About

My name is Simon Moyle.

From March 17-24, 2011, I will be in Kabul, Afghanistan, as part of an international delegation of peacemakers organised by Voices for Creative Nonviolence. We will be there at the invitation of the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers, an indigenous nonviolence movement inspired by Mohandas Gandhi and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

These stories will be told through my eyes, as a 6th generation Australian who has only ever left that country once (for my honeymoon – to Fiji!) I have been involved in peace activism for a number of years now, and this is a way of continuing to deepen that journey and be in some small way in solidarity with those suffering through a war that is now in its tenth year.

You can also follow me on Twitter, or look me up on Facebook.

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2 responses to “About

  1. Pat G

    Hello to you Simon,
    A very interesting blog you have here. It is always interesting to see how the small NGO projects get on, that generally remain unnoticed. Kabul is certainly a very open environment to accomplish a lot, with just a little. The moderate Tajik and Hazzara population has really opened up to helping their neighbors, and started to accept some of the tenants of giving organizations.

    I have been in Afghanistan almost 7 years now in various roles. Soon, I also will be departing. The overwhelming anti western sentiment the current Afghan administration has adopted, combined with unchecked corruption has myself, and many others with a gutfull. It’s a shame, pockets of Afghanistan really shine with what they have accomplished.

    Most of my time has been spent in the southern areas, generally very high threat, and what others would consider dangerous. When people back home ask me what it’s like to do some medical work in a village, or dealing with locals in general, I always just tell them that you have to look to the farmers. The farmers just want to be left alone, they aren’t interested in a central government, just their village, their crops, and their family. They don’t want to fight.

    I do have to take a bit of exception to some of your comments from one of your postings. You mentioned steroid type physiques, and arrogant postures of the PSC members at the airport. I am a PSC member, and having lost close friends, seen horrible suffering, I believe your negative statements are quite out of line. It’s easy to get caught up in peace and understanding when you are working with a civil population that welcomes you, it is quite another to be actively engaged by insurgents on a regular basis, and to see the results strung out in front of you.
    Just a reminder that I pass along quite often. This country is at war, it has been at war since Ghengis Khan, and Alexander the great, when the westerners leave, there will continue to be war, these are an agressive people. You only have to live amongst them in the outer areas to realize this. Another comment about the military members thick necks with ID’s strung around them…again, is exceptionally negative, and really throws a wrench into what you are trying to accomplish in your blog. Please stick to what you have accomplished, and are seeing being accomplished, not negative comments that degrade those who continually sacrifice for a mission that they have been ordered to do.
    I would like to suggest that perhaps along with your time in Afghanistan, you visit a military recuperation facility in any country that is participating in the war. Please look into the eyes of the soldiers, that have had their bodies torn apart, and are trying to recover to lead some semblance of a normal life. Once you’ve seen that first hand, then please review the comments you have put into your blog.

    We all have our place in the great “Stan”, and we all take away our own focus on what we’ve done, seen, and experienced. I have absolutely seen the worst of the worst….young boys continually raped, ears and noses cut off to send a message to a village, women set fire, continuous, and constant savagery. Again, until you’ve experienced it, seen the terrible end results of these acts, please think twice about your personal beliefs of who is the enemy, and in how you relay this to the rest of the world.

    Regards,
    PG

    • smoyle

      Hey Pat, thanks for engaging with this. I didn’t intend for my descriptions of PSCs to be inherently negative – in fact I was partly decrying the fact that when you guys are killed it’s not on the evening news. I was just describing what I was seeing, and particularly the ways it’s easy to tell the difference between who is who in the airport. With your experience surely that can’t be surprising. The only thing which could have been taken as negative was the descriptor “arrogant swagger,” and I stand by that. There’s a sense of entitlement to do anything and go wherever you like that often comes with being an invading force. I see that in the way some people walk. I’d be interested to hear if you disagree.

      I don’t consider you an enemy in the slightest, but I do disagree that your role there has been helpful. In no way do I doubt you’ve seen horrible things, and abhor those horrible things myself (I don’t think I need to have seen them to be horrified by them). But in a way it’s exactly those horrible things that I want to engage with as part of this blog. The question is not “do we do anything about these horrible things?” but “what do we do about these horrible things?” And I think that what the AYPVs and others are doing is vastly superior to taking up arms.

      After all, you say that these are brutal people – well even if that were true, how are we helping them by brutalising them further?

      I do think that what I do (in trying to end the war) is not just for those in Afghanistan, but also for soldiers and people like you who have to see horrible things and do horrific things you shouldn’t be asked to do. I simply don’t think that anyone is served or helped by perpetuating the cycles of violent retribution, which is clearly what we are caught up in in Afghanistan. You may well disagree with me about that, but there is our starting point.

      I am, however, open to learning from your experiences. I also wonder if you have the opportunity to learn from people like me who have experienced the country without a gun in hand. Generally speaking people who have nothing to fear are more likely to tell the truth.

      Warmly,
      Simon

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