Consider the killing of three brothers in the Nemati family, who lived in the Sayyidabad village in Afghanistan's Wardak Province. Ismail, age 25, and Buranullah, age 23, had returned from their studies in Kabul to celebrate the start of Ramadan with their family in August of 2010. With their brother Faridullah, age 17, they went to the family guest room to study for exams. They were joined by their younger brother, Wahidullah, age 13.
An initial US military press release on August 12, 2010, indicated that US forces had captured an important Taliban figure nearby and had taken fire from the Nemati home where they believed Taliban fighters were being hosted as guests. Indeed, two Taliban fighters had stopped at the home two days earlier, asking for food. Fearful of repercussions if they didn't feed them, the family had given them food.
According to a report from McClatchy News, (August 20, 2010), the youngest brother, Wahidullah, said that American soldiers burst through the guest room door around 1:30 AM and started firing. As Buranullah and Faridullah lay bleeding to death, Ismail tried to speak with the soldiers in English. Wahidullah said Ismail was still alive as the assault force led him out of the room, but he wasn't sure whether all three brothers had been hit during the initial shooting.
Photographs, which the family provided and the US military verified, show three distinct bloodstains on the floor where the US forces shot the brothers.
Later, US military forces admitted that they had no evidence that the man they captured, nearby, was actually a Taliban fighter and they weren't able to produce a weapon in the Nemati family compound.
McClatchy News interviewed a friend of Ismail Nemati: "He was not Taliban," Omid Ali, 21, said in broken English about his school friend. "I want to say to President Obama: Afghanistan doesn't have hostility towards foreign forces, but, these mistakes, that is how they will be defeated in Afghanistan." Another student asked why the US would kill innocent people and young people who are the future of the nation.
Who says this must be so?
Who cares that this is so?
I shudder that the raids and bombs
have made us less than human.
I wish to go to our deserted schools
to understand why we are like this.
I used to dream of spaces,
blue skies and gentler people.
I heard mother through her burqa
pleading please "Stop!"
"Stop the money. Stop the killing.
Another local explosion,
more international lies.
Our global problem is that
guns impose greater force
than common sense
or vision, which tells me
that my mother's world is crashing.
"Wars are always futile and counterproductive," says Dr. Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, a professor and peace activist in Minneapolis, Minnesota. "We attack other people and they attack us back and then we pour money into our military, accelerating our financial decline."
We're living in an exciting and hope-charged time as people worldwide are stretching their wings, testing their capacities to confront greed and disparities in political power between haves and have-nots. Many have marched against the Afghan Occupation, against a dictatorship of night raids and shootings, disappearances and checkpoints, a dictatorship - never mind the fraudulently elected local government or how it won its scant power - of the ultimate "have" nation over a nation that has never had less. Protesters' demands are criticized in the press as being vague and all encompassing. But I hope the occupiers of town squares and plazas continue sensing and communicating the vastness of the problem while retaining their inspiring power to change it. Many who are led to protest in the US may understandably want tax reform, better jobs, higher salaries and more lucrative "occupations" for people. But they also have an opportunity to press even more urgently their important questions about how our society can begin seeking work that is truly useful, and how that is tied to the production of goods and services that won't serve military causes and won't be used for war, destruction and bloodshed.
A statement from the Las Vegas Catholic Worker gathering, issued on the tenth anniversary of the US war in Afghanistan, called on US people to convert our war-based economy to one centered on serving the common good, alleviating poverty and protecting the environment. "As we hear the cry of the suffering and the poor of our country and world," the statement says, "we demand that all resources being squandered for weapons and war be instead spent to meet urgent human needs."
"Occupy Together" efforts proliferating across the world may yet help
young friends in Afghanistan find reasons for hope. Innocent youngsters
may not be forced to feel that their world is crashing.