About Bill Kelsey

Bill sed2-eBill, although born in the US, spent his childhood mostly in Jordan between the ages of one and fifteen. He earned his first scar before he was two on an archeological dig in Dothan, near the village of Arabba on the West Bank, when he tumbled into a trench and through five thousand years of buried Palestinian history. He has dealt with the issues of Israel and Palestine and the region since then, spending his time experiencing and reading the history of its joys and sorrows. During his childhood he was surrounded by refugees from Palestine and survivors of the Armenian genocide. At an early age he was conscious of the fact that people can do terrible things to each other on a large scale.

Returning to the US for his last two years of high school, Bill received an appointment to the US Naval Academy, class of 1973, where he majored in Naval Science and Chinese. Except for an aptitude for Chinese and the study of international relations, Bill proved to be the sorriest excuse for a Naval Officer who ever walked the deck of a warship. During his time at the Academy and then in Navy Flight training, Bill, who already had doubts about US policy in the Middle East, turned against the war in Vietnam and eventually against war in general. A factor in this was the observation that various foreign entanglements took precedence over the oath to defend the Constitution of the United States. Before finishing flight training in 1975, Bill was discharged as a Conscientious Objector “in the interest of the Naval service.”

Since then Bill has written and spoken for peace, while constantly reading and traveling to learn and understand the causes of war. He has worked as an English teacher, Arabic teacher, bookseller, and then in the late ’90s he pursued aviation again and began earning a living as a flight instructor. In 1997 he achieved his dream job of flying humanitarian missions in Mozambique for two years. Since then his aviation career has taken him to many parts of Africa, as well as Panama, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is currently employed flying a Twin Otter doing war relief aviation in South Sudan.

Bill has worked to strengthen the peace movement within libertarianism and to bring libertarianism into the peace movement. His greatest political goal these days is to challenge the notion that the state has the right to choose friends and enemies for its citizens.

When not flying Bill reads the histories of the countries in which he works and studies their languages. He is fluent in Arabic, Chinese, and Spanish, and can survive in French, Portuguese, and Swahili, and is working hard on Farsi, Luganda, and Tigrinia.

He is married to Peggy Kelsey, of the Afghan Women’s Project, and father of Petra, a medical school student, and Danielle, a pre-school teacher.


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