We Helped These Eight People Escape Afghanistan

By World BEYOND War, April 24, 2022

Our longtime Advisory Board Member and new Board President Kathy Kelly found a way to help eight people — seven young men and women and one baby — escape a highly perilous future in Afghanistan.

For weeks, after the Taliban took over, Kathy was focused on helping these friends get out, contacting and speaking passionately and persuasively with everyone who might be of assistance. Kathy and her international companions drafted a long letter on World BEYOND War letterhead laying out the case:

“In a country devastated by decades of war, poverty, and corrupt leadership,” they wrote, “a grassroots multi-ethnic group of Afghan youth dared to believe that a ‘green, equal and nonviolent’ society was possible, not just in Afghanistan but throughout a world they envisioned could be free from borders of every kind. These altruistic youngsters, working together in their Center for Nonviolence in the capital city of Kabul, developed remarkable projects to overcome ethnic differences, share resources and promote nonviolence.

“They steadily strengthened a community wherein no one person was in charge. Tasks were shared equally and toy weapons were banned. Local women earned a modest salary as part of a sewing cooperative, and children too poor to attend school were invited to learn for free. They circulated solar panels, solar batteries and rainwater collection barrels, while also learning to create permaculture gardens. They gathered every week for teach-ins focused on understanding and alleviating poverty, nonviolent conflict resolution, averting climate catastrophe and the basics of health care. They welcomed international visitors and held an annual conference that brought together representatives from every province in Afghanistan to celebrate the International Day of Peace through workshops, games, and social events.”

They also originated the idea of wearing sky-blue scarves for one united world, now promoted by World BEYOND War.

“As a consequence of their high profile international connections, inclusion of the persecuted Hazara minority and commitment to gender justice, the group has had to disband with many members fleeing the country to avoid imprisonment, torture and even execution,” Kathy explained near the end of the letter.

Kathy and World BEYOND War recruited organizations to write to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal recommending these young people as being trained in permaculture and ideal to join a community called Terra Sintrópica, represented by Eunice Neves, in the town of Mértola.

After many nervous and fearful days, this rescue was successfully arranged. Below are pictures of the eight Afghans, happily still alive, being welcomed to Portugal and getting to know their new neighbors — in a wonderful community not completely unlike the one they had created in Kabul.

A video of Eunice Neves discussing life in Portugal with their new Afghan friends can be found here. These Afghan peacemakers are still busy developing a world beyond wars and borders.

At World BEYOND War we have major plans for changing governmental policies, but also for aiding individuals where we are able.

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