Kelly, Kathy

Kathy Kelly
6 July 2021Feature

Kathy Kelly reflects on the 1991 Gulf War and its legacy

March 1:

When the US Desert Storm air war against Iraq began, 30 years ago, I was a member of the Gulf Peace Team. We were 73 people from 15 different countries, aged 22 to 76, living in a tent camp close to Iraq’s border with Saudi Arabia, along the road to Mecca.

We aimed to nonviolently interpose ourselves between the warring parties.

Soldiers are called upon to risk their lives for a cause they may…

21 January 2021Blog

The Biden administration must act swiftly to prevent a Trump-administration 'death sentence' for thousands of Yemenis, argues Kathy Kelly

In 1565, Pieter Bruegel the Elder created The Massacre of the Innocents, a provocative masterpiece of religious art. The painting reworks a biblical narrative about King Herod’s order to slaughter all newborn boys in Bethlehem for…

1 April 2019Feature

Chelsea Manning reimprisoned

Photo: Manolo Luna [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]

Chelsea Manning, who bravely exposed atrocities committed by the US military, is again imprisoned in a US jail. On International Women’s Day, 8 March, she was incarcerated in the Alexandria, Virginia, federal detention centre for refusing to testify in front of a secretive grand jury. [In the US system of law, grand juries decide (in secret)…

1 February 2019Feature

Connecting war in West Asia with war preparation in East Asia

Kathy Kelly and 10 other Voices for Creative Nonviolence (VCNV) activists were arrested on 2 January for blocking the entrance to the US mission to the United Nations in New York city. This was part of a two-week ‘Fast for Yemen’ in New York and Washington DC organised by VCNV. A British participant in the liquids-only fast in New York was VCNV UK co-ordinator Maya Evans, a Labour councillor from Hastings, England.Photo: Felton Davis

4 December: Several days ago, I joined an unusual…

3 July 2017Blog

Who carries out the works of mercy in the war-torn country of Afghanistan?

10-year-old Afghan Street Kid Mubasir smiles despite his difficulties.

 At an April, 2017 Symposium on Peace in Nashville, TN, Martha Hennessy spoke about central tenets of Maryhouse, a home of hospitality in New York City, where Martha often lives and works. Every day, the community there tries to abide by the counsels of Dorothy Day, Martha’s grandmother, who co-founded houses of hospitality and a vibrant movement in the 1930s. During her talk, she held up a postcard-sized…

26 October 2015Blog

A young Afghan peace activist sets out his hopes for the future.

24 October 2015

Kabul - Tall, lanky, cheerful and confident, Esmatullah easily engages his young students at the Street Kids School, a project of Kabul’s “Afghan Peace Volunteers,” an anti-war community with a focus on service to the poor. Esmatullah teaches child laborers to read. He feels particularly motivated to teach at the Street Kids School because, as he puts it, “I…

15 April 2015Blog

'Our fear and isolation from each other, aiming to get a step up above our neighbours, our reluctance to live in a shared world, may be worse than the other storms we face.' Long-time US peace activist Kathy Kelly writes from inside prison.

Lightning flashed across Kentucky skies a few nights ago. 'I love storms,' said my roommate, Gypsi, her eyes bright with excitement. Thunder boomed over the Kentucky hills and Atwood Hall, here in Lexington, Kentucky's federal prison. I fell asleep thinking of the gentle, haunting song our gospel choir sings: 'It's over now, It's over now. I think that I can make it. The storm is over now.'

