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Afghan youth yearn for peace, justice


Ten years ago, shortly after the U.S. war began in Afghanistan, my wife, Claire, traveled to Kabul with the human rights organization Global Exchange. She filed several stories on the impact of the Ameri­can campaign on a nation already weary from years of Soviet occupation, civil war and Taliban rule.

In order to minimize U.S. casualties, the American war was conducted largely from the air, with the ground offensive given over to a collection of warlords lumped together under the more respectable title of “the Northern Alliance.”

Equal rights key to peace in Palestine

As a member of a Catholic Worker Peace Team in Israel and the Israeli-Occupied West Bank, I asked everyone I met, “What will bring lasting peace?”

I asked this question in a Palestinian neighborhood in Jerusalem which is under an Israeli demolition order, in a refugee camp outside Bethlehem, in the Israeli city which has been hit with the largest number of rockets from Gaza, in a Palestinian village where a beloved local was recently killed by Israeli soldiers during a peaceful protest against the seizure of more than half of the community’s farmland, in the Jewish center of Hebron, the West Bank’s most contested city, in Israeli and Palestinian taxis, in the office of an Israeli human rights advocate, in a Palestinian farmhouse adjacent to the West Bank’s largest Jewish settlement, and in Bethlehem University.

I listened to soldiers, professors, doctors, farmers, border guards, children, parents, and grandparents. I expected wide disagreement. I found a remarkable consensus instead. In broad terms, everyone I interviewed agreed with Pope Paul VI’s advice, “If you want peace, work for justice.”

Catholic Work Peace team joins a protest

Bil'in, Israeli Occupied West Bank
The Catholic Worker Peace team joined the villagers of Bil'in, a village in the Israeli Occupied West Bank, at their weekly demonstration against the barrier wall (an electrified fence, barbed wire, and a military road), which deprives their community of 60 percent of its agricultural land.

At about 1 PM, demonstrators began to descend the hill road toward the barrier with many Palestinians as well as with international supporters from Germany, France, Spain, Canada, the United States, New Zealand, and Israel.