Who We Are
Who we are-
Afghan college students and youth who started this journey in 2008.
International volunteeers who will participate in support of Our Journey to Smile.
To date, we have volunteeers from Singapore, Egypt, Italy and Nepal.
VENUE World Heritage Bamiyan Buddhas
LOCATION Bamiyan Afghanistan DATE 21 September 2009
Our Journey to Smile in 2009 wishes to gather Afghan college students and Afghan youth from every ethnicity, as well as international volunteers from every country, to come together at the World Heritage Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan on International Peace Day, 21st September 2009, to be an example and encouragement to the world that wide-scale humane relations based on a humane love is possible, however in-humane our current global situation may be.
So, we ask every one of you, to join or support Our Journey to Smile, knowing that the cumulative hope and conscience of humanity, once communally expressed on a wide enough scale, would demonstrate a love that inspires Mankind to grow and to be compassionately humane.
In 2009 AD, Afghanistan is in the depth of world conflict and self-interest.
Whatever our fellow humans, Obama or Osama or others, decide, the college students and youth of Afghanistan, together with all of humanity, wish to to encourage ourselves and others to SMILE.
By smiling, we are grieving over Mankind’s proud, in-humane and self-absorbed behavior. We seek to raise the possibility of a humane love by building wide scale humane relationships and thus enjoy the growth of a majority public practice of humanity’s shared hopes.
We hope to put courage and dignity into our lives and our world, to put delight into the hearts of children and all of Mankind, to suggest that whatever our shared condition, a HUMANE LOVE is possible.
While the US, NATO, Taliban and all other players decide what to do with a country that is not theirs and with a world that does not belong only to them, is there ANY ONE PERSON who understands what the common, average citizen of Afghanistan or citizen of the world wishes for?
Some say realistically but sadly, ‘this Journey will NOT happen….’
What they are saying is ,’ Genuine love, humanity and peace belong only to the poets and the fables. Humanity doesn’t have what it takes.’
It’s sad because both Afghans and the world need encouragement.
It’s sad because reality, perhaps life itself, seems keen for us to remain frozen in the timid beliefs that humanity cannot have the HUMANE RELATIONS which the majority of us want, that the small minority of decision-makers must always have their self-interested ways.
We want to address our own cynicism, to try, to face disappointment, to take our small steps, believing that when we embark on Our Journey to Smile, humanity has to grow and will not shrink back to its unsure and undignified days.
Afghan Youth Peace Volunteer’s Journey To Smile Bringing the Reality of the War In Afghanistan to the United States
For the last several years, a group of young Afghani’s in the Bamyan province of Afghanistan have been on “Our Journey To Smile” (http://ourjourneytosmile.com/blog/). This journey to smile is their effort to bring about peaceful nonviolent solutions to conflicts in Afghanistan using the principles taught by Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and others.
These brave young Afghani men (and women) are aided by a humanitarian medical doctor from Singapore, Hakim, who previously worked for a Christian based NGO in Afghanistan, in the universal quest to promote nonviolence in a region that has been racked by almost constant violence since the 1970’s. Douglas Mackey, from the FOR affiliate in the Olympia, WA area has been working with this group for well over one year.
Christian Peace Witness and other organizations have joined the effort to bring a few of the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers to the United States this summer to share their story and their journey for nonviolence. Unfortunately, their request for Visa’s has been denied by the United States government on the basis that the U.S. government feels that they are risks to over stay their visas and not return to Afghanistan.
While attempts are still being made to get them Visa’s, there are still plans being made for a “virtual” tour of the United States for the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers this summer if the Visa’s are not obtained in a timely manner. This virtual tour would consist of Josh Steiber, a young Iraq war veteran who became a Conscientious Objector, and others touring the U.S. and showing powerful films made by the Afghan youth, to various U.S. audiences and linking live to some of the Afghan youth so U.S. citizens attending these events have the opportunity to interact directly with these brave Afghan Youths who are working for non-violence.
Please go to “Our Journey to Smile” site (http://ourjourneytosmile.com/blog/) to learn more about these young Afghani’s and view some of their videos. Also consider doing one or more of the following:
- Contacting your Congress person, Senator, the State Department or White House and ask them to provide Visa’s for these young Afghani’s to come to the United States either this summer (or sometime else in the near future);
- Considering hosting Josh and his traveling partners for an event to talk with the Afghani Youth from Afghanistan (or possibly another country they may visit this summer if the U.S. government continues to deny their VISA request).
- If the tour does not come by to your geographical area, consider hosting a live interaction from your area during a time that the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers will be speaking to another group in this country where Josh Steiber will be. Your group would be able to ask questions and speak to the Afghan Youth and the other U.S. location live.
- Consider helping to pay for this effort. Fellowship of Reconciliation is collecting donations for Christian Peace Witness for this event. Online donations can be made through the FOR website (http://www.forusa.org/) or checks can be mailed to FOR noting that the donation is for helping to fund the visit of the Afghan Youth Peace Fellowship to the United States (either physically or virtually).
Also, please pray for an end to United States military involvement in Afghanistan and for the success of the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers in their journey to smile.