Nazir Ahmad Yosufi: War Is a Darkness

By Marc Eliot Stein, World BEYOND War, May 31, 2023

Educator and peacebuilder Nazir Ahmad Yosufi was born in 1985 in Afghanistan, and has persisted through decades of Soviet war, civil war and US war to devote his life to helping people see a better way. Along with his academic work, he’s a marathon runner and environmentalist, and runs World BEYOND War’s Afghanistan chapter from Hamburg, Germany. He’s the special guest for episode 48 of the World BEYOND War podcast.

This interview finds two pacifists with vastly different backgrounds speaking across an ocean and a continental land mass while trying to break through the debris of information left behind by past and current generations of institutional violence and war propaganda. The distance quickly vanished as we began to discuss the legacies of war that define Afghanistan’s relationship with the world and realized that we both saw the same existential dilemma at the core of the planet’s never-ending disaster: war, ethnic hatred and military profiteering have become habits and self-perpetuating ways of life in the societies both of us live in. When war, fear and societal hatred provide the only way of life that people can imagine, this lack of imagination becomes a death sentence for the human race.

In this wide-ranging interview we found ourselves talking a lot of history: the causes of past civil wars in both Afghanistan and USA, the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union which ended the war Nazir had been born into, our separate experiences of September 11, 2001 and of everything that followed, and even about the historic destruction by aerial firebombing of nearly the entire city of Hamburg, Germany, where Nazir was speaking from.

We also talked about the poetry of Maulana Jalaluddin Balkhi (Rumi), Allama Iqbal Lahori and Saadi Shirazi and the philosophies of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and Jiddu Krishnamurti and Carl Jung, and touched briefly on another urgent topic: environmental activism, which had been Nazir’s original entry point into progressive politics. Thanks to my guest for a really bracing and often surprising conversation,. Musical excerpt: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan based on Rumi.

Nazir Ahmad Yosufi, World BEYOND War's Afghanistan chapter leader

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