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Kathy Kelly is a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence and a co-founder of Voices in the Wilderness, a campaign to end economic sanctions against Iraq. She and her companions helped send over 70 delegations to Iraq, from 1996 to 2003, in open defiance of the economic sanctions. With members of the Iraq Peace Team, a project of Voices, Kelly lived in Iraq during the 2003 U.S. invasion and initial weeks of the U.S. Occupation. From Amman, Jordan, she has written regular reports, this summer, about the plight of Iraqis who have fled the violence in their country. (see www.vcnv.org) Kelly has been involved in numerous nonviolent campaigns to end war, some of which have involved lengthy imprisonment. As a war tax refuser, she has refused all forms of federal income tax since 1981.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, June 16, 2017 Feed the Hungry, Treat the Sick: A Crucial Training
We should, individually and collectively, do all that we can to prohibit U.S. supported Saudi-led coalition onslaughts against Yemeni civilians, encourage a silencing of all the guns, insist on lifting the blockade, and staunchly uphold humanitarian concerns.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, March 16, 2015 The Not So Land of the Free
The United States may be the least self-aware nation on earth, condemning other countries for repressive policies and calling itself the "land of the free" while locking up citizens in staggering numbers often for minor, non-violent offenses, as anti-war activist Kathy Kelly sees while serving time in federal prison.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, January 23, 2015 A Future in Prison
Kathy Kelly is reporting to prison tomorrow. She explains, "In December, 2014, Judge Matt Whitworth sentenced me to three months in federal prison after Georgia Walker and I had attempted to deliver a loaf of bread and a letter to the commander of Whiteman Air Force base, asking him to stop his troops from piloting lethal drone flights over Afghanistan from within the base."
(4 comments) SHARE Friday, November 24, 2017 On the Quality of Mercy
The comfortable nations often authorize the worst atrocities overseas through fear for their own safety, imagining themselves the victims to be protected from crime at all costs. Such attitudes entitle people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen to look in our direction when they ask, "Who are the criminals?"
(9 comments) SHARE Monday, March 9, 2015 Report from prison: Possibility of Escape
U.S. state and federal prison populations have risen, since 1988, from 600,000 to an estimated 1,600,000 in 2012. This trend shows inhumane behavior on the part of lawmakers and myriads of employees who benefit from the so-called "criminal justice" system. But our entire society bears responsibility for what now can aptly be labeled a "prison-industrial complex.
(6 comments) SHARE Friday, March 29, 2019 "Every War Is a War Against Children"
Last year, an analysis issued by Save the Children estimated that 85,000 children under age five have likely died from starvation or disease since the Saudi-led coalition's 2015 escalation of the war in Yemen. More recently, on March 23, 2019, eight children were among 14 Afghan civilians killed by a U.S. airstrike also near Kunduz.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, August 10, 2018 The U.S. Is Complicit in Child Slaughter in Yemen
U.S. companies such as Raytheon, General Dynamics, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin have sold billions of dollars' worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries in the Saudi-Emirati-led coalition which is attacking Yemen. The U.S. military refuels Saudi and Emirati warplanes through midair exercises. And, the United States helps the Saudi coalition warmakers choose their targets.
(4 comments) SHARE Friday, April 3, 2020 "He's Got Eight Numbers, Just Like Everybody Else"
The Kings Bay Plowshares 7 now await sentencing for their action, performed two years ago inside the Kings Bay Trident Submarine base in southern Georgia. They acted in concert with many others who take literally the Scriptural call to "beat swords into plowshares."
SHARE Friday, October 25, 2019 Trident Is the Crime
The U.S. nuclear weapon arsenal creates anguish, fear and futility worldwide. Yet "holy ground" exists as activists work toward abolition of nuclear weapons.
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, December 31, 2017 Remaining Peaceful Was Their Choice: Young Yemenis Sounded Alarms Before the Civil War
Ta'iz was home to a vibrant, creative youth movement during the 2011 Arab Spring uprising. Young men and women organized massive demonstrations to protest the enrichment of entrenched elites as ordinary people struggled to survive. The young people were exposing the roots of one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world today.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, October 28, 2019 Camp Bucca, Abu Ghraib and the Rise of Extremism in Iraq
We can seek to pay reparations for suffering caused through our wars. We can work to abolish war, mourn the deaths of Al-Baghdadi's children and question how conditions inside U.S. military camps, in Iraq, led to the extremism of Al-Baghdadi and his ISIS followers.
SHARE Saturday, June 27, 2020 Battleground States
The world that our global empire is swiftly creating, through our devastating oil wars in the Middle East and our arriving cold wars with Russia and China, is a world without winners.
