by Amy Watts, Pax Christi USA Program Associate
Calling all friends (old and new) of the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers! Every three months people around the world listen together to ordinary people living in war-torn countries. It a way of letting them know that someone is listening; that someone is listening to whatever it is they want to share.
The 2011 Summer Solstice Global Days of Listening is THIS SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, June 18-19 (starting 8pm U.S. Eastern time, Saturday. going all the way through 8pm Eastern time, Sunday). Be a part of this powerful on-the-phone and online event! You can be connected (via phone or internet) with the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers and with other peacemakers all over the world.
For the Global Day of Listening this Saturday and Sunday, listen anytime to the livestream at http://livestream.com/globaldaysoflistening
If you’d like to have a time where you can speak during the call and interact with the Afghan Youth and other callers:
- View the General Schedule and decide a few of the topics that interest you (please note that sometimes the conversation evolves into other topics too.)
- Then, look at the Actual Schedule to find the time that says “Available” and is a time you are wanting to speak. Make sure you are looking at the right time zone!
- Now, email GlobalDaysOfListening@gmail.com to request that time with the specified time zone you are in.
- On the day of the call, you will be calling into a conference call number if you’re in North America.
- Confused but interested? Email GlobalDaysofListening@gmail.com and someone will assist you.
Reflections from Pax Christi USA members who participated in previous Global Days of Listening:
Dave Robinson, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA:
- “It was remarkable and inspiring to be able to listen to young people in Afghanistan connect their hopes and courage with others experiencing violence around the world. When my scheduled time came, I noted that the Obama Administration had just released their “review” of Afghan War policy. Notably absent from the report was any reference to the situation faced by ordinary Afghan people. I asked the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers what their personal experience was regarding provision of humanitarian assistance by the U.S. A chorus of responses broke out at once in the background of the call. ‘Lies,’ several voices said. ‘There is no help available. We have nothing and nowhere to turn.’ Hakim, the mentor to the AYPV then encouraged me to read the recently prepared report ‘Nowhere to Turn: The Failure to Protect Civilians in Afghanistan,’ prepared by 29 relief organizations working in Afghanistan and released for the recent NATO summit in Lisbon November 19-20. You can get the report at www.oxfam.org. It presents a bleak picture of an increasingly desperate situation that flies in the face of the rosy report issued by the Pentagon.”
Jacqueline Rito, Pax Christi Long Island member and teacher at Bethpage High School:
- “What better way to end one year and begin a next than with a meaningful connection? On the evening of December 31st, I had a reserved time slot to connect with Hakim and the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers. We had managed to briefly connect with them when the program was first introduced to us on the International Day of Peace, September 21st, 2010. The Student Civic group which I advise in a public high school on Long Island gave interested students the chance to connect with the Afghan group via SKYPE. From that initial introduction with names and contacts, the students did not have a chance to connect again. But, I did – again on December 19th and then on December 31st… Personalizing events, current and historical, creates a bond of humanity that statistics and facts cannot adequately embrace. Speaking to these courageous, yet humble young people across divides and barriers brings connection closer. And finally, for me, hearing the excitement in their young voices when they seemed to recognize my name, the school and the first impact of the September 21st encounter, elicited a surge of compassion, emotion and empathy within me spontaneously. ‘Jackleen, Jackleen’ – I heard several voices chime together from the background of an unfathomable depth. At that very moment, the only thing that I felt was the immense joy in the realization of the power of spirit and love in human connections across the world and the dedication needed to continue making each new year better than before.”
M.J. Park, Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace:
- Little Friends For Peace participated in the calls with the Afghan Youth during Advent. It was a vey meaningful and moving experience and made the Advent journey very special. As we light our candle each week and prayed for patience and hope and how we could be the light in the darkness and find our way to Bethlehem and the newborn baby Jesus – connecting with the youth and vets from the army – hearing their voices, their stories and their longing for peace and friendship and not war and hatred – was so moving. One week one of the Afghan youth said, ‘Why does there have to be war? And no money is worth one person’s life.’… LFFP is trying to answer the violence with skills for peace. We are trying to bring hope and light to the darkness. We are trying to say what we are for and not what we are against. The voices and the messages of the youth touched our hearts and gave us the longing to connect and build friendships with them. Also, we heard their cry, their hope, their longing just like Mary and Joseph longing to get to Bethlehem and find a stable and welcoming people… On New Year’s Day we participated in the Global Day of connection. That call was filled with hope and dreams that we can build a new world, stop the war and fighting and build a culture of peace… From all these calls, it has motivated LFFP to try and do a peace camp with the Afghan youth and bring our peace train there. We are working to make the dream come true.”
Curious about the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers?
Learn more by clicking on this link and visiting the Afghan Youth website. You can also view the video from the last series of events that took place with the Spring Equinox Days of Listening in Kabul, Afghanistan. You can help continue to launch the Blue Scarf Movement seen in this video by getting and wearing your blue scarf.
Please sign up for a time to speak with those around the world who have been yearning to be connected with voices of good will.