With this weekend marking the ten years since the war in Iraq started, this terrible reminder of the ongoing tragedy in Afghanistan saddened me today. Two young Afghan boys were killed by NATO troops in a helicopter as the children walked behind their donkeys, gathering firewood. According to reports, Australia has accepted responsibility for accidentally killing the children and is planning to pay their families compensation. What price do you pay for the lives of two pre-teen children?

There is no answer to that question. Their lives are priceless. Each human life is precious and as we gather this weekend at an Eyes Wide Open display in Palo Alto, we’ll carry the grief of countless innocent lives lost in this ongoing war.

One thing that gives us great hope is the response by Afghan Peace Volunteers, children, youth, and adults who have come together to say NO to violence and yes to peace.

Having been in Afghanistan back in 2002 and heard the overwhelming cry from young and old alike that they were tired of bloodshed, tired of war, and ready for a new chapter in Afghanistan’s history, it breaks my heart to see stories like this but I am heartened by the response from people like the ones you’ll see in this video. They have been working for years now to end the violence, demand peace, and let the world know that there are alternatives to war.

We will be filling Palo Alto City Hall with boots representing California soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and civilian shoes representing Afghan and Iraqi civilians killed in the last 11 years. May our tears, prayers, and protests help bring an end to violence around the world. As the Afghan children and youth in this video so rightly proclaim, it is time to stop the killing.

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