Protests Against Massacre in Afghanistan

Vigil held at UC Berkeley for Afghan victims (ABC)

Oakland Memorial for Afghanistan Killings (Occupy Oakland Media)

Report from the SF Bay Area Chapter of World Can't Wait:

Oakland Monday March 12 2012 An emergency vigil was called tonight in Oakland, CA by Afghans for Peace, joined quickly by Iraq Veterans Against the War, World Can't Wait, and Veterans for Peace.

We gathered at the Obama campaign office, an appropriate place to meet since the commander-in-chief himself has only outraged people even more with his disgusting and imperially arrogant so-called "apology."

(There was another vigil called by Afghan students and their supporters on the UC Berkeley campus, and in 24 hours more than 13 other vigils were announced in the U.S. and Canada.)

Protesting Massacre in Afghanistan

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Many more people joined us: students, Occupiers, many young Afghan-Americans, Code Pink.  At the height of the time we numbered about 100, but another 25-40 people also came and went during the hour we stood in front of Obama's beaming portraits and red-white-and-blue campaign signs.  (We needed someplace to post up our huge blue banner Stop the U.S. Criminal War in Afghanistan NOW! in English, Pashto, and Dari so we taped it to the window,  covering  Obama's big American flag.)  Some passerbys stopped to join in.  Some said they had dropped evening plans to come when they'd heard a KPFA*** radio interview with Afghans for Peace and World Can't Wait an hour before.  Several people had travelled two hours to get to this vigil after being notified by our emails.  There were a lot of TV cameras and reporters.

Two young Afghans for Peace members began the vigil with prayers for the dead and moving words about the weekend incident and the horrors of ten years of this unjust war.  Then, in a growing circle crowded around our single bullhorn and candles, many people took turns speaking:

The military veterans (Iraq and Afghanistan AND Vietnam wars) were especially impassioned; they all emphasized how this one murderous atrocity in Kandahar province is typical of what has been going on throughout this war. They all talked about the systematic indoctrination every soldier goes thru, designed to dehumanize the people and enable the troops to commit horrific crimes against them.  Scott Olsen was the first up of the many vets present and was warmly welcomed.  

World Can't Wait spoke of the responsibility of people living in the U.S. to bring an end to these wars of aggression and the crimes of our government.  A man read off a simple, factual list of those crimes flowing from the Bush years into the Obama presidency.  There were tears of outraged grief from a military family member from Code Pink, who called out to the people of Afghanistan.  A young Revolution Club member talked about all armies being concentrations of the societies they fight for, got love from the crowd when he said "American lives are not more important than the lives of other people," and talked about needing and getting to a whole different kind of world. 

Several people called for stepping up actions and struggles to stop the war, warning that without this the story of this massacre will disappear within days.

Afghan-American students closed the vigil with a prayer circle, with the rest of us standing around them.  Nobody wanted to leave.  So mostly everyone stayed, greeting each other and talking, for nearly an hour afterward.  We are hoping many will also go this Saturday afternoon for a larger rally being organized in the heart of the Little Kabul area of Fremont.

*** The KPFA interview starts about the 34 minute mark here.