It’s no secret that the war in Afghanistan has kept more than a few businesses aloft in these critical financial times but a French human rights activist is attempting a fresh way to break down the cycle of violence in Afghanistan: yoga and meditation.
Amandine Roche’s group, the Amanuddin Foundation, aspires to advance nonviolence by teaching techniques promoting calmness in both mind and body.
“In thirty years of war, we’ve tried everything and nothing has worked,” Roche said, a supporter in the adage that it is better to try to rid the mind of rancorous thoughts than to neutralize a fighter at gunpoint.
Central to her work is the idea that peace cannot be forced from outside, but must come organically from within each human being involved.
Volunteering since Feb. of this year, she looks for financial backers in order to continue giving classes where she give yoga and meditation demonstrations to men, women, children, police officers, soldiers and former Taliban insurgents.
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“It’s a new solution to an old problem. War starts in the minds of men, so peace starts in the minds of men. You cannot bring peace with the means of war, it’s as simple of that,” she states simply.
The most up to date conflict, which began with the U.S.-led overthrow of the Taliban government in 2001, has taken the life of thousands of soldiers and civilians and has cost well over billions of dollars.
According to United Nations figures, 2011 is the cruelest and most brutal year since the war began: all indications that the Western military and diplomatic endeavor just isn’t working.
The young Afghans who have participated in her yoga and meditation classes have been particularly interested. “When I do yoga exercise I forget all of my pains and I feel comfortable,” said Masoda, a 12 year old schoolgirl living at the capital Kabul.
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