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Kathy Kelly Inspires at Simmons

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Kathy Kelly, a Catholic peace activist and founder of Voices of Creative Non­violence, spoke at several events in the Boston area Nov. 13-15. I attended her talk at Simmons College on Monday afternoon, where she was introduced by Prof. Becky Thompson. It drew about 60 people, more than half of whom where students.

Kelly had just returned from Afghanistan.   Speaking of the recent Time magazine cover that showed a young Afghan woman whose nose had been cut off by her traditionalist father, she recalled the question which she was asked by a group of Bamiyan University students: "Do Americans care more about noses or fingers?"  The reference was to the Stryker Brigade soldiers who are charged with murdering Afghan civilians and cutting off their fingers as a trophy.

Don't pay for war, Kelly urged. Get off the train. Slow down. Ask what are our real interests.  

Bring together hunger and anger, she said: hunger for justice and a human way of life, and anger at the war on the poor which destroys so many lives both in the US and abroad.

Kelly spoke of her childhood, her life, her love.  She did not just speak.  She moved around the room.  She was down on her hands and knees re-enacting some of the many times she has been arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience, on one occasion for planting corn on an ICBM silo, and most recently in the US Senate office building. She sang, beautifully, "Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye".

Everyone was moved and inspired.  She had the group join hands and shout at the end of the meeting.  "I think my life might have been changed today", one young woman said to the group.  No one was surprised.

See more photos and listen to audio of the talk and the Q&A. (Thanks to Martin Voelker for both)