(6 comments) SHARE Saturday, December 1, 2012 Truth and Trauma in Gaza
The Israeli military claimed it had collapsed the building in hope of assassinating an unspecified visitor to the home; thus, any massive civilian death toll is justifiable by the merest hint of a military target. Qassam rockets killing one Israeli a year are terrorism, but deliberate attacks to collapse buildings on whole families are not.
(1 comments) SHARE Saturday, December 23, 2017 Let Yemenis Live
Observers say if the U.S. stopped its midair refueling of Saudi bomber planes, the war would end shortly thereafter. Yet, the U.S continues these military operations. The UK still supplies the Saudis with surveillance, and both countries work to maintain a comfortable relationship with the Saudi Ministry of Defense and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, October 16, 2019 Death, Misery and Bloodshed in Yemen
In the United States, news commentators discussing the Trump impeachment story liken the breaking developments to "bombshell after bombshell." In Yemen, real and horribly modern bombshells, made in the United States, kill and maim Yemeni civilians, including children, every day.
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, April 5, 2015 Reasons for Despair and Hope
This year, Holy Week -- marking the crucifixion of Jesus -- coincides with the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s murder on April 4, 1968, with some Christians seeing many reasons to despair and a few reasons to hope, as Kathy Kelly explains from her cell in a Kentucky federal prison serving a sentence for anti-war activism.
SHARE Wednesday, June 26, 2019 United States Is in No Position to Lecture Iran
The greatest outlier in terms of possessing nuclear weapons is the United States.
The double standards in foreign policy maintained by the United States-one set for Israel and Saudi Arabia and another for Iran-undermine any progress in ending wars in the Middle East.
SHARE Thursday, March 19, 2020 Stop Tightening the Thumb Screws, A Humanitarian Message
U.S. sanctions against Iran, cruelly strengthened in March of 2018, continue a collective punishment of extremely vulnerable people. Presently, the U.S. "maximum pressure" policy severely undermines Iranian efforts to cope with the ravages of COVID-19, causing hardship and tragedy while contributing to the global spread of the pandemic.
(2 comments) SHARE Sunday, October 15, 2017 Wrongful Rhetoric and Trump's Strategy on Iran
Mordechai Vanunu took extraordinary risks and endured incredible suffering to rescue the human species from the foolhardiness of building and maintaining nuclear arsenals. I wonder if people worldwide can rise to a level of courage and seriousness needed to simply recognize, and then, where possible, act in response to the world's real threats.
(3 comments) SHARE Friday, February 20, 2015 The Front Page Rule
After a week here in FMC Lexington Satellite camp, a federal prison in Kentucky, I started catching up on national and international news...
and thoughts on drones
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, January 31, 2018 A Treacherous Crossing
Potential starvation of their children terrifies people who can't acquire food for their families. Those who can't obtain safe drinking water face nightmarish prospects of dehydration or disease. Persons fleeing bombers, snipers, and armed militias who might arbitrarily detain them shudder in fear as they try to devise escape routes.
SHARE Wednesday, April 15, 2015 The Storm Is Over
government's promises to aid small towns with "prison money" often ring false.
SHARE Monday, July 3, 2017 What Does War Generate?
War profiteers and self-marketing politicians have no interest in helping U.S. people understand that war itself is a tyrant, that the sound of nearby gunfire or a drone attack is as much of an order to flee one's home as any command from a Taliban warlord.
SHARE Friday, September 13, 2019 A Morning in Afghanistan
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.
(2 comments) SHARE Friday, March 2, 2018 Teen Solidarity Against the Merchants of Death
I consider the idea that international teen solidarity could challenge both the U.S. military and the National Rifle Association to end assaults on human life. Reflect on these courageous, clear-eyed Afghan and U.S. youth working in both countries to sow seeds that bear needed fruit, hoping they can change the adults as well.
(3 comments) SHARE Wednesday, September 7, 2016 Old Cold Warriors Cool to New Cold War
To the surprise many, some old Cold Warriors, including Zbigniew Brzezinski, are cooling to the idea of a New Cold War with Russia and China, recognizing that cooperation makes more sense than confrontation, notes Kathy Kelly.
SHARE Tuesday, September 6, 2016 A Good Beginning
It seems that some who have the ears of U.S. elite decision-makers are at least shifting away from wishing to provoke wars with Russia and China.
