Starving the Taliban – or the Afghan people?

(Photo: Afghan Institute of Learning / Creating Hope International)

“That’s Where the Afghan People Are”

Many years ago, when young educators were taking great chances to change school structures and curricula so that they might be more in sync with the realities of the world and the lives of the young, many educators forsook schools to seek other ways to educate. When I asked one very committed teacher who was very disaffected from “the system” why he continued to teach in public school, his answer was straight forward and telling. He responded, “Because that’s where the kids are.” Revealing what to my mind is the essential factor of commitment to a purpose, care of and concern for the people involved.

Peace educators familiar with the crimes and conditions Medea Benjamin and Ariel Gold outline in the statement posted below will be asking themselves a similar question. In the face of these circumstances, why deal with the Taliban? The answer we are given in the well-articulated argument that follows a previously posted call to pay Afghan teachers and health workers is as clear and authentic as that spoken by that teacher, “Because that’s where the Afghan people are.” Their lives are now – we pray not for too long – under the control of a brutal Taliban. Those of us who care about their survival, about keeping alive the possibilities for a better future for the country, will also be seeking ways to interact with the Taliban that makes survival possible while preventing further abuse, and perhaps finding ways to reduce the human rights violations of which we are so painfully aware.

As before, we urge peace educators to reach out to all relevant decision-makers, urging them to do all in their power to prevent further humanitarian catastrophe, to approach the Taliban in such a way as to persuade them to take steps toward the wellbeing of the Afghan people.  (BAR, 10/19/2021)

Starving the Taliban — or the Afghan people?

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(Reposted from: Responsible Statecraft.  October 18, 2021)

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