You are herecontent / No One Hears the Poor

No One Hears the Poor

By Kathy Kelly

Here in Kabul, Voices co-coordinator Buddy Bell and I are guests at the home of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, (APV), where we’ve gotten to know four young boys who are being tutored by the Volunteers in the afternoons, having “retired” from their former work as street vendors in exchange for a chance to enter a public school.  Five afternoons a week, Murtaza, Rahim, Hamid and Sajad wheel their antiquated bicycles into the APV “yard.” They quickly shake the hand of each person present and then wash their feet outside the back door before settling into a classroom to study language, math and art, tutored in each subject by a different Volunteer. They've cycled here from school through heavy traffic, which worries their mothers, but the families cannot afford for the boys to take a public bus. 

Today, their mothers were here to observe the class, quietly sipping tea as they watched the two youngest boys practice writing the Dari alphabet, (Dari is an official Afghan language), while the older boys, age 12 and 13, took turns reading, in Dari, a chapter about the respiratory system from an elementary school science book. The APVs hope to help the mothers learn tailoring, so they can become tailors  in the community  and earn a modest income. 

Later, the boys played volleyball, and when the ball went over the wall as it often does, the three of them switched to a makeshift game of ping-pong using their plastic sandals as paddles, while Rahim climbed to the top of a tree, walked confidently on the ledge of the wall and then jumped about fifteen feet to the ground below to retrieve the volleyball.

The mothers, Fatima, Nuria and Nekbat, are overjoyed to see their children getting an education, and smiled as they expressed their thanks for a few hours of quiet, in their homes each morning, with the young and sometimes mischievous boys away at school.

Nuria, the youngest, is mother of Rahim and Hamid.  She hopes they can escape the tragedy that has befallen her husband who has become addicted to opium. By washing clothes, she earns a small income to support the family. 

Murtaza's mother, Fatima, takes care of Murtaza's father at home - an earlier illness left her husband paralyzed from the waist down. Most of her right hand is scarred from where she scalded it while baking bread in a tandoor oven.

Sajad’s mother, Nekbat, appears to be in her late forties.  Recalling her own years growing up in Kabul during earlier Afghan wars, she spoke about family members being without work.  There was little food and children couldn’t go to school.  Eventually, her parents, displaced by war, would take the family and seek refuge in Iran. Nuria remembers fleeing as a child from one area of Kabul to another, running from killings and attacks waged by Massoud, Gulbuddin and others 

The women still hear stories of people who are fleeing attacks in the Hazarajat area, where Kuchi and Hazara groups are fighting, and they know many people who have recently arrived in Kabul as refugees from areas gripped by war. The fighting has increased in the past few years.  Previously, borders were more porous and people could flee.  Now the borders appear to be closing down. 

The mothers teach their children that war is always wrong, that it brings sorrow, and that the children should find productive work rather than enlist, as so many do on all sides of this conflict, often because they want to help feed their families. 

In Afghanistan, “women have a bad situation,” said Fatima.  “We are illiterate, and we can’t find work that will help us meet expenses." 

They pay one- to two-thousand Afghanis a month for rent.  Their homes are compounds where several families share one kitchen. Bread, potatoes, and tea without sugar constitute their normal daily meals.

Fatima recalls the past winter which was particularly harsh.  They couldn’t afford fuel and had to find other ways to keep warm.  But Nuria adds that all the seasons present constant problems, and it is always difficult for the family to make ends meet. Asked whether they could recall ever getting a day off from work, the women answered in unison, - “No.”

Asked about the notion that the U.S. is protecting Afghan women, Nekbat said that whatever officials claim in this regard, they are bringing no help.  These women have seen no improvement in Afghanistan, and neither, they claim, has anyone they know.  They don’t travel in the circles of those most likely to meet and speak with Western journalists, and poverty and the uncertainties of war seem to dictate their lives more surely than any government. They tell me all foreign money is lost to corruption - no one in their communities sees it going to the people.

Although no government official or journalist ever asks them about the conditions they are facing, they know the West is curious;  the mothers are aware of the drone aircraft - planes without pilots, some of them armed with missiles, with cameras trained on their neighborhoods.

The drone cameras miss a lot.   Nekbat adds that even when people come through to witness firsthand the suffering of common Afghans, she is sure this news never reaches the ears of Karzai and his government.  “They don’t care,” she said. “You may perish from lack of food, and still they don’t care. No one hears the poor.”