SHARE Saturday, March 28, 2020 Vigil for Peace in Yemen, a New Norm
Normally, during the public vigils, one or more participants would provide updates on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the ongoing war, and U.S. complicity. As COVID-19 threatens to engulf war-torn Yemen, it is even more critical to raise awareness of how the war debilitates the country.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, October 26, 2012 A Lesson in Hospitality by Cathy Breen
I have just returned to Najaf after spending some days in Karbala visiting a good friend of ours there and getting to know his dear family. In both my going from and my returning to Najaf, I was moved by the sight of pilgrims walking on the side of the road to Karbala.
SHARE Tuesday, May 22, 2018 Scourging Yemen
Earnest, honest and practical steps to stop the war are urgently needed. The Houthis must be given an option to lay down arms without landing in any of the clandestine prisons operated by the UAE in Yemen, reported to be little more than torture camps. Even more urgent, the violence and economic strangulation by foreign invaders must cease.
SHARE Wednesday, November 1, 2017 From the Ground Up...
The Taliban and other armed groups have vowed to continue fighting as long as the U.S. continues to occupy Afghan land, to wage attacks on Afghans and supply weapons to the various fighting factions. The United States maintains nine major bases in Afghanistan and many smaller forward operating bases.
SHARE Saturday, May 30, 2020 Beating Swords to Plowshares
"The question isn't: did the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 have a lawful excuse to do what they did. The question is, what's our excuse not to do more? What will rise us?"
SHARE Friday, March 20, 2015 Crosscurrents
U.S. people were forced to remember the guarantee offered by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights , entered into as a treaty obligation by world nations after WWII, that access to water is an inalienable human right. All over the world, water scarcity is becoming a dire threat to the possibility of, as Prof. Noam Chomsky phrases it, decent human survival.
SHARE Sunday, January 14, 2018 41 Hearts Beating in Guantanamo
January 11, 2018, marked the 16th year that Guantanamo prison has exclusively imprisoned Muslim men, subjecting many of them to torture and arbitrary detention. In 2007, there were 430 prisoners in Guantanamo. Today, 41 men are imprisoned there, including 31 who have endured more than a decade of imprisonment without charge.
SHARE Thursday, August 6, 2020 Reversal
Today, the 75th anniversary of the atomic attack on Hiroshima, should be a day for quiet introspection. On the bridge outside of Boeing, the world's second largest defense contractor, activists held placards urging Boeing to stop making weapons.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, July 2, 2012 The Longest War: Overcoming Lies and Indifference
With eyes wide open, willing to look in the mirror, we must persist with the tasks of education and outreach, looking for nonviolent means to take risks commensurate to the crimes being committed in our name.
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, January 1, 2017 Eternal Hostility: a New Year's Resolution
Dr. King's call for eternal hostility to the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism helps answer questions about what caused Chicago's tragic increase in gun violence and a record breaking year of U.S. global weapons exports.
SHARE Tuesday, June 2, 2020 Our Disaster
The Saudis may want to extricate themselves from the war, but so far they haven't stopped the bludgeoning air strikes or lifted the blockade. The Saudi-led war against Yemen continues.
(3 comments) SHARE Saturday, October 10, 2015 The Obscenity of Our War
Doctors Without Borders has demanded a transparent, independent investigation, assembled by a legitimate international body and without direct involvement by the U.S. or by any other warring party in the Afghan conflict. If such an investigation occurs, and is able to confirm that this was a deliberate, or else a murderously neglectful war crime, how many Americans will ever learn of the verdict?
SHARE Monday, July 10, 2017 "Ain't No Such Thing as A Just War" -- Ben Salmon, WWI resister
Laurie Hasbrook envisions building creative, peaceful connections between Chicago youngsters and their counterparts in Afghanistan, Yemen, Gaza, Iraq, and other lands. Ben Salmon guides our endeavors. We hope to again visit Salmon's gravesite on Armistice Day, November 11
SHARE Sunday, April 11, 2021 Hunting in Yemen
The U.S. is complying with a coalition using starvation and disease to wage war. With 400,000 children's lives in the balance, with a Yemeni child dying once every 75 seconds, what U.S. interests could possibly justify our further hesitation.
SHARE Tuesday, August 7, 2012 Why Afghanistan Can't Wait
Real strength asserts itself - in small work, repeated a thousand fold, by people like the Afghan Peace Volunteers -- in tutoring a crowd of children, in helping a desperate mother win the right to feed her family, in calling on worldwide solidarity behind a U.N.-imposed ceasefire for the U.S. and Taliban - in small actions we invite the world to emulate the torrent that erodes walls.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, June 26, 2018 On Purpose, In Kabul
On average, during Trump's first year in office, the Pentagon dropped 121 bombs per day on Afghanistan. The total number of weapons -- missiles, bombs -- deployed in Afghanistan by manned and remotely piloted aircraft through May this year is estimated at 2,339.