I awoke the next morning feeling confused and bewildered. Why had the guards counted us so many…

31 March 2015Feature

A letter from a US prison

‘That is also us, the possibility of us, if the wonderful accident of our birth had taken place elsewhere: you could be the refugee, I could be the torturer. To face that truth is also our burden. After all, each of us has been the bystander, the reasonable person who just happens not to hear, not to speak, not to see those people, the invisible ones, those who live on the other side of the border.’
Karen Connelly, The Lizard Cage

It was a little…

1 February 2015Feature

Kathy Kelly looks forward to a future world that is less like a prison

US peace activists Frances Crowe (left) and Kathy Kelly, Northampton, Massachusetts, 19 June 2014. photo: Milan Rai

22 January: The US bureau of prisons contacted me today, assigning me a prison number and a new address: for the next 90 days, beginning tomorrow, I’ll live at FMC Lexington, in the satellite prison camp for women, adjacent to Lexington’s federal medical center for men. Very early tomorrow morning, Buddy Bell, Cassandra Dixon, and Paco and Silver, two house guests whom…

5 February 2014Blog

Kathy Kelly reports from Afghanistan.

Two weeks ago in a room in Kabul, Afghanistan, I joined several dozen people, working seamstresses, some college students, socially engaged teenagers and a few visiting internationals like myself, to discuss world hunger. Our emphasis was not exclusively on their own country’s worsening hunger problems.  The Afghan Peace Volunteers (AVP), in whose home we were meeting, draw strength from looking beyond their own very real struggles.

With us was…

6 January 2014Blog

Kathy Kelly reports from Chaman e Babrak in Afghanistan.

Refugees in the Chaman e Babrak camp stand amid the rubble


Kabul: The fire in the Chaman e Babrak camp began in Nadiai’s home shortly after noon. She had rushed her son, who had a severe chest infection, to the hospital. She did not know that a gas bottle, used for warmth, was leaking; when the gas connected with a wood burning stove, flames engulfed the mud hut in which they lived and extended to adjacent homes, swiftly rendering nine extended families homeless…

1 September 2011Feature

Kathy Kelly on courtyard life and courtyard death in Pakistan and Afghanistan

It’s a bit odd to me that with my sense of geographical direction I’m ever regarded as a leader to guide groups in foreign travel. I’m recalling a steaming hot night in Lahore, Pakistan, when Josh Brollier and I, having enjoyed a lengthy dinner with Lahore University students, needed to head back to the guest lodgings graciously provided us by a headmaster of the Garrison School for Boys.

We had boarded a rickshaw, but the driver had soon become terribly lost and with my spotty sense…

13 August 2011Feature

In 1998, Denis Halliday, the then Chief UN relief co-ordinator for Iraq, resigned his post in protest at the impact of continued economic sanctions on the civilian population. Kathy Kelly is a veteran US peace campaigner, currently best known for her role as joint co-ordinator of the sanctions-busting group Voices in the Wilderness (US). In July both visited Britain to speak at the "Re-energise" anti-sanctions conference held in London. Peace News caught up with them for a chat.

PN: Denis, in your 1998 resignation speech at Harvard you made some very unequivocal statements about the impact of sanctions on children in Iraq. Do you feel that these widely reported statements, with their emphasis on children, have constructed the agenda for anti-sanctions campaigners and activists worldwide?

Denis: I think my resignation and departure—endorsed 18 months later by Hans von Sponeck—has certainly opened up the dialogue, and has made it easier for other…

1 July 2011Feature

Kathy Kelly explains why she will be joining this summer's Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

I’m going to be a passenger on the Audacity of Hope, the US boat in this summer’s international flotilla to break the illegal and deadly Israeli siege of Gaza.

Organisers, supporters and passengers aim to nonviolently end the brutal collective punishment imposed on Gazan residents since 2006, when the Israeli government began a stringent air, naval and land blockade of the Gaza Strip, explicitly to punish Gaza’s residents for choosing the Hamas government in a democratic election.…

1 November 2010Feature

The city of Bamiyan, with a population of roughly 60,000, has only one paved street, a wide, two-kilometer road without lanes that is a site of constant activity from 5am to curfew at 10pm, and is referred to as the “bazaar” because it is lined on both sides with shops.

In our short time here, we’ve been struck by how hard people, both in town and in the outlying villages, have to work to make a meagre living. Children clearly work hard, too, seeming to participate fully in the…