Activist to reflect on war at UT eventWritten by Matt Liasse | | email@example.com
International activist and Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Kathy Kelly believes “where you stand determines what you see.”
“If you’re standing next to a mother whose got a look of sheer fear on her face while there are these hideous explosions outside, and she’s coddling her baby … that’s one thing. If you’re standing in front of the lever that is going to release the bomb, that’s another,” Kelly said.
Kelly has been part of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, an organization committed to challenging “U.S. economic and military warfare waged in the Middle East and Southwest Asia,” since it began in 1996. She has made 12 trips to Afghanistan since 2010 (totaling about a year spent in the country) as an invited guest of the Afghan Peace Volunteers.
Kelly will discuss this and more while hosting “Reflections on Warfare in Afghanistan and Gaza: Seeing Through the Smokescreen.” She will speak at the University of Toledo McQuade Law Auditorium, located inside the West Entrance to the University off Secor Road, on Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but freewill donations are welcome.
Kelly hopes to shine a light of the devastations of war.
“I think many times people are more tolerant of the United States’ war or support of other countries making a war because they feel convinced that there’s a humanitarian purpose,” Kelly said. “I think if people in the United States have a better understanding of the consequences of our wars, they would raise more questions.”
Kelly added that many people have started to raise such questions, if not because of understanding because of being exhausted with the amount of wars.
Kelly’s thoughts ran wild while the United States was in a debate on taking military action against Syria in September. Kelly had stepped off a flight from Afghanistan in New York feeling “heavy-hearted” when she heard the news.
“I felt dread,” she said. “I thought, ‘it’s inevitable. The United States is all geared up. The media’s all ready to go. There’s going to be another war and people may not have any understanding about how unlikely it is that surgical strikes would hit exact targets.’ I’ve been in places where these surgical strikes are anything but surgical and precision-oriented and I couldn’t imagine how the hand of war could be restrained.”
Kelly said she felt “completely wrong” when appearing on a talk show in West Virginia where callers were 9-1 against actions in Syria.
“That makes me think the pendulum could be swinging; it seems like it was sort of stuck for a long time on the idea that the best way forward is to use threat and force to solve problems,” she said.
Kelly wants to create awareness for college students.
“I think a lot of university students are unaware that every single week $2 billion is spent on the U.S. military in Afghanistan. It comes out of $10 billion per month or $10 million per hour,” Kelly said.
For more information on Voices for Creative Nonviolence, visit vcnv.org.
Tags: Afghan Peace Volunteers, Afghanistan, Middle East and Southwest Asia, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Kathy Kelly, Syria, University of Toledo McQuade Law Auditorium, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, West Virginia