Sitting in my Inbox right now is an e-mail from a woman who works with the Somerville/Medford branch of United for Justice with Peace (UJP), an organization officially dedicated to “peace and justice” in the world.
I’m all for peace and justice and I wanted to know more about the war in Afghanistan, so last week I attended a UJP showing of “Rethinking Afghanistan” held at the Somerville library.
I came into the smallish room, sat down, chatted a bit with some people sitting near me and the film began. “Rethinking Afghanistan” outlined some of the things taking place in the US war in Afghanistan. Bloody, gruesome and tragic–to be sure.
It wasn’t until the movie ended that I learned what United for Justice with Peace was all about. They want to end the war. They want to bring the troops home. They believe it would be just to end the war and that it would sooner bring peace to the region. I disagree and in an open conversation after the movie I made it known.
But something strange happened. Some members mentioned they were happy someone who disagreed with the group was there. I wasn’t brow beaten, stared down or given chilly looks. The UJP members wanted to hear the other side of the coin, they wanted to understand my reasoning, and–of course–they wanted to change my mind.
After the hour-or-so group conversation the meeting ended and I was approached by two people, who thanked me for coming.
I’m not ready to change my mind about the war in Afghanistan just yet, but after meeting the Somerville branch of United for Justice with Peace, I am ready to listen.