Rev. John Dear, Fr. John Dear, SJ
Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace

“We call upon the United Nations to negotiate an immediate cease-fire to the war in Afghanistan, and to start talks aimed at ending the war and beginning the long road to healing and recovery.” That’s what the Afghan youth said on Tuesday afternoon in Kabul, along with Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire of Ireland, as they launched their “Two Million Friends for Afghanistan” campaign and presented their petition to a senior United Nations official.

For me, it was the climax of a heart-breaking, astonishing eight days in one of the poorest, most violent, most war-torn, most corrupt, and most polluted places on the planet — and because of the amazing “Afghan Peace Volunteers,” the 25 Afghan youth who live and work together in a community of peace and nonviolence — one of the most hopeful.

All these Afghan youth have suffered from war and poverty, but as they point out, two million people have been killed in war in Afghanistan over the past four decades. After ten years of Soviet war and occupation in the 1980s, then the Civil War in the early 1990s led by the corrupt warlords, then the years of oppression under the Taliban, and now 11 years of American war and occupation, they are sick of war. Their message is the same message we heard everywhere — from a woman’s cooperative, a children’s school, a refugee camp, and even in Parliament — “Stop the Killings. End the war. We want peace.”…

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