonviolent resistance to U.S. war-making. Begun in the summer of 2005, Voices draws upon the experiences of those who challenged the brutal economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and U.N. against the Iraqi people between 1990 and 2003.
Nevada Desert Experience (NevadaDesertExperience.org) has been organizing interfaith resistance to nuclear weapons and war since the mid-1980s. Through campaigns of education, dialogue and nonviolent direct action, NDE works against development and use of nuclear and other new weapons systems.