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Kathy Kelly
Kathy Kelly is a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence and a co-founder of Voices in the Wilderness, a campaign to end economic sanctions against Iraq. She and her companions helped send over 70 delegations to Iraq, from 1996 to 2003, in open defiance of the economic sanctions. With members of the Iraq Peace Team, a project of Voices, Kelly lived in Iraq during the 2003 U.S. invasion and initial weeks of the U.S. Occupation. From Amman, Jordan, she has written regular reports, this summer, about the plight of Iraqis who have fled the violence in their country. (see Kelly has been involved in numerous nonviolent campaigns to end war, some of which have involved lengthy imprisonment. As a war tax refuser, she has refused all forms of federal income tax since 1981.

Entries by Kathy Kelly

Let It Shine

(0) Comments | Posted August 27, 2015 | 11:49 PM

"This little light of mine, I'm gonna' let it shine! Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine."

These lines, from a traditional gospel spiritual song, eventually became a civil rights anthem. Our young friends in Afghanistan echo the resolve heard in this song. #Enough! they say, writing the...

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(0) Comments | Posted August 27, 2015 | 11:41 PM

James Lawson addresses rally. Photo: Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal

Speaking on behalf of indigenous people in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, earlier this summer, Pope Francis apologized for the role the Catholic Church played in oppressing Latin America's indigenous people. He called for a worldwide...

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No Warlords Need Apply: A Call for Credible Peacemaking in Afghanistan

(2) Comments | Posted July 30, 2015 | 4:51 PM


This blog was co-authored by Buddy Bell.

A second round of peace talks between Afghan government officials and Taliban representatives, expected to begin before the end of July, 2015, suggests that some parties to the fighting want to declare a cease-fire. But even...

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Pushing Up

(0) Comments | Posted July 20, 2015 | 2:24 PM


July 18, 2015

Last weekend, about 100 U.S. Veterans for Peace gathered in Red Wing, Minnesota, for a statewide annual meeting. In my experience, Veterans for Peace chapters hold "no-nonsense" events. Whether coming together for...

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Before the Dawn

(0) Comments | Posted July 2, 2015 | 8:40 PM

Each year, throughout the Muslim world, believers participate in the month-long Ramadan fast. Here in Kabul, where I'm a guest of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, our household awakens at 2:15 a.m. to prepare a simple meal before the fast begins at about 3:00 a.m. I like the easy companionship we...

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The Storm Is Over

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2015 | 12:43 AM

Photo credit Charles O'Rear

April 11, 2015

Lightning flashed across Kentucky skies a few nights ago. "I love storms," said my roommate, Gypsi, her eyes bright with excitement. Thunder boomed over the Kentucky hills and Atwood Hall, here in Lexington, KY's federal...

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(0) Comments | Posted March 20, 2015 | 7:53 PM

Yang Yoon Mo

March 15, 2015

By the time I leave Kentucky's federal prison center, where I'm an inmate with a three-month sentence, the world's 12th-largest city may be without water. Estimates put the water reserve of Sao Paulo, a city of 20...

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Possibility of Escape

(0) Comments | Posted March 11, 2015 | 11:42 AM

2015-03-10-1425958498-1987749-PossibilityofEscapephotocreditasylumprojectsdotorg.jpg The Federal Medical Center at Lexington. photo credit:
That is also us, the possibility of us, if the wonderful accident of our birth had taken place elsewhere: you could be the refugee, I could be the torturer. To face that truth is...
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The Front Page Rule

(0) Comments | Posted February 20, 2015 | 1:22 PM

February 15, 2015


After a week here in FMC Lexington Satellite camp, a federal prison in Kentucky, I started catching up on national and international news via back issues of USA Today available in the prison library, and an "In Brief" item, on...

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The Shift

(1) Comments | Posted February 17, 2015 | 9:47 AM

February 9, 2015

"We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person oriented society: when machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered." - Martin Luther...

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A Future in Prison

(0) Comments | Posted January 23, 2015 | 10:52 AM

The Bureau of Prisons contacted me today, assigning me a prison number and a new address: for the next 90 days, beginning tomorrow, I'll live at FMC Lexington, in the satellite prison camp for women, adjacent to Lexington's federal medical center for men. Very early tomorrow morning, Buddy Bell, Cassandra...

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Inside the Uniform, Under the Hood, Longing for Change

(0) Comments | Posted January 21, 2015 | 8:22 PM


From January 4 - 12, 2015, Witness Against Torture (WAT) activists assembled in Washington D.C. for an annual time of fasting and public witness to end the United States' use of torture and indefinite detention and to demand the closure, with...

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Drones and Discrimination: Kick the Habit

(2) Comments | Posted December 15, 2014 | 7:14 AM

On December 10, International Human Rights Day, federal Magistrate Matt Whitworth sentenced me to three months in prison for having crossed the line at a military base that wages drone warfare. The punishment for our attempt to speak on behalf of trapped and desperate people, abroad, will be an opportunity...

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Climate Change Challenges: Support the Environment or the U.S. Military

(0) Comments | Posted December 8, 2014 | 1:43 PM

Having lived through the 1991 Desert Storm bombing and the 2003 Shock and Awe bombing in Iraq, I tread carefully when speaking about any danger greater than war that children in our world might face. I won't forget children in Baghdadi hospitals whose bodies I have seen, wounded and maimed,...

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Obama Extends War in Afghanistan

(0) Comments | Posted November 24, 2014 | 1:32 PM

News agencies reported Saturday morning that weeks ago President Obama signed an order, kept secret until now, to authorize continuation of the Afghan war for at least another year. The order authorizes U.S. airstrikes "to support Afghan military operations in the country" and U.S. ground troops to continue...

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Another 58.6 Billion for U.S. Troops in Afghanistan?

(0) Comments | Posted November 6, 2014 | 8:34 AM

Kabul -- Yesterday, in the Afghan Peace Volunteers' (APVs') "Borderfree Center" here in Kabul, I heard someone banging on the front gate and hurried downstairs to open it. As it happened, I was the only one at the Center that morning. Outside the gate stood two women with...

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Stop the Killing

(0) Comments | Posted October 19, 2014 | 8:36 PM

On August 9, 1983, three people dressed as U.S. soldiers saluted their way onto a U.S. military base and climbed a pine tree. The base contained a school training elite Salvadoran and other foreign troops to serve dictatorships back home, with a record of nightmarish brutality following graduation. That night,...

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Lessons Learned in the Bucca Camp

(0) Comments | Posted September 23, 2014 | 9:05 AM

In January of 2004 I visited "Bucca Camp," a U.S.-run POW camp named for a firefighter lost in the 2001 collapse of New York's World Trade Center. Located near the isolated port city of Umm Qasr, in southern Iraq, the network of tent prisons had been constructed by U.S. Coalition...

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A Teacher in Kabul

(0) Comments | Posted August 26, 2014 | 11:29 AM

Here in Kabul, one of my finest friends is Zekerullah, who has gone back to school in the 8th grade although he is an 18-year-old young man who has already had to learn far too many of life's harsh lessons.

Years ago and miles from here, when he was...

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(0) Comments | Posted August 20, 2014 | 5:06 PM

Here in Kabul, Sherri Maurin and I are guests of the Afghan Peace Volunteers' recently formed live-in community for young women. Hollyhocks in the garden reach as high as the second floor of our living space. Rose bushes, morning glories and four-o-clocks have bloomed, and each day we eat tomatoes,...

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