Come Let's Fly a Kite / An Afghan Night / #BLM UK
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Voices for Creative Non Violence UK Newsletter
January 2017

Fly Kites Not Drones 2017

Saturday 18th- Sunday 19th March 

Yes! That time of year has arrived again; time for peace groups, schools, mosques, churches and concerned citizen around the world to dust off your kites and launch them into the sky in an act of resistance to weaponised drones, and solidarity to those living under drones. This global event coincides with Nao Roz, Persian New Year (21st March), a traditional time for kite flying in Afghanistan.

Killer drones have fast become the preferred weapon of choice for politicians who use them daily to conduct assassinations, execution without trial. A drone pilot is thousands of miles away, at the touch of a button and without judge or jury: people are executed. No right to a fair trial, no opportunity for legal defence or a chance to present evidence.

Nearly 90% of people killed in recent drone strikes were not the target.

Read more

Silas Marner in Kabul
by Henrietta Cullinan
(posted in our last e-newsletter but sadly the link was broken, please try again!)

From London to Kabul to Raveloe, we cling to our ‘way of life’ even though it makes us sick, obsessive and lonely. Governments cling to policies that cause harm to ordinary people. In this article, begun while staying in Kabul, Henrietta Cullinan asks what George Elliott’s Silas Marner has to tell us about our own ‘pile of gold’.

Read More


Why Fly Kites Not Drones? 

Blue skies are now a fearful sight for many children who live under
 weaponised drones, as clear bright days are ideal for drones to see people on the ground, from thousands of feet ahead.

Fly Kites 
Not Drones started in Afghanistan with the peace youth group the Afghan Peace
Volunteers, they would say that the children in their villages are 
now too afraid to fly kites because of the threat of being struck by missiles from weaponised drones. 

We heard the story of Aymel who lost his father 8 years ago during a
 ‘signature strike’ – a party of young men were gathered in an apple orchard
 on the edge of their village in Wardak, Afghanistan. It was dusk as a drone was
 spotted by a nearby farmer, flashing red lights in the sky, then without
warning, a missile, an explosion, six beautiful lives destroyed. None of the young men were part of the Taliban, but because of 
their ethnicity, age, gender, clothes and behaviour (their
 ’signature’), they were deemed ‘terrorists’ and an “imminent threat” to 
the security of the United States, a country thousands of miles away.

The proliferation of drones has exceeded rapidly in just the 15 years of
their armed capability. They are now used in Afghanistan, Algeria, Gaza, Iraq,
 Iran, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan and Yemen, while China has now worked out
 how to weaponise a drone and are thought to have sold their CH-3 drone
to various nations including Nigeria. They are the first choice of 
weapon for politicians, reducing the threshold of going to war. UK weaponised 
drones were secretly deployed to Syria months before Cameron won the
 Parliamentary vote to join military action in Syria . The US 
has carried out 424 drone strikes over Pakistan since 2004, killing 
4,000+ (207 were children), without those countries being in a declared armed conflict.

Read more

Make Your Own Kite!
Afghan kite making with Gulamai
And here is our very own Ghulamai (of the Afghan Peace Volunteers) showing you how to make an Afghan kite!
Get Crafty and make your own kite!
Why not organise a kite making session for you and your friends, do it Afghan style and write a wish on your kite, you never know, world peace may well come true...
Here are some easy kite making instructions.

Fly Kites Not Drones Competition

This year we are running a competition for participants of our international ACTION!
The categories are.....
1) Best kite design (please submit a photo)

2) Best kite flying photograph (it's harder than it sounds)

3) Best kite flying video (to be loaded up to youtube)

Please email your entry to:
Prizes are beyond your wildest dreams!

Competition closes 31st March 2017
Fly Kites Not Drones 
Education Pack

This education pack explores human rights in general with a specific 
focus on weaponised drones. Activities include source material gathered
 by peace activists visiting Kabul.

The workshops aim to further cultural
 understanding of Afghanistan, unpack the political positions of
 world leaders, enhance understanding of what it’s like to live under
 drones and provide a firm understanding of human rights.

Download FREE
*workshops can be facilitated by group leaders, suitable for 7-18 year olds
Invite a Voices for Creative Non Violence workshop facilitaor to lead workshops with young people.
We have received kind funding from Trust Greenbelt to run Fly Kites Not Drones workshops with young people, we are happy to travel across the country.

Book your FREE workshop facilitator
An Afghan Night (THIS Wednesday)
LONDON 6.45pm Guiseppe Conlon House
49 Mattison Road, N4 1BG
Stories from Afghanistan, Afghan Poems, Afghan Food and the spirit of Afghan hospitality, presented by Henrietta Cullinan, Ellis Brooks & Maya Evans, all of whom have just been, or will soon be visiting Kabul...
Ellis Brooks (soon to be visiting Kabul) will demonstrate some of the conflict resolution and peer mediation workshops he facilitate with the 100 Kabul street kids currently enrolled at the Borderfree school.
Henrietta Cullinan will talk about her recent trip to Kabul, what the Afghan Peace Volunteers are currently up to, and her eyewitness experience of living as an ordinary Afghan.

Maya Evans (soon to be visiting Kabul) will give an overview on the current political and social situation in Afghanistan.

On 5th August 2016 Black Lives Matter activists and supporters took part in coordinated action across England, blocking the M4 road to Heathrow Airport, Princess Parkway in Manchester, the main tram lines of Nottingham City Centre and the A45 into Birmingham Airport, to draw attention to racial injustice in the UK.

Last Thursday the nine M4 protestors were found guilty of s.137 of the Highways Act - causing a wilful obstruction of the highway for our action. The protest drew significant media attention to deaths in custody in the United Kingdom, migrant deaths off Europe’s coasts and racism faced by black people in Britain every day.

In his verdict District Judge Day said “What was clear from the evidence of all those who chose to give evidence is that they considered the action they took was reasonable compared with the evil to which they were trying to drawn the attention of the media.”

The fact that the media is reporting about Black Lives Matter and racism in our country today shows that protest works. This protest worked. A conversation around the violence of institutional racism has been reignited, but a simple conversation is not enough. Whether through non-violent means or otherwise, the conversation must be made a reality from curb to workplace.

The verdict is disappointing but predictable. We remain undeterred in taking militant action on all issues of injustice faced by poor and black people, which continue to be unaddressed in this country. The black struggle has long used civil disobedience, and militant action, as a tactic, in the US civil rights movement, in anti-colonial struggles or as Black Lives Matter activists - those convicted today or last November in Nottingham.

Alongside an unfurling campaign of local organising and a consciousness of black radical militancy we will continue to use our ability to take non-violent direct action as a means to constantly fight for a better society. 2017 is setting in, and things will be heating up.

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