Tough Minds and Tender Hearts

I spent Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday in Washington, D.C., as part of the Witness Against Torture fast, which campaigns to end all forms of torture and has worked steadily for an end to the indefinite detention of people imprisoned in Guantanamo, Bagram, and other, secret sites where the U.S. has held and tortured prisoners. … Continue reading “Tough Minds and Tender Hearts”

Speaking Truth to Power

There’s a phrase originating with the peace activism of the American Quaker movement: "Speak truth to power." One can hardly speak more directly to power than addressing the presidential administration of the United States. This past October, students at Islamabad’s Islamic International University had a message for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. One student summed … Continue reading “Speaking Truth to Power”

An Open Letter to The Norwegian Nobel Committee

On December 10, you will award the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama, citing "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people." We the undersigned are distressed that President Obama, so close upon his receipt of this honor, has opted to escalate the U.S. war in Afghanistan with the deployment … Continue reading “An Open Letter to The Norwegian Nobel Committee”

Now We See You, Now We Don’t

In early June, 2009, I was in the Shah Mansoor displaced persons camp in Pakistan, listening to one resident detail the carnage which had spurred his and his family’s flight there a mere 15 days earlier.  Their city, Mingora, had come under massive aerial bombardment. He recalled harried efforts to bury corpses found on the … Continue reading “Now We See You, Now We Don’t”

Visitors and Hosts in Pakistan

In Jayne Anne Phillips’ Lark and Termite, the skies over Korea in 1950 are described in this way: "The planes always come … like planets on rotation. A timed bloodletting, with different excuses." The most recent plane to attack the Pakistani village of Khaisor (according to a Waziristan resident who asked me to withhold his … Continue reading “Visitors and Hosts in Pakistan”