Entry Visa For Afghan Peace Activist Hard To Come By

Dr. Hakim, an Afghan peace activist who was two times denied entry visa by the US embassy in Singapore, has been granted a visa to enter the United States after a wave of protests and email/letter writing campaigns that sent over 7,000 messages to the U.S. embassies in Singapore and Afghanistan, and to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Hakim, who is also known as Wee Teck Young. is a doctor and activist who has been working in the Afghan peace movement for almost a decade, including his work organizing the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers. Hakim had been seeking the visa specifically to speak at the Caravan of Peace (organized by international human rights organization Global Exchange) in August/September of this year.

The visa was originally denied by the U.S. embassy in Singapore for a standard visa-denial reason: Hakim could not prove to the embassy that he would return to his country of origin – as though this were possible to prove, never mind what the Statue of Liberty has to say about it. Even though Hakim had been working for years as a committed activist in Afghanistan’s Bamiyan Province, the embassy didn’t see that involvement as a commitment to return. This is perhaps revealing of the U.S.’ attitude in the ongoing occupation of Afghanistan.

Google searches revealed that the only U.S. publications to bother with this story wereThe Progressive and Common Dreams. A Lexis Nexis search for “Afghanistan” “visa” and “hakim” revealed nothing. A Lexis Nexis search for “Afghanistan” and “visa” revealed nothing.

Hakim was interviewed on Democracy Now on April 19, 2012 about the release in theLos Angeles Times of pictures of U.S. soldiers posing with Afghan corpses. About his name, Hakim said, “…the Afghan friends that I’ve met over the past seven – nine years have given me a name out of affection, and the name Hakim means doctor … as well as an earnest person. And I’ve been trained as a medical physician. It also conveniently fits into my struggle with the Afghan people in just searching for non-military, nonviolent solutions here.”

Why is the U.S. so opposed to peace activists in Afghanistan and the U.S.? RAWA (the Revolutionary Organization of the Women of Afghanistan) claims simply that, “The US government and NATO … were looking to invade and stay in Afghanistan for their own military, economic and strategic aims. …The US [only cares about] their permanent military bases … for threatening and controlling Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan and India.”
The campaign to obtain the visa for Hakim was organized by the groups Roots Action, Global Exchange, and Voices for Creative Non Violence. The Caravan of Peace begins August 12 in San Diego, and culminates in Washington D.C. on September 10.

The U.S. occupation of Afghanistan is currently in its 11th year, the longest of any U.S. war.

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