One hospital in Kabul, the Emergency Surgical Center for Civilian War Victims, serves people free of charge. Emanuele Nannini, the chief logistician for the hospital, reminded us, the previous day, that the U.S. spends one million dollars, per year, for each soldier it deploys in Afghanistan. “Just let six of them go home,” he said, “and with that six million we could meet our total annual operating budget for the 33 existing clinics and hospitals we have in Afghanistan.  With 60 less soldiers, the money saved could mean running 330 clinics.”

Just before leaving Chicago, while the NATO summit was convening, Amnesty International announced its intention to campaign for NATO to protect the rights of Afghan women and children.  Amnesty International should talk with the Afghan Peace Volunteers and the Emergency hospital network about caring, practically and wisely, for women and children in Afghanistan.

Surrounded by fierce warlords, cunning war profiteers, and foreign armies with menacing arsenals and wild spending habits, it’s hard for the mothers who visited us today to imagine that the situation can ever change.  And yet, before leaving us, they smiled broadly. “For us,” said Nuria, “the possibility of a bright future is over, but at least for our children there is a chance.”

Kathy Kelly ( co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence ( which works closely with the Afghan Peace Volunteers (

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

It should be obvious by now, that all class states have always been failures throughout class history, ignoring its social classes to serve its parasites, oligarchs, and corrupt class officials entrenched inside their class hierarchies.   The whole, false notion of expecting social outcomes, social justice, defined as universal principles, to be embraced by class politicians, i.e. voting for class parties is false to the core and is THE CENTRAL CLASS MYTH, "noble lies" that makes up the whole of class history.  Two milleniums plus ago, social theory had not yet arrived to this conclusion, when Plato of ancient Greece tried to graft social reforms, into the then existing, deformed Historical mechanism, its class mechanism, Patriarchy.  Attempts to re create independent, indivisible social power through partial concepts of democracy and republics, were social failures  to reclaim the Social, Historical mechanism, free from class hierarchies, and uncorrupted social forces which produce universal social outcomes.   Social control of wealth that was linked to universal human rights as a new form of "human nature", which once existed  in the Social Matriarchy. 

Partial social outcomes, social forces, reforms, grafted within a dominating class mechanism, Patriarchy with its class hierarchies, can never be independent, "indivisible with Justice for all", (Pledge of allegiance), instead, produces crippled, corrupt, corrupted, inverted, class outcomes, under the blows of the Orwellian, totalitarian class principle.   Crippled class democracies, class republics, in Plato's time joined the ranks of other class deformed civil societies, alongside with oligarchy, with plutocracy as class forms.  Social reforms within class deformed civil societies were co opted, inverted, corrupted, even dismantled, as FDR's social reforms.   When Plato justified enlightenment, social reforms in the hands of class elites, he had to create a class myth, "noble lies", why this partial social attempt was primarily  in the hands of a class agency, class elites which always betrays, corrupts and finally degenerates through class cycles. Class republics devolved into class tyranny, "tyrants", and totalitarian, class Empires and this historical lesson was lost in the Post (class deformed) Enlightenment, which allowed class hierarchies and Patriarchy to continue to exist going into the industrial revolution.

The social theorist of the Social Enlightenment had actually improved social ideology , to accomplish the reclamation of the Social Historical Mechanism that once existed in the Social Matriarchy and their goal was to create indivisible, independent, universal social principles, by establishing a social agency, the middle classes, middle layers, to carry out two historical functions to end class history itself.    A social, middle class mechanism had to claim social control over the means of production, establishing social labor as social wealth.   At the same time this social agency had to dismantle the class deforming hierarchies linked to the deformed class mechanism, Patriarchy, to make social Patriotism, universal social forces, completely automatic and independent as de facto social outcomes and social forces.  The whole point of the Classical School of revolutionary Liberal economics was to create what Adam Smith, Marx and all other social theorists an end to monopoly, class state and corporate alliances, ending the Feudal Mercantilism, absolutism of the Feudal tyranny.  The goal was to create social markets, social wealth through social labor, which defined both the true meaning of "FREE MARKETS", as social control over the means of production and wealth.   Of course the Enlightenment and its social, revolutionary liberals, COMPROMISED with class forces, which allowed the class hierarchies, Patriarchy to corrupt them and which inverted social ideology, Adam Smith himself,  into class ideologies, class parties, that permanently betray social classes.