SHARE Tuesday, December 20, 2016 Steer Your Way
Reasoning our way toward steps that can be taken, on behalf of peace and justice, calls for simultaneous efforts to build personal and political ties with supporters of Donald Trump who aren't white supremacists and don't advocate hatred toward other groups. Kathy Kelly tells why she signed the "We Stand for Peace and Justice" statement.
(2 comments) SHARE Sunday, January 13, 2013 Afghan Peace Volunteer: Drones Bury Beautiful Lives
Drones don't bring peace. They kill human beings. Drones bring nothing but bombs. They burn the lives of the people. People can't move around freely. In the nights, people are afraid. Drones don't protect the people of Afghanistan. Instead, drones kill the people of Afghanistan. You hear in the news and reports that every day, families, children and women are killed. Do you call this safety?
SHARE Monday, October 2, 2017 Violence Spreads the Famine, and the Famine Will Spread Violence
Growing inequality, protected by menacing arsenals, paves a path to the graveyard: It is not a "way of life." We still could acquire a great hunger: a transforming hunger to share justice with our planetary neighbors. We could shed familiar privileges and search for communal tools to preserve us from indifferent wealth and voracious imperial power.
(1 comments) SHARE Saturday, December 1, 2018 The Long, Brutal U.S. War on Children in the Middle East
How might we understand what it would mean in the United States for 14 million people in our country to starve? You would have to combine the populations of New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, and imagine these cities empty of all but the painfully and slowly dying, to get a glimpse into the suffering in Yemen, where one of every two persons faces starvation.
(5 comments) SHARE Saturday, June 23, 2018 Hungering for Nuclear Disarmament
This week, five people have gathered for a fast and vigil, near the Naval Base, calling it "Hunger for Nuclear Disarmament." Our small community here longs to preserve all life, to end potential omnicide. Choosing to "go the extra mile," our friends who face trial bring to life the spirit of early abolitionists and the ancient call to choose life that you and your descendants might live.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, October 7, 2014 Challenging Drone Warfare in a U.S. Court
On October 7, 2014, Kathy Kelly and Georgia Walker appeared before Judge Matt Whitworth in Jefferson City, MO, federal court on a charge of criminal trespass to a military facility. The charge was based on their participation, at Whiteman Air Force Base, in a June 1st 2014 rally protesting drone warfare.
SHARE Tuesday, May 11, 2021 Art Against Drones
In many war zones, incredibly brave human rights documentarians risk their lives to record the testimonies of people suffering war-related human rights violations, including drone attacks striking civilians.
SHARE Wednesday, December 5, 2018 Seeing Yemen from Jeju Island
Jeju, a visa-free port, has been an entry point for close to 500 Yemenis who have traveled nearly 5,000 miles in search of safety. Traumatized by consistent bombing, threats of imprisonment and torture, and the horrors of starvation, recent migrants to South Korea, including children, yearn for refuge.
SHARE Sunday, July 1, 2012 Seeking a Visa for Dr. Wee Teck Young, Peace Activist
The actions and choices which have earned peace activist Dr. Wee Teck Young his well-deserved award are probably the same factors that persuaded U.S. consular officials to deny him entry to the United States. The question is whether we can be a voice to affirm that his work has value in the United States, where awareness of the costs of war, and of the lives of ordinary Afghans, is desperately needed.
(2 comments) SHARE Sunday, June 17, 2018 A Mile in Their Shoes
The U.S. continues to seek security through dominance and military might. It's a futile effort. The Helmand to Kabul peace walkers display a better means of securing peace: the path of fellowship with our neighbors on this planet, of living simply so that others might simply live, and of willingness to share, even partially, in the human hardship and precarity others face.
SHARE Tuesday, June 9, 2015 Fear and Learning in Kabul
Essentially, when Voices members go to Kabul, our "work" is to listen to and learn from our hosts and take back their stories of war to the relatively peaceful lands whose actions had brought that war down upon them.
SHARE Friday, October 15, 2021 Abandoning Yemen?
For nearly four years, alleged abuses suffered by Yemenis whose basic rights to food, shelter, safety, health care and education were horribly violated, all while they were bludgeoned by Saudi and U.S. air strikes, drone attacks, and constant warfare since 2014.
(2 comments) SHARE Friday, November 30, 2012 Refusing to Acquiesce in Gaza :Observations after Operation "Pillar of Cloud"
The wounds from operation "Pillar of Cloud" are obvious and the stories we have heard are tragic, but a spirit of resilience and determination is equally visible in the eyes of the families we have visited. Last night, Gazans were in the streets celebrating the UN General Assembly's decision to upgrade Palestine's status to a non-member observer state.
