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Knowing Our

October 7 or
October 8

September 17-23

War and the Environment

Salaam1 and good morning from Boston!

I helped lead the Boston (Massachusetts, USA) workshop on Eliminating Racism in the Environmental Movement.2 

I have been thinking and discharging for a long time about the effects of war on the environment. As a Muslim Pakistani female, it is really hard to feel safe enough to talk publicly about the effects of war and Islamophobia on my daily life, the lives of my people, and the environment we live in. But for the past few years I have made a commitment to not be silent, inside or outside of RC, about war.

At this workshop I shared with the group the connection between the “need for more,” capitalism, and war. I talked about how society wants us to be disconnected from people and the environment and how we need to reclaim our connection in order to move forward in our fight against oppressions. I shared how war has destroyed people and the environment in South, Central, and West Asia. Millions of Muslims (some estimate four or five million) have died, and millions have been displaced and forced to live as refugees. We can’t grow food or drink clean water because of the damage caused by the constant bombings. We will not be able to end climate change if we don’t stop war.

At the end of the workshop, a number of people came to me and said my thinking and perspective had helped them think about the connection between war and the degradation of the environment. Some said that before that day they had never thought there was a connection.

I am proud of all of us for doing this important work together!

Nazish Riaz

Bedford, Massachusetts, USA

Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list for leaders of South, Central, and West Asian-heritage people

(Present Time 184, July 2016)

1 Salaam means “peace” in Arabic and is a common greeting in Arabic-speaking and Muslim countries.
2 See previous article.

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00