Liberalism devolved in the Post (class deformed) Enlightenent into betraying, class parties, betraying the Social Enlightenment in the same way the Social Matriarchy was co opted, inverted, corrupted into the Patriarchal class mechanism.   Napoloeon, a class tyrant for emerging Capitalim began this degeneration.   To hide this generic failure of class history, to hide the failure of all class states degenerating into totalitarianism, today global Fascism, Patriarchy, even earlier,  had to invent its own class myths, religious class myth, to hide the downfall of humanity, particularly women, into class laws, class property, and humanity's enslavement.   Today, our class dogmas, have degenerated into Fascism, and holds true for all class parties around the world, and the Arab Spring movement has been corrupted by the same religious, secular class myths, support for the Muslim brotherhood, just as the class dogmas or the Western secular states , Nato nations, who too embrace class myths to hide their support for  fascist austerity, fascist capitalism and Fascist , totalitarian military alliances.  In 2006 when I first became part of NEWSVINE social network, it was already clear to me that corporations, and the Fascist alliance with Israel, created proto fascist, Amerikan political classes who embraced Fascist Zionism and collectively were marching globally towards Fascism.  Obama, democrats, and all other class parties around the world, routiney  betray, ignore their social majorities.   They use their class laws, selectively, opportunistically, to pretend democracy, humanitarian interventions to support some dictators over others that serves Fascist Zionism, Fascist globalism, Fascist Capitalism.  This selective use of constitutonal laws, international laws, Nuremberg principles, Geneva accords, and U.N. Charter laws is itself evidence that all class instiutions, all branches of government have been co opted, corrupted, inverted into totalitarian outcomes.  Even Amnesty Interational, a human rights organization has recognized the class corruption of the UN Security Council and said it was "UNFIT FOR PURPOSE."   When rogue, class nations like the U.S. and Israel can murder at will, as War criminals, yet human rights organizations fail to prosecute these criminals, it is proof that class society must end:


Turkey Indicts Israel's IDF Officials for Gaza Flotilla Killings

Israeli officials charged with 'inciting to kill monstrously, and by torturing'


"A Turkish court today officially pressed charges against senior Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) officials over the Gaza Flotilla attack that resulted in the killing of nine activists aboard a Turkish ship headed for Gaza in 2010. The Istanbul court unanimously approved an indictment that had been finalized Wednesday by Turkish prosecutors.

Turkish ship Mavi Marmara on May 22, 2010 (Photo: AP) Turkish judges approved a demand for a combined 18,000 year sentence for former IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, along with the former heads of its navy, air force intelligence, and military intelligence, Eliezer Marom, Amos Yadlin, and Avishai Levi. The accused face nine consecutive life terms in prison for "inciting to kill monstrously, and by torturing".

The attack came upon a Turkish activist 'Flotilla' heading from Turkey to bring aid into Gaza, in a bid to break an Israeli blockade. Israeli commandos boarded the largest ship in the flotilla, Mavi Marmara, and subsequently attacked those on board, leaving nine pro-Palestinian activists dead.

The date for the trial has not been announced, but it would be held in the absence of the defendants, as Israel refuses to accept the charges. The IDF officials will not likely face the charges unless they set foot in Turkey...."





Two-Tiered Justice in the Land Known as Freedom and Democracy


"......The parallels are almost comical: Mayors Daley and Emanuel both vowing to have order by any means; the police acting as brutal enforcers" if anybody had a conspiracy to commit crimes, it was and is the police. The politicians involved pose in front of red- white and blue flags at every opportunity they can" talking about freedom and democracy. What they mean is Freedom for NATO to flout the law, democracy for themselves and their cronies. The freedom and democracy is not for the protestors, not for the common man, woman or child. Freedom for war-profiteers to profit from endless, mind-numbing wars and refer to it as a free-market. There is nothing free at all about the tax-dollars spent by NATO....

Law and Order for Chicago, minus any ameliorating justice" Law and Order without justice is Fascism. Chicago has once again proven itself to be merely a place of tense, uneasy order, with no justice or law. Mere police state order is Fascism. Hitler had order in Berlin, as does Rahm Emanuel in Chicago. Order being kept by any means.

Attorney General Eric Holder will not prosecute any Wallstreet insiders for mishandling multi-billions in dollars. Eric Holder will not investigate any type of police-law-breaking. Police brutality, no problem" But anybody protesting against NATO, or Wall Street, or the Banks is "inciting a riot". Those who hold up a cardboard sign at the warmongers are charged with terrorism; their civil rights trampled into the ground. Their freedom and democracy doesn't exist, they get the brunt of the national fascist fist....

