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A Morning in Afghanistan

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/09/11/morning-afghanistan

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A nice reminder from, oh golly, I can’t call Kathy Kelly nice, she’s a tireless champion of peace, visiting the dark side of the mad war, imagining what peace might look like:

A genuine peace process would hold all warring parties accountable for crimes against humanity and would call for an immediate end to U.S. and NATO militarism in Afghanistan. It would urge the United States to humbly acknowledge the recklessness of its invasion and occupation.

But wait, this has the phrase “United States to humbly acknowledge” in it. Is that a misprint?

(I think Kathy Kelly actually reads these comments, so every once in a while I have to confound her scrupulous modesty by declaring my everlasting admiration. I love you, Kathy Kelly!)

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Taliban, Al Qaeda, ISIS, Afghani’s. It’s like border states deciding which side to be on in our Civil War.
How do you know who you are talking with over there?

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Thank you, Kathy, for another inspiring piece in this essay of Morning in Afghanistan. Blessed are the peacemakers.

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It is a beautiful story. Unfortunately the Taliban will not allow it to continue.

One interesting part of this article is in para 15 which describes the Taliban tactics of using civilians as shields for their attacks and then having media blame the US for opening fire on civilians.

Aleph Null,
Thank you for your encouraging words. Flights from Kabul to Chicago, over the past two days, gave me a chance to read the last chapter of Tolstoy’s The Kingdom of God Is Within You. Seems I should reread it and take notes, but it’s good for a perspective on nation states and complicity with murder and torture. You are right to extol every effort to imagine what peace might look like. One of life’s greatest gifts is the chance to align one’s actions with one’s deepest beliefs. How hard, though, for people to learn about this.

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I am so fortunate to have a little bit of that, perhaps. I believe in the healthfulness of the food I prepare for dinner. It’s so much trouble to respect all the ingredients properly, but then it goes down so nicely, and I get to share it with the ones I love, and hope they like it too. Honestly, that’s one of life’s sweetest thrills for me, because my conscience, body, and passion are all aligned.

The Kingdom of God is Within You is one of the most transformative books I’ve ever read. My impression (I’m no authority) is that Tolstoy couldn’t care less about his great novels later in life, when he seems to have identified as a serf, and a purely spiritual seeker, even a mystical leader who embarrassed his family by attracting followers.

You’ve probably already read Tolstoy’s A Letter to a Hindu (1908) – a bit of gestational Satyagraha. His (astonishingly powerful) conclusion:

Yes, in our time all these things must be cleared away in order that mankind may escape from self-inflicted calamities that have reached an extreme intensity. Whether an Indian seeks liberation from subjection to the English, or anyone else struggles with an oppressor either of his own nationality or of another - whether it be a Negro defending himself against the North Americans; or Persians, Russians, or Turks against the Persian, Russian, or Turkish governments, or any man seeking the greatest welfare for himself and for everybody else - they do not need explanations and justifications of old religious superstitions such as have been formulated by your Vivekanandas, Baba Bharatis, and others, or in the Christian world by a number of similar interpreters and exponents of things that nobody needs; nor the innumerable scientific theories about matters not only unnecessary but for the most part harmful. (In the spiritual realm nothing is indifferent: what is not useful is harmful.) What are wanted for the Indian as for the Englishman, the Frenchman, the German, and the Russian, are not Constitutions and Revolutions, nor all sorts of Conferences and Congresses, nor the many ingenious devices for submarine navigation and aerial navigation, nor powerful explosives, nor all sorts of conveniences to add to the enjoyment of the rich, ruling classes; nor new schools and universities with innumerable faculties of science, nor an augmentation of papers and books, nor gramophones and cinematographs, nor those childish and for the most part corrupt stupidities termed art - but one thing only is needful: the knowledge of the simple and clear truth which finds place in every soul that is not stupefied by religious and scientific superstitions -the truth that for our life one law is valid - the law of love, which brings the highest happiness to every individual as well as to all mankind. Free your minds from those overgrown, mountainous imbecilities which hinder your recognition of it, and at once the truth will emerge from amid the pseudo-religious nonsense that has been smothering it: the indubitable, eternal truth inherent in man, which is one and the same in all the great religions of the world. It will in due time emerge and make its way to general recognition, and the nonsense that has obscured it will disappear of itself, and with it will go the evil from which humanity now suffers.