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Internally displaced Afghans in Kabul, Photo by Dr Hakim
Voices for Creative Non Violence UK
December 2017 Newsletter

TODAY in the UK we enjoy the first day of snow with parts of Wales and the Midlands covered in a deep white blanket, we at VCNV are reminded of our friends in Afghanistan who celebrate the first day of snow by taking time to visit friends and family. 

The snows in Afghanistan were traditionally a blessing but are now a sight of dread for some. Without snowfall the Spring crops will fail and the current water crisis will worsen (see article below by Dr Hakim), but the freezing conditions are unbearable for the 1.2 million internally displaced living in inadequate conditions, in some cases freezing to death.

As always, we are heartened and inspired by the positive and productive work of our young friends in Kabul, most recently their address via Skype to an International Permaculture Conference in Hyderabad, India, where they explained the ‘push factors’ of war and the importance of permaculture in Afghanistan. We are also proud of the contribution one of our APVs made to a recent UN report on Afghanistan.

The plight of Afghan refugees in Europe continues to depress, the case of a 6 year old girl being killed on the border of Croatia being the most recent example. Although European countries still deem Afghanistan safe to deport, public awareness of the rapidly worsening security is being recognised, and leading to inspiring grassroots actions such as the German pilots who refused to co-operate with the deportation of 222 Afghans. The Afghan Peace Volunteers in Kabul continue to meet and carry on with all their grassroots projects. Later this winter a UK delegation will be departing for Kabul, showing our continued solidarity for their work.  This is the time of year we traditionally appeal for funds which go towards theDuvet Project and the Street Kids School.

With so much disaster, war and suffering in the world we totally understand the ‘donation fatigue’ gripped by many of us, however, these projects do need funding and they are extremely deserving causes with every penny directly being taken over and handed to Afghan peace campaigners.
 Voices for Creative Non-Violence UK
The Co-operative Bank
Sort code: 08 92 99
Account: 65583025
Or via paypal

 Thank you for your continued support.

 Mary, Henrietta, Susan & Maya

PEACE the distant hopeful dream of every Afghan – inspiring words from Zarghuna

Between A Rock & A Hard Place
by Maya Evans

(Speech delivered at an MP’s briefing in Parliament last month)

I have been visiting Afghanistan regularly since 2011, working with a nonviolent Afghan youth peace group, recording my general observations, and creating campaigns to keep the ongoing Afghan war within the awareness of UK citizens.  I have made 9 trips so far.  I’d say Kabul has changed considerably over the last seven years, there’s a lot more construction taking place, new buildings seem to pop up overnight and the city seems to have become increasingly busier, there’s a strong feeling that it’s bursting at the seams. When the US and NATO invaded in October 2001, the population of Kabul was 1.5 million, but today that figure stands at 5 million with so many war-displaced flocking to the city for safety, as it is one of the few locations in Afghanistan with no direct fighting between the military forces, the Taliban and IS. That’s not to say that Kabul is in any way safe, with weekly suicide bomb attacks, sporadic street violence, and a small industry of abductions for ransom being common threats. When I first started visiting it was relatively fine for me to walk the streets even though a foreigner, but today my teenage friends earnestly advise all visitors against walking anywhere, urging the hire of taxis for even 5 minute walks. The biggest danger for a foreigner is kidnap, while the biggest worry for everyone is being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Read more

Heavy piling and digging for a new well, photo by Dr Hakim

An Esculating Afghan ‘Crisis’ of Profit Over Life
by Dr Hakim 
(Writing from Kabul)

“My family’s water well has dried up,” 18-year-old Surkh Gul said.“Ours too,” echoed 13-year-old Inaam.A distressed Surkh Gul lamented, “We have to fetch water from the public well along the main road, but that water is muddy, not fit for drinking. I get bottled water for my two-year-old daughter. At least someone in the family should stay healthy.” Inaam chipped in, “Fortunately, for now, the water that we fetch from a nearby mosque is clean.”A U.S. and Afghan Geological Survey of Kabul Basin’s water resources found that about half of the shallow groundwater supply wells could become dry by 2050 due to declining recharge and stream-flows under projected climate change. 
Read more

Maya Evans briefing MPs on the current situation in Afghanistan, as part of an MP’s briefing organised by Stop the War

From The Ground Up
by Kathy Kelly 
(Writing from Kabul)

On a recent Friday at the Afghan Peace Volunteers‘ (APV) Borderfree Center, here in Kabul, thirty mothers sat cross-legged along the walls of a large meeting room. Masoumah, who co-coordinates the Center’s “Street Kids School” project, had invited the mothers to a parents meeting. Burka-clad women who wore the veil over their faces looked identical to me, but Masoumah called each mother by name, inviting the mothers, one by one, to speak about difficulties they faced. From inside the netted opening of a burka, we heard soft voices and, sometimes, sheer despair. Others who weren’t wearing burkas also spoke gravely. Their eyes expressed pain and misery, and some quietly wept. Often a woman’s voice would break, and she would have to pause before she could continue

“I have debts that I cannot pay,” whispered the first woman

“My children and I are always moving from place to place. I don’t know what will happen.”

“I am afraid we will die in an explosion.”

“My husband is paralyzed and cannot work. We have no money for food, for fuel.”

“My husband is old and sick. We have no medicine.”

“I cannot feed my children.”

“How will we live through the winter?”

“I have pains throughout my whole body.”

“I feel hopeless.”

“I feel depressed, and I am always worried.”

“I feel that I’m losing my mind.”

Read more

Photo: Masoumah invites Afghan mothers to speak about difficulties they face (credit: APVs)

Fly Kites Not Drones 2018
21st March Nao Roz

BIG plans are already aloft for Fly Kites Not Drones WEEK OF ACTION 17th- 25th March, to coincide with the Persian New Year, already  confirmed events taking place in:
RAF Waddington, Abderdeen, Edinburgh, Leicester, Bradford, London and Hastings.

Please help spread the message and organise an event in your area.

Kite making instructions HERE and education pack (free to download) HERE

Despite the declaration that the war with ISIS is “over”, there are no plans to withdrawn UK drones from Iraq & Syria, drones ensure we are now in a perpetual state of war.

Why Fly Kites Not Drones?

Young Afghans, Mexicans & Spanish say: “We are the future family”
Join & listen to conversations during Global Days of Listening, 21st December