War and Peace
22 Sep 2011
Home » Reports » War and Peace » A Message for Peace in the Middle of War
While the killing of the Head of the High Peace Council on Tuesday certainly sent a strong message that peace will not be easily attained in Afghanistan, Afghan civil society organizations have used the week around World Peace Day celebrated on 21 September to campaign for peace, sending messages that peace has to be attained and that it needs to be attained with due attention to justice.* AAN’s Naheed Esar Malikzay and Sari Kouvo have followed the organization and the events of the one-week civil society campaign for peace.
Since 2009, a coalition of Afghan civil society and media organization has organized advocacy campaigns around the World Peace Day. The facilitator for this year’s Peace for All campaign, Abdul Sami Zhman of Watch on Basic Rights Afghanistan Organization (WBRAO) told us that the aim of the campaign was to send a clear message to the Afghan government and international community that ‘peace cannot be attained without justice’. He emphasized that the past decade has showed all too clearly that trying to make peace in Afghanistan with no attention to justice does not work, and that moving forward the appeasement of a few cannot be done by sacrificing the rights of all. That is, ‘the mistakes of Bonn I should not be repeated in Bonn II.’
This year the coalition decided to organize a week long campaign under the slogan ‘Peace for Justice’. Key messages of the week are ‘implement peace, because God has invited you for peace’, ‘a nation’s happiness and eminence is in peace and justice implementation’, ‘human Rights implementation is the main step for peace’, ‘peace decreases poverty, violence and disability’ and ‘peace is complete with justice’
While some of Wednesday’s activities were cancelled or postponed because of the attack on Tuesday, most of the week’s activities have taken place as planned, including airing the campaign messages in national and local televisions and radios. For example, Saba Television, Killid Radio, Radio Nava and Gorbat Radio have had programs to discuss and celebrate peace. Different public events have also been organized, such as sports competitions, including a women’s basketball competition and essay and drawing competitions for school children. Awarding of the annual peace prize by the Arman Shahr Foundation/Open Asia France to an activist from Afghanistan, Iran or Tajikistan is also included in the campaign.
This year’s peace campaign certainly comes at an almost awkward moment: Not only the killing of the Head of the High Peace Council, but also many of the of the other high profile attacks over the past months suggest that any reconciliation process is at best at its very beginning. However, the campaign with its clear and simple messages (none easy to attain though), and its positive and joyful activities does again show that Afghan civil society and media organizations do have a voice – or many voices – worth listening to. The overall message being one of doubt of the current official strategies to end the conflict, and a reassertion that peace needs justice.
* http://cpdo.blog.af/ See also, http://www.facebook.com/cpd.afg
This article was last updated on 31 Mar 2020