Peacemaking, to paraphrase Dostoyevsky, is ďa harsh and dreadful thing.Ē
This week, Iím flying to Kabul, Afghanistan, on a long-planned, hopeful yet modest mission of peace. Iíve been looking for a way to get to Afghanistan for the last twelve years. I remember speaking out against the impending U.S. bombing of Afghanistan in September, 2011 at a rally in Greenwich Village, in New York City, and then again, just after the U.S. war began in October, 2011, in Times Square. In January, 2003, I spoke against our war in Afghanistan and our impending war on Iraq at the large mobilization in front of the U.S. Capitol to 300,000 people. Since then, Iíve been denouncing this war, organizing demonstrations, speaking with politicians, even getting arrested in acts of civil disobedience. With Archbishop Tutu, I tried--and came close---to meeting with President Obama about it. But most of all, Iíve wanted to go there myself.
So this week, I fly to the other side of the world, to one of the poorest places on the planet, where two million people have been killed in warfare over the last four decades. Iím going, basically, for three reasons.
First of all, Iíve been invited to Afghanistan by the Afghan Peace Volunteers, a group of young people who study and practice nonviolence in Kabul, to join their December 10th day of peace. As some might know, these young people are part of a community education center in Kabul, and like the rest of us, try to practice peace and nonviolence. They have all lost loved ones because of our war, and continue to live and suffer in danger. (Read about them at: www.vcnv.org.)