Afghan Peace Conference 2013

AfghanConfSideRead the write up of the conference

And the press coverage

Afghanistan: What next?

Supporting Peace & Justice 
12th October 2013 
Friends House, Euston 10am

A day organized by Afghan and British peace activists both in the UK and in Afghanistan. We are coming together to learn about and discuss practical methods of supporting non-violent peace in the run up to the uncertainty and greatly awaited 2014 troops withdrawal.

AfghanConfLeafletDari JPEG

This grassroots event will blend cutting edge analysis from Guardian journalist Jonathan Steele who will talk about the facts behind the run up to the war which kicked off the global war on terror; and speaking to ordinary Afghan women and youth currently living in Kabul. Afghans living in Britain will talk about the importance of Afghan unity and support needed from our ever growing UK peace movement.

MORNING 10am-12.30pm 

Jonathan Steele Guardian journalist and author of ‘Ghosts of Afghanistan’ will provide an in depth analysis on the war which kicked off the global “war on terror” which is currently gripping the world

UK delegation with Pandora's Hope- women's seamstresses co-operative

UK delegation with Pandora’s Hope- women’s seamstresses co-operative

Afghan Women speak live on Skype from Kabul A group of 30 women who run a sewing cooperative in Kabul making duvets for refugees and the poor of Kabul. For many of these ordinary Afghan women this is the first job they have ever had and it will certainly be the first time their voices will have been heard outside the home. A ‘never before tried’ linking of UK-based peace campaigners and ordinary Afghan women. Plus a testimony from an Afghan woman who has recently gained asylum in the UK: she will briefly talk about her personal experiences of living in Afghanistan and the issues women face.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfghan Peace Volunteers speak to us via a video message –  a unique opportunity to meet and question members of one of the few non-violent peace groups in Afghanistan who live in a mixed ethnic community and draw inspiration from Gandhi and Martin Luther King- an incredible and historically monumental group in the international peace movement today.

Afghan grassroots activist Sabir Zazai moved to the UK from Afghanistan in 1999. He is an active member of the diaspora Afghan community in Coventry and the Midlands. He is Vice-Chair of the Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre, a local charity set up to support refugee and immigrant issues.

One part of his community work has been to develop skills and help in bringing people from different backgrounds together. His work and experience in community relations is supported by practical experience of issues of diversity,cohesion and managing complex community relations at local levels.

12.30-1.30pm VEGETARIAN CURRY LUNCH 

AFTERNOON WORKSHOPS

 Workshops

1.30-2.30pm and then repeated 2.45-3.45pm

The first three workshops last an hour and are repeated so you can attend two of them during the afternoon.

The Dark Side”: Secret Prisons, Torture & the War on Terror: while most people know about Guantánamo Bay and prisoner torture in Iraq, less is known about Afghanistan’s role as a “processing” centre and stop-off in the CIA’s kidnap and torture “extraordinary rendition” programme. We will look at how we can raise awareness of the situation – past and present – and what we can do to campaign on the cases of individuals caught up in this “spider’s web” of secret prisons and torture, and to get governments like our own to own up to what they know and have done. No prior knowledge is needed, just lots of ideas to share. Led by London Guantanamo Campaign’s Aisha Maniar.

Movement building: bringing together the Afghan diaspora and the UK peace movement to discuss issues involved in  united movement building from both communities.  Stop the War’s Ian Chamberlain (first session) and Lindsey German (second session) with Afghan grassroots activist Sabir Zazai, who will talk about his experience of working with Afghans Britain and share the value of certain approaches that have helped in creating cohesive communities. The session will be facilitated by Aloke Biswas who was a key community organizer in the 1970s Brick Lane Asian civil rights movement.

Women in Afghanistan: one of the main justifications for the 2001 invasion was to liberate Afghan women; what has happened since? How much has foreign occupation improved the position for women in Afghanistan and how can change be supported and brought about? With testimony from an Afghan woman currently living Britain with recent experience of living in Afghanistan, and the issues which everyday women face there. Maya Evans gives an eye witness account from her visits to Kabul and with also present some factual findings. Facilitated by Penny Walker who set up and ran a house of hospitality for female asylum seekers in Coventry.

In depth Workshops Sessions 1.30-3.30pm

Drones: the true cost of war: examining the growing use of drones in remote warfare, looking at what we know about the use of drones in Afghanistan and elsewhere and perhaps more importantly what we don’t know. The workshop will also examine the growing resistance to drone warfare in the US and UK and discuss the way forward. This workshop, led by US drone activist Brian Terrell with Chris Cole and Mary Dobbing of Drone Wars UK.

From London to Kabul: looks at what the Afghan Peace Volunteers do and who they are, also explains the Global Days of Listening and the other ways that the APV connect with the rest of the world, and prepares for the Skype conversation with the APV in the following session. Voices for Creative Non-Violence UK Susan Clarkson and Beth Tichborne both visited and stayed with the APV in Kabul earlier this year, they will also share their experiences and thoughts on supporting grassroots activists in Afghanistan

4pm COMING TOGETHER WITH AFGHANS 

Meet the Afghan Peace Volunteers live from Kabul on Skype, ask them questions about non-violent peace making in Afghanistan, share any thoughts from the day, and send messages of solidarity and support.

The conference will be taking place at Friends Meeting House, see here for details: http://www.friendshouse.co.uk/getting-here

There will be an English to Dari translator at the conference, the organizers would be extremely grateful if you could inform them if you would like translation assistance on the day.

For further details or to book a place please contact: vcnvuk@gmail.com