Brave Young Afghan Peace Workers Denied Visas to Speak in U.S., Please Write/Call
Many of you remember the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers (AYPV), a remarkable group of young people in Afghanistan who are working to create a peaceful future, through the teachings of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and others. You may have been on, or heard of, the monthly Global Conference Calls for Peace, which has connected thousands of like-minded youth and activists around the world to discuss a vision of a world without war. Guests of the Conference call have included Noam Chomsky. Now two of the youth,Abdulhai and Ali, both 15, have been invited to speak to young peace activists and others in the US. Although their visas were previously denied, they are up for reconsideration at an appointment on August 5thm Sunday, at the US Embassy in Kabul.
Working for peace has never been an easy task. Ali lost his father in the war. In explaining to an Afghan elder his belief that the only way to break the cycle of violence was forgiveness, and declaring his willingness to forgive his father's killer, the elder became furious. He asked, how can a human being ‘support’ his father’s killers? Hakim, Abdulhai's mentor, explained that he doesn’t support them. He wants to forgive them. The furious elder replied: “Then, I wish the Taliban had killed Abdulhai too!"
In another instance a "peace dove" statue and modest peace monument in a public park in Bimyan Province were vandalized.
Yet Abdulhai and Ali and the Peace Volunteers continue their work courageously, inspiring people in Afghanistan and around the world. The Fellowship of Reconciliation recently placed Ali's picture and a message on the Times Square Big Board. Now Abdulhai and Ali have been invited to speak to youth across the U.S. by Caravan for Peace, an event organized by Global Exchange calling for an end to wars.
1976 Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire has already written to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul with this request :
“I urge the consular officials who will review the applications of Ali and Abdulhai to help manifest the potential already developed through Ali’s and Abdulhai’s peacemaking efforts by making it possible for them to communicate with audiences, media, youth groups and good friends, in the United States, for this brief and unrepeatable Peace Caravan in September 2012."
The Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers take the position that US troops should withdraw from Afghanistan immediately, and Afghans be allowed to determine their own future. Please take a moment to urge President Obama and Secretary of State Hikllary Clinton State to grant visas to Abdulhai and Ali of the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers, so that they may speak of their courageous work here in the U.S., as guests of the Caravan for Peace. Also please take a moment to sign their online petition HERE.
Dear President Obama,
This is to urge you to reverse the previous denial of visas for Abdulhai and Ali (both with given names Abdul Ali) of Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers (AYPV.) Abdulhai and Ali have been invited to an ever-expanding set of speaking engagements in the US to discuss on their work with this group of which they are among the original founders. As you may know, AYPV has been doing incredibly courageous work in Afghanistan to build a peaceful future, and it is vital that their voices be heard here in the US. We believe it is our right to hear what they have to say.
In accordance with the goal of strengthening the position of Afghan women, Ali and Abdulhai have been organizing tailoring classes for women, thus imparting a valuable skill which allows them to earn income. They have been working with youth of different ethnic groups in order to build bridges which are vital for the future of Afghanistan.
Truly youth such as Ali and Abdulhai, and their young friends around the globe, represent hope for our world's future. Please grant Ali and Abdulhai their visas to visit the US. Thank you.
Secretary Hillary Clinton 202-647-5291
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The Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers - Changing Hearts in Afghanistan, Peace March
Bringing together different ethnic groups: Abdulhai, a Hazara, washing duvets with Raz, a Pashtoon.
Abdulhai and Ali
Afghan Youth peace Volunteers Youtube Channel (Below, "If you should kill me unawares")
In the middle of fighting in KabulSometimes we may hurt like the Afghan doveWe want to live without warsAfghan Youth Peace Volunteers website Our Journey to Smile The author is co-founder of Jobs for Afghans and producer of the documentary Afghan Peace Plan.