(2 comments) SHARE Sunday, March 10, 2019 Judging U.S. War Crimes
Along with thanking Chelsea Manning, we should be guided by her courageous example.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, November 25, 2020 Like a Rocket in the Garden: The Unending War in Afghanistan
Under President Biden, the United States would likely abide by Trump's recent troop withdrawals, maintaining a troop presence of about 2,000. But Biden has indicated a preference for intensified Special Operations, surveillance and drone attacks. These strategies could cause the Taliban to nullify their agreement, prolonging the war through yet another presidency.
SHARE Friday, February 28, 2014 Women’s Liberation at Barefoot College
A few months ago, the Afghan Peace Volunteers began planning to send a small delegation of young women to India as guests of Barefoot College , a renowned initiative that uses village wisdom, local knowledge and practical skills available in the rural areas to improve villagers' lives.
(5 comments) SHARE Tuesday, May 21, 2013 Tales in a Kabul Restaurant
It's one thing to chronicle sparse details about these U.S. led NATO attacks. It's quite another to sit across from Afghan men as they try, having broken down in tears, to regain sufficient composure to finish telling us their stories. "What can we do," they asked, "when both sides are targeting us?"
SHARE Sunday, January 3, 2016 Visits and Conversations in a Kabul Winter
The path out of war seems to involve creating peace where we can, in earnest community with people whose basic needs aren't met. As the APVs put it, it involves creating a green and equal world, acting conscientiously to abolish war.
SHARE Monday, January 20, 2014 For Whom the Bell Tolls
This month, from Atlanta, GA, the King Center announced its "Choose Nonviolence" campaign, a call on people to incorporate the symbolism of bell-ringing into their Martin Luther King Holiday observance, as a means of showing their commitment to Dr. King's value of nonviolence in resolving terrible issues of inequality, discrimination and poverty here at home. The call was heard in Kabul, Afghanistan.
SHARE Monday, August 24, 2015 Let It Shine
Imagine children lustily singing the above lines which eventually became a civil rights anthem. Their innocence and happy resolve enlightens us. Yes! In the face of wars, refugee crises, weapon proliferation and unaddressed climate change impacts, let us echo the common sense of children. Let goodness shine.
SHARE Sunday, September 2, 2012 Farzana, "2 Million Friends' and a Ceasefire in Afghanistan
"Why do the women of the world believe that guns and bombs which kill can promote women's rights in Afghanistan?"
Part of Farzana's dream for the war to end will be enthusiastically pursued through the "2 Million Friends' campaign for peace, a campaign of Farzana and the Afghan Peace Volunteers to find "2 Million Friends' around the world to organize activities on December 10 calling for a ceasefire in Afghanistan.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, October 31, 2012 Survival and Dignity in an Afghan Winter
In this season of stale appeals to support the supposed lesser of two evils, Kathy Kelly reminds us of the actual cost Afghan women and children and their families are paying for Barack Obama's decision to continue the war in Afghanistan at least till 2014. It's a set of facts that ought to be constantly before us --- how will our votes and our actions after this election impact their struggles for dignity and survival?
SHARE Sunday, July 22, 2012 The Sky as it Falls
I'm privileged to watch young and vulnerable practitioners of peacemaking risk their own safety to advocate for those even less safe. And poverty, which descends from war, which engenders war, equals danger as surely as war does. Now the same organizers will be traveling across the United States as the Caravan for Peace, calling for an end to drug wars and military wars.
SHARE Wednesday, August 19, 2015 Replanting
Beata said that she and her community have tried traditional forms of activism, to no avail, and so now they try their form of activism which involves praying to the spirits. They pray to the spirits for the politicians and they wish the politicians would pray to their ancestral spirits.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, August 21, 2012 Thirsting for Justice
My friends at MECA and the Thirsting for Justice Campaign have invited us all to become more sensitive to the plight of Gazans and Palestinians throughout the West Bank, as they try to believe that we are all part of one another, that we all have the same blood and water running through our veins.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, July 11, 2014 Bowe Bergdahl and the Voice of War
War -- this war and the many others like it -- has changed us. It demands that a young man brutalized in captivity, that over a hundred of his counterparts brutalized daily in Guantanamo, never meet with any compassion from us ever again.
SHARE Monday, June 5, 2006 Learning from the Courage of Ali-- Right Livelihood
Ali, an 11 year old boy was severely injured by accident. While he was climbing a high voltage tower, the power was turned on. Electricity surged through his body, leaving him armless. It seemed a miracle that he survived. He is bright, energetic, and thoroughly engaging. Brian Wilson was similarly maimed, but by intentional US military action on US soil.