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Learn Your Lessons Well: An Afghan Teenager Makes Up His Mind


Learn Your Lessons Well: An Afghan Teenager Makes Up His Mind

Kathy Kelly

Tall, lanky, cheerful and confident, Esmatullah easily engages his young students at the Street Kids School, a project of Kabul’s “Afghan Peace Volunteers,” an antiwar community with a focus on service to the poor. Esmatullah teaches child laborers to read. He feels particularly motivated to teach at the Street Kids School because, as he puts it, “I was once one of these children.” Esmatullah began working to support his family when he was 9 years old.


"'I want to be someone who, in the future, bans wars.' It will take a lot of 'someones' to ban war, ones like Esmatullah who become schooled in ways to live communally with the neediest of people, building societies whose actions won’t evoke desires for revenge."

Schooling for the 21st century, that's what this is. Education for a better world. Not filled with techno tricks, not perfected by corporate ed think tanks and gurus, not designed by "experts" at all, and measured most critically by whether the children themselves begin to see their own full worth and power, not how they might fit into any status quo. Esmatullah, a giant for justice and peace. Kathy Kelly, doing the real work for stability in Afghanistan.


Not much one can say, except I love this lady. Kathy Kelly is a real peace angel.


Kathy Kelly is the genuine article. She is a true champion and advocate of peace unlike so many that hide under its banner as they justify war when whom they call the " good guys" are killing "bad guys".

You will find many articles on common dreams that have the illusion of advocating peace but scratch beneath the surface and those that write them are more opposed to how a given war waged rather than it being waged at all and basing their anti-war credentials on it not being in the " best interests" of their own country to wage a war. (Implying that war is OK when it is)

I have never seen such a slant in an article by Ms Kelly. She is against these wars because people are killed in them and in particular people who want nothing to do with war and killing.


It is young people like this young man who need the support of the Nobel "Peace" Prize, not the Obama's and the Kissingers and the Nixons of this world (and their equivalents in other countries), none of whom contribute anything useful to society.


Thank you, Kathy, for this fine feature on Afghan teen, Esmatullah; this is most heartening.


Conservative's answer:
Ban War! (or we will bomb you!)

Looking at a picture of a magnificent grizzly on my Yellowstone tee shirt, I thought about how these strongest and most beautiful of their species came to be at the top by fighting tooth and claw for territory, food and mates and winning. I guess it was mano a mano like this for humans before Big Money and all the bombs, jets, mercenaries and other tools it could buy to maintain people like Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump at the top of the food chain without their leaving their massage chairs.

I suppose that natural selection could continue to hold sway in sports instead of war, That way some of us can enjoy watching violence and intelligence contests, but no one gets hurt. And the girls can pick the best male specimen and vis. War doesn't discriminate between the fit and the not so fit anyway. That's how Nicholas Callenbach had it in his "Ecotopia" and I agree.


Before big money and the bombs, or long before those, really, and for most of human history, in the paleolithic and neolithic and up to just about three or so thousand years ago, humans mostly lived in egalitarian societies, male-female-wise as well as in terms of remarkably small class stratification. In Marija Gimbutas' The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe, for example, she documents societies of quite large populations in which there is very little indication of major armed conflicts, a life-sustaining, neither female-nor-male-dominant cultural focus (although with an emphasis on reverence for the life-giving power found in the feminine body), and a remarkably small gap between the wealthiest and least wealthy members of the society. So there's nothing inherently "dog-eat-dog" about humanity (and dogs don't quite work just in that way, either). Rather, humans may be more naturally inclined to sharing and caring than not, but have the capacity to develop both towards extraordinary compassion and wisdom as well as extraordinary cruelty and destructiveness. Culture, parenting, and all social conditioning, constantly developing throughout the ages, plays the predominant role in pushing people in one direction or another (with often contradictory strands at the same time in the same population, such as the pro-war and anti-war strands evident today in what is now at least partly a worldwide human culture).