Rethinking Afghanistan and Iran


Dear Friends,

The Defenders will be co-sponsoring an event this evening with the Richmond Peace Education Center.  It’s a Teach-In, Richmond’s contribution to the Oct. 17 national day of actions against wars and sanctions.  This event consists of a film screening and presentations by local activists and individuals concerned about the militarized path the U.S. remains bent on pursuing as a solution to the results of misdirected foreign policy programs.  One hour will be provided for public discussion.

We were recently contacted by NHK-TV/JapanTV to let us know they were coming to Richmond to cover this event LIVE.  Needless to say this is a unique opportunity to have our local efforts to end and prevent wars and sanctions aired to millions of viewers in Japan and all over the world.  Coming from within the “empire” our anti-war voices matter.  The impact of these wars is felt very deeply at home even as we watch in horror the devastation caused abroad.

Please plan to attend and please spread the word.  You come and bring two friends.  Get them to bring two friends.  Bring an organization!  Bring a neighborhood!  Bring a family and let their voices be heard.

Details are on the home page of and below:

Oct. 17 Teach-In “Rethinking Afghanistan & Iran”

What: Teach-In: Rethinking Afghanistan & Iran
When: Saturday, Oct. 17, 7 pm
Where: Asbury Church Hill United Methodist Church, 324 N 29th St, Richmond, Virginia 23223

Free and open to the public

On Saturday, Oct. 17, the Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality and the Richmond Peace Education Center will co-sponsor a teach-in titled “Rethinking Afghanistan and Iran.”  It’s been eight years since the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, making this the longest U.S. military engagement since Vietnam.  Many thousands of lives have been lost, including nearly 900 GIs.  According to the Center for Defense Information, the estimated cost of this war will reach $439.8 billion by the end of this fiscal year.  And the Obama administration is now weighing whether to commit tens of thousands more troops.  Co-Chairs: Adria Scharf, executive director of the Richmond Peace Education Center and Ana Edwards, chair of the Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project/Defenders for Freedom Justice & Equality.

Larry Syverson

  • A member of Military Families Speak Out whose son Branden is serving in Afghanistan and stationed at an outpost in Taliban territory.  Last week, Syverson organized a protest in downtown Richmond to mark the eighth anniversary of the Afghanistan war, saying: “We need to end these wars and bring ALL our troops home NOW.”  Syverson will discuss his experience as the parent of a soldier serving in Afghanistan and discuss his opposition to the war.

King Salim Khalfani

  • How do wars at home and abroad affect the Black community?  Virginia State Conference NAACP Executive Director, King Salim Khalfani, discusses the impacts of US military policies on people’s lives.

“Rethink Afghanistan”

  • Has the US war in Afghanistan brought stability to Afghanistan or security to the U.S.?  Are the Afghan people better off today than they were eight years ago?  Or are we merely laying the groundwork for a longer and wider war, a war without end?  These are some of the questions raised by the new documentary film Rethink Afghanistan, directed by Robert Greenwald, the man behind Outfoxed, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, and Iraq for Sale. (For more information, see

“Rethinking Iran”

  • What’s the real story behind the headlines?  Is Iran trying to develop a nuclear bomb?  Does it want to destroy Israel or any other state?  And what can U.S. peace activists do to prevent yet another war?  These are some of the questions that will be addressed by Phil Wilayto, one of the few U.S. anti-war activists to have actually traveled in Iran.  Phil is editor of The Virginia Defender newspaper and author of In Defense of Iran: Notes from a U.S. Peace Delegation’s Journey through the Islamic Republic.  Along with peace activists Cindy Sheehan and Kathy Kelly, he was a speaker at the Conference to End Sanctions sponsored by the National Association of Muslim American Women and held Sept. 29 at Trinity University in Washington, D.C.

RPEC at 804-232-1002 and
Defenders at 804-644-5834 and

Please do you best to join us for this important forum and discussion.  It will be most appreciated.

Ana Edwards and Phil Wilayto
for the Defenders

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