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Maya Evans at the talk

Maya Evans at the talk

Maya Evans: Epic trek for peace

Hollington Councillor Maya Evans gave a first-hand account of taking part in an epic trek for peace at a meeting on 2 October organised by Hastings Against War. She joined a march that had begun on the Japanese island of Okinawa and would end in Hiroshima Peace Park on the 73rd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima by the US air force, an attack that would leave tens of thousands dead and devastate the city. HAW’s John Enefer reports.

Maya spoke of the ongoing US military presence in Okinawa, a legacy of the American conquest of the island during the Second World War. She said there is a total of 33 US bases on the island and the Americans treat the place as their private training ground. The planned relocation of one base to Henoko Bay on the east of the island is controversial. The bay is environmentally important, being rich in coral and a feeding ground for endangered marine mammals. The relocation would entail the dumping of large amounts of soil in the bay to create a land-fill site. Recently about 70,000 Okinawans protested against the relocation of the base to the coral bay.

Hiroshima Peace Park, Hiroshima Day 2018

At the talk, Maya spoke of another march, which happened in Afghanistan, at the same time as her trek in Japan. A small group of Afghans in Helmand province exhausted by the war in their country, which has now lasted for 17 years, began a long march to Kabul, their numbers swelling on the way to the Afghan capital. They called for a long-term ceasefire between the warring parties in their country and the withdrawal of foreign troops. NATO has a reported 16,000 troops in the country, about half of them from the US. The British total is set to rise to 1100. Officially their role is classed as a ‘supportive’ one.

One of the Afghan marchers, Abdullah Malik Hamdard, said: ‘Everybody thinks they will be killed soon. The situation for those alive is miserable.  If you don’t die in the war, the poverty caused by the war may kill you, which is why I think the only option left for me is to join the peace convoy.’ Maya drew a link between the protests that have occurred in Okinawa and the Peace march in Afghanistan, as people in both places seek an end to the US military presence in their lives.

Members of audience, with ‘borderfree’ blue scarves made by the Afghan Peace Volunteers

Maya has travelled to Afghanistan numerous times, staying with the Afghan Peace Volunteers, a group that promotes a culture of peace in their country and provides economic opportunities for people who might otherwise be impoverished. She encourages people to support their work by donating via the peace group she works for – Voices For Creative Non-Violence UK (vcnv.org.uk).

Cheques supporting the work of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, made payable to Voices For Creative Non-violence UK, can be sent to VCNVUK, c/o 19 Magdalen Road, St Leonards, TN37 6EP.

After her talk, Maya urged people concerned by the issues she raised to ‘make a difference from the grassroots, get active in your community’.

The talk was organised by Hastings Against War. The group was formed in 2003 and meets in the Quaker Meeting House, South Terrace, on the first Tuesday of every month, starting at 7pm.

Kabul Women’s Duvet Co-operative

 

Posted 17:19 Sunday, Oct 7, 2018 In: Politics


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