America is now a place of order and fascism, a place without law and without justice. By the way, after trials and appeals, the original Chicago Eight were exonerated. The police in 1968 had been so brutal that they violated the Chicago Eight's civil rights. But" this is not 1968 this is 2012. I doubt anybody will be exonerated in 2012" America is now a fascist state, devoid of justice and law. There is the law for the 1%, and the iron fist for the 99%, a new, clever two-tier justice system. The government only enforces law when the government wants to. Laws enforced for the 99% do not apply to the 1% they are above the law. Freedoms enjoyed by the 1% do not apply to the NATO Five or the 99%.

Among the 1%, crimes against humanity "don't count". Torture, murder by drone, dumping millions of pounds of depleted Uranium on Iraq or Afghanistan gets a Hail Mary pass. Obama, Bush, Cheney and Condoleezza Rice can kill hundreds of thousands of people with depleted Uranium and they are not charged with a crime....."


The endless Fascist capitulation by the democratic party to fund the Afghan War is an example of arrogance linking 9/11 to all Western class Empires and its totalitarian, Fascist colonialism.   Most yahoos, rednecks, misinformed Amerikans have no clue about Western treachery, fascist foreign policies throughout the Post World War II Period.   The French Empire of Napoleon and his colonialism is linked to Vietnam and Amerikan Fascism, where the criminal elites of Amerika offerred to defeat the anti colonial revolt against France with TWO NUCLEAR WARHEADS.   France wisely told the fascist Amerikans to go to hell and pulled out only to have the anti colonial revolt reclothed as a war against Communism, conflated falsely with Stalinist totalitarianism.

The British Empire, too was linked to Western class totalitarianism, and its colonialism, the first to try enslavement of Afghans, followed by the Soviet Union, who at least supported secular Western puppet regimes, while the Fascist U.S. supported the RELIGIOUS, PATRIARCHAL, MUJAHADEEN, to defeat Soviet proxy power.   These Western class Empires, including the Soviet, Stalinist version, had failed to understand that Western Enlightenment had already failed, devolved through totalitarian colonialism, and today's Fascist Post colonial approach via NATO thuggery. Eric Margolis does a splendid job in showing how Western colonialism, post-colonial fascist foreign policies have produced counter terrorism, anti colonial struggles, which produced BLOWBACK, and 9/11 to Amerika's fascist foreign policies.   Yes, all Western class empires have produced retaliation to colonial and fascist post colonial outcomes.   9/11 happened in the same way Afghanistan defeated the British, Stalinists, and Amerikan class empires, proving the execution of Osama Bin Laden was but a fleeting victory, when both Iraq and Afghanistan have kicked our sorry fascist arse, and the yahoos, class politicians who were clueless about our long term criminality in foreign policies:

Facing the Writing On the Wall in Kabul


One of my favorite artists was the superb Victorian painter Elizabeth Butler who captured in oil the triumphs and tragedies of the British Empire.

Her haunting painting, “The Retreat from Kabul, ” shows the sole survivor of a British army of 16,500, Dr. William Brydon, struggling out of Afghanistan in January, 1842. All the rest were killed by Afghan tribesmen after a futile attempt to garrison Kabul.

This gripping painting should have hung over the NATO summit meeting last week in Chicago to remind the US and its allies that Afghanistan remains “the graveyard of empires.”

The latest empire to try to conquer Afghanistan has failed, and is now sounding the retreat.

All the hot air in Chicago about “transition,” Afghan self-reliance, and growing security could not conceal the truth that the mighty US and its dragooned western allies have been beaten in Afghanistan by a bunch of mountain warriors from the 12th Century.

The objective of war is to achieve political goals, not kill people. The US goal was to turn Afghanistan into a protectorate providing bases close to Caspian Basin oil, and to block China. After an eleven-year war costing $1 trillion, this effort failed – meaning a military and political defeat.

The US dragged NATO into a war in which it had no business and lacked any popular support. The result: a serious weakening of the NATO alliance, raising questions about whose interests it really serves. The defeat in Afghanistan will undermine US domination of Western Europe.

Claims made in Chicago that the US-installed Afghan regime will stand on its own with $4 billion of aid from the west were pie in the sky. Once US support ends, the Karzai regime is unlikely to survive much longer than did Najibullah’s Afghan Communist regime in Kabul after its Soviet sponsor withdrew in 1989. Or the US-run South Vietnamese regime that fell in 1975...."



Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.


Support This Site


Get free books and gear when you become a supporter.



Speaking Truth to Empire


Families United


Ray McGovern


Julie Varughese


Financial supporters of this site can choose to be listed here.



Ca-Dress Long Prom Dresses Canada
Ca Dress Long Prom Dresses on

Buy Books

Get Gear

The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.