You are hereBlogs / KathleenKirwin.LegalRevolution's blog / AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: Peace is not yours to give, Mr. President. But hope is certainly yours to take away.

AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: Peace is not yours to give, Mr. President. But hope is certainly yours to take away.


By KathleenKirwin.... - Posted on 16 March 2011

As I listened to a friend and colleague in Afghanistan a few days ago, the difference I discerned in his voice from previous conversations was visceral. That he unswervingly and joyfully dedicates his every thought, word and deed to advocating for peace in Afghanistan through peaceful means made his tone and tenor all the more heart-wrenching. Our phone connection was not clear, but I thought I heard him say something akin to: I never thought I would hear myself say that the Afghan people need hope now more than they need peace. What I know I did hear him say distinctly, however, was: “The people have nothing to lose now. They are being killed anyway.” That you, Mr. Obama, are now singularly responsible for stealing the hope of the ordinary People of Afghanistan is an abomination. That you continue to steal it in the way that you do, however, is a crime of the deepest shame. I have come to know my friend well enough to know that he does not “hurt” for himself because of the hopelessness and pain you inflict, but rather for each and every individual person who makes up the “ordinary” People of Afghanistan: the infants and small children, the youth a few years older, the elders, the women who care for all, and the men who now find themselves having to protect their families against you. Such is the legacy you have created for yourself.

For his safety, my friend’s name shall remain anonymous, but his sentiments shall not, if I have anything to say about it, Mr. President, which I do. (See, First Amendment to the United States Constitution: Right to Petition government for Redress of Grievances.)

As you may or may not recall, you based your campaign to be the president of this nation on the premise and promise of “hope.” The ironies here abound. The ironies here are sickening. I am not unaware that you inherited a “war” already in progress in Afghanistan on your first day in office. But such inheritance is not a defense to any concern of mine. And nor was it, nor is it, apparently, any concern of yours. You were eager to utilize this war and you championed it. You campaigned to be the supreme military commander of it. You criticized your predecessor for not paying enough attention to it. You committed to send more troops to it even before having the elected authority to do so, and you touted it as the “good war”, in juxtaposition to Iraq, the ostensible “bad war.” More ironies abound. More ironies sicken. You are not a man of peace, as my friend in Afghanistan is, Mr. President, and your award last year would have made Alfred Nobel throw up. That you claim to have been “shaped” by the peaceful non-violence practiced, not just preached, by Gandhi and Dr. King is hypocrisy of the highest order. A man of peace would be wise enough to know that peace cannot be imposed where there are no enemies except for the enemies one creates trying to impose peace. Peace cannot be dictated from afar, it cannot be lectured, it cannot be strategized, it cannot be politicized, it cannot be threatened, it cannot be bought, and it certainly cannot be bombed into existence. Peace is not yours to give to Afghanistan, Mr. Obama, and it never will be, no matter if you stay there until kingdom comes. Peace is a choice and it is a choice you have no standing to make in that place. Peace will come, or not, to Afghanistan and to every Afghan, from within, by and through their own choices, not by the erstwhile beneficence of whether you choose to war there on any given day in their name. Your only possible contribution to peace in Afghanistan can be to get out of the way of the only people capable of creating peace there. Simply get out of the way, for peace can never come...choices can never be made...non-violence can never be “practiced”, Mr. President, while you murder and maim, while you occupy, destroy and desecrate a people whose hope you have stolen.

[Kathleen Kirwin is a trial attorney specializing in high-level civil rights and criminal cases and is currently based in Sarasota, Florida. She also practices international human rights and criminal law and has been an anti-war activist for the past 40 years. Kathleen can be contacted at kdkirwin@gmail.com. Her new website, The Revolutionary Legal Front,is under construction and will be online soon.]

Speaking Events

2016

 

March 24, Boone, NC.

 

March 25, Asheville, NC
Battery Park Apartments, 1 Battle Square, rooftop room, noon - 2 p.m.
Sign up on FB.

 

War Is A Lie: Second Edition
Published April 5, 2016
Tour begins here:

April 11, Washington, DC, 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Busboys and Poets at 5th and K Streets.
Sign up on FB.

 

April 12, Baltimore, MD, 7:30 p.m. at Red Emma's.
Sign up on FB.

 

April 14, Bellingham, WA, 7:00-9:00 p.m. at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship.
Sign up on FB.

 

April 15, Seattle, WA
Town Hall Seattle
1119 Eighth Ave (8th and Seneca) 
Seattle, WA 98101
7:30pm
Sign up on FB.

 

April 16 Portland, OR

 

April 24, Oneonta, NY at Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta.
5:30 discussion with students.
7:00 talk and Q&A with everyone.
Sign up on FB.

 

May 28, San Francisco, CA
11 a.m. to 1 p.m., David Swanson interviewed by Daniel Ellsberg, at San Francisco Main Public Library, 100 Larkin Street.
Sign up on FB.



May 28, Marin County, CA
4 to 6 p.m., David Swanson in conversation with Norman Solomon, at Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera, CA
Sign up on FB.



May 29, Oakland, CA
3 to 4 p.m., David Swanson interviewed by Cindy Sheehan, at Diesel: A Bookstore, 5433 College Avenue at Kales (near Manila), Oakland, CA
Sign up on FB.



May 29, Berkeley, CA
7:30 to 9 p.m., David Swanson and Cindy Sheehan at Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, sponsored by the Social Justice Committee and Cynthia Papermaster, 1606 Bonita Ave. (at Cedar), Berkeley, CA
Sign up on FB.



May 30, Fresno, CA
2 to 4 p.m., David Swanson and Cindy Sheehan at a Peace Fresno event

 


June 11 St. Paul, MN, 6 p.m. at Macalester Plymouth Church Social Hall 1658 Lincoln, St. Paul, MN.
Sign up on FB.

 

June 12 Minneapolis, MN, 9 and 11 a.m. at St. Joan's 4533 3rd Ave So, Minneapolis, MN, plus peace pole dedication at 2 p.m.
Sign up on FB.

 

Other Events Here.

CHOOSE LANGUAGE

Support This Site

Donate.

Get free books and gear when you become a supporter.

 

Sponsors:

Speaking Truth to Empire

***

Families United

***

Ray McGovern

***

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

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.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.