Afghanistan journal, part two: bearing witness to peacemaking in a war-torn country
by John Dear S.J. | Dec. 18, 2012
This is part two of my diary from Afghanistan. It's very long, but I offer it to those who are interested in my experience in Afghanistan, where we have waged the longest war in U.S. history. To learn more about the Afghan Peace Volunteers, visit 2millionfriends.org, ourjourneytosmile.com and vcnv.org. Merry Christmas to one and all!
This afternoon, we drove across Kabul, one of the most polluted, impoverished cities on earth, with its sea of speeding cars, to one of the many refugee camps, where we sat in a U.N. tent listening to camp leaders share their suffering and beg for peace. About 55 families fill this crowded camp, and some of the families have as many as 25 members.
"We are tired of war," the elder began. "We have nothing to live on. We have no work. We do not want our children killed. Who would want this? Finish this war. We don't want anyone else killed. No one in this camp wants the war to continue. We are sick of war.
"One of the main problems," he said, "is that we are not willing to talk to one another. The powers that be must talk. Everyone in Afghanistan is Muslim; there should be no fighting between Muslims. We all know war has no benefit for the people. They want it to end. The war only benefits those in power. There are many widows, orphans, maimed people, hungry, sick and unemployed people. They are sick of this war. The same fighting has been going on for decades and we fear we will never see peace. It's just been a matter of changing those who sit in the chairs of power. The killings just continue. The powers that be have turned Afghanistan into a killing field, their personal playground of war.