by Sister Carolyn Law
Peace to Afghanistan!
My little peace group, a chapter of Pax Christi, decided to take a 3 month incubation period to study and reflect. We felt a need to regroup and refocus our efforts in raising consciousness about peace issues. For this we chose to read about Afghanistan in order to go beyond sound bite journalism and try to understand the larger context of the war in Afghanistan.
I find the subject of Afghanistan a difficult subject…a far away land, confusing terms, confusing characters, and confusing reports. We end up with more questions than answers. There are two things so far that I find disturbing. One is the reports of the terrible treatment of women by the Taliban.
Ah, but who are the Taliban? The Talibs are religious students that come out of the ultra-conservative Islamic religious schools called madrassas. When the Taliban came into power, they enforced a variety of rules including those that restrict the freedom of women. These restrictions include not working outside the home, being completely covered by the burqa when in public, never leaving the house without being chaperoned by a male relative. They are not allowed to attend school. Violation of any of these rules may result in a beating or even death.
In Kabul, the capital, 70 percent of the teachers were women. Forty percent of the doctors were women. Half of the university students were women. Afghan women held jobs as lawyers, judges, engineers and nurses.
The other thing that disturbs me is how the Taliban came to power in the early 1990’s. After 10 years of war that destroyed their country and its infrastructure, the war left a power vacuum. Those 10 years of war were in a significant way financed by our country. In fact, the financing and arms flow from our country helped the Taliban get established in the first place. This part of the history is often brushed over. We are complicit in the creation of this tragedy. Does this disturb you?
Continued militarization of our nation’s involvement in Afghanistan is not the answer. Time to find peaceful solutions to conflicts. Otherwise, bigger messes are created. Of course, the “how” leaves us with more questions than answers. I am drawn to prayer this prayer:
Lead us from death to life, from falsehood to truth,
From despair to hope, from fear to trust.
Lead us from hate to love, from war to peace.
Let peace fill our hearts.
Let peace fill our world,
Let peace fill our universe.
World Peace Prayer
Peace be to Afghanistan, to her people, to her women and children.
Written by Sister Jan Kilian, this blog will give an understanding of what it’s like to be Franciscan. Living out the spirit of Saint Francis, we see all God’s creation as brother and sister. We, Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, are committed to building relationships and community, ministering wherever there is greatest need, promoting justice and healing Mother Earth’s wounds. My writings will give a glimpse of the compassion, spirituality, interconnectedness and goodness of living Franciscan.