Vigil for massacre victims

March 14, 2012

NEW YORK--Some 75 antiwar activists joined together in a candlelight vigil for the Afghan civilians murdered in cold blood by a U.S. soldier on March 11.

According to reports, a single U.S. gunman went from home to home in a peaceful Afghanistan village, killing women and children and setting homes on fire. The total body count so far is 16 for this massacre.

Iraq Veterans Against the War, the Pakistan Solidarity Network, South Asia Solidarity Initiative and the War Resisters League initiated the vigil. "This is a key moment to talk about what the U.S. occupation inevitably leads to, which is this kind of violence and massacre," said War Resisters League national field organizer Ali Issa.

Kimber Heinz of the War Resisters League said:

These types of incidents aren't the results of some random soldier you know as a bad seed stirring up a bunch of trouble, but is something that is part of the military occupation of the U.S. in Afghanistan.

It's part of the indoctrination process that soldiers go through when they go through military training, you dehumanize Afghans...We need right now all bombs and soldiers out, so that's step one, and you can't actually have any negotiation when there are currently occupation forces on the ground, bombs being present, and drone surveillance in the air over Afghanistan and Pakistan.

As Ali Issa concluded, "Beyond the military occupation, there's the question of permanent U.S. bases, so a long-term presence that will continue to provoke an angry response and impede on Afghan sovereignty, so it's important to note that any possible effort to maintain U.S. bases should be opposed."

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