Who is the Enemy?

Everyone wants to be happy and to fulfill their dreams. For many who live in war zones, prisons, and places of poverty, those dreams aren’t likely to come true. While it’s a reality that gives rise to fear and despair, Kathy Kelly offers antidotes of courage and compassionate action in her new book Other Lands Have Dreams.

Kelly has been bringing to life Jesus’ teachings of love and nonviolence for more than 20 years through radical activism, teaching, and writing. Walking in the footsteps of Dorothy Day, David Dellinger, Daniel Berrigan, and Martin Luther King Jr., Kelly has served the poor, comforted the wounded, and led international efforts to noncooperate with systems of violence.

Written mostly in small hotels in Iraq and Jordan and in U.S. prisons, the book chronicles Kelly’s tireless journey of noncooperation with injustice and war. She has been arrested numerous times for nonviolent direct actions, including planting corn on nuclear missile silos in Missouri, protesting draft registration, and opposing U.S. military violence in Central America and Iraq.

Kelly has participated in and helped organize nonviolent direct action teams in Iraq (1991), Bosnia (1992 and 1993), and Haiti (1994), and has been a war tax resister for 23 years. She has been nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize—in 2000 (with Dennis Halliday, U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq), 2001, and 2003 (with Voices in the Wilderness).

Other Lands Have Dreams highlights the motives of punishment and revenge that lie underneath both U.S. military violence abroad and domestic poverty and imprisonment at home. “Military and prison structures don’t train recruits to view ‘the enemy’ or ‘the inmate’ as precious and valuable humans deserving forgiveness, mercy, and respect, even if they have trespassed against us,” Kelly writes.

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Sojourners Magazine June 2006
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