November 5, 2007: This website is an archive of the former website,, which was created 10 years ago by Charles Jenks. It became one of the most populace sites in the US, and an important resource on the antiwar movement, student activism, 'depleted' uranium and other topics. Jenks authored virtually all of its web pages and multimedia content (photographs, audio, video, and pdf files. As the author and registered owner of that site, his purpose here is to preserve an important slice of the history of the grassroots peace movement in the US over the past decade. He is maintaining this historical archive as a service to the greater peace movement, and to the many friends of Traprock Peace Center. Blogs have been consolidated and the calendar has been archived for security reasons; all other links remain the same, and virtually all blog content remains intact.

THIS SITE NO LONGER REFLECTS THE CURRENT AND ONGOING WORK OF TRAPROCK PEACE CENTER, which has reorganized its board and moved to Greenfield, Mass. To contact Traprock Peace Center, call 413-773-7427 or visit its site. Charles Jenks is posting new material to, a multimedia blog and resource center.

War on Truth  From Warriors to Resisters
Books of the Month

The War on Truth

From Warriors to Resisters

Army of None

Iraq: the Logic of Withdrawal


A View from Palestine: Development Under Occupation

A presentation by Professor Mohammad Sawalha

Audio of Mohammad Sawalha's presentation

mp3 (57:20 minutes; 26.3 mb) for download (radio airplay and CD); RealAudio for dialup connections

also, hear poignant story of the tragedy that started the Intifada. mp3 (1 minute; 477 K) or RealAudio

Sunday, June 6th, 4:00-930 PM AT Traprock Peace Center

Professor Mohammad Sawalha is a professor of Linguistics and Translation at An-Najah University in Nablus and the founder and director of the Palestinian House of Friendship. The Palestinian House of Friendship is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that focuses on developing constructive activities for young people in Nablus and engaging in democracy and human rights education among university students.

Activities for young people include a music group which gives performances. Professor Sawalha gave us insight into everyday life in Nablus. Travel that used to take 15 minutes by car can now take 3-6 hours because of barricades, barriers, waiting at check-points and destroyed roads. Donkeys have become a preferred mode of transport where the roads are most destroyed, so that you might see a computer being transported by donkey!

Professor Mohammad Sawalha speaking with people in Traprock's living room. photo by Sunny Miller

Like many other Palestinians Mohammed Sawalha has suffered 6 months of 'administrative detention' without any charges or opportunity to have a lawyer. Though he focuses his efforts on peacemaking he was denied a visa for this same trip when it was planned for last year. While Mohammed was here soldiers beat on the family's door at 4 am, and pulled his son, age 16 and his wife outside for interrogation. He said he doesn't let his son be outdoors moving freely, because he might be humiliated or interrogated by soldiers. Parents can't control how children might respond to abuse, or what soldiers might do to their children. Virtually no males under age 35 are permitted to travel across borders. This lack of freedom creates a temendous tension within families and communities.

Professor Sawalha’s most current research is on the changing meanings of words in Palestine as a window to understanding the transformations within Palestinian society under occupation. We heard about the power of words in relation to soldiers who confront with guns. On a trip to see his parents at the end of Ramadan he traveled alone. After some hours of walking he was confronted by a soldier who ordered him to return home. In English Mohammed asked if there are not times when this Israeli soldier is obliged to visit his family, saying this is a religious and social occasion that has nothing to do with politics. Ths soldier replied yes, of course, but these were his orders, Mohammed must turn back. Luckily Mohammed's brother was coming by car at this time to meet him on the road, and further conversation in English won over the heart of the soldier, as several people stood by watching.

The occupied territories are regularly disrupted. We heard sadly that now children just by listening can discern what size ammunition is being fired, and know the names of many weapons. We share that here too, children become familiar with weapons when they attend air shows are lured to play in helicopters and with machine guns. So, here and abroad, children learn the language of war, through experience, and must be offered the experience and language of peace and friendship - as a viable alternative - if we want peace 10 -20 years from now.

About 25 people attended this wonderful program, from as far away as Worcester, Northampton and Brattleboro. Cindy Cohen of Brandeis University invited contributions toward the summer camp that the Palestinian House of Friendship will offer for up to 80 youths. I offered that Traprock can help to collect 50 to 100 Friendship Bags (back-packs, or other bags) with lightweight art and school supplies to those children. We will work to collect supplies by July 4 and want to call the project Freedom in Friendship. [The friendship bags were created and have been received by Mohammad Sawalha - photos and story coming soon - January 4, 2004.]

July 4 is one week after Journey Camp begins, and Sarah Pirtle is sure many of those children will want to participate. Several area schools we have relationships with will be interested. We will need to raise money for shipping, and have the name of a student who will return to Palestine in late July. Sarah Pirtle began to write a song. We traced our hands on a banner that we will send with the bags later. Traprock gave a colorful children's book, "Where is Tibet?" which is written in English and Tibetan and has room for Arabic to be added. We also gave a peace flag, 2 address books, 2 journals, and Sunny gave a strum stick and a bag to hold many gifts. Sarah Pirtle gave a CD and her book of peace activities, "Discovery Time." Rita Hindin gave a soccer ball, another ball, which are sure to be very popular, as well as a stuffed toy, several books, and some peace pins. Connie left with Mohammed at about 9:45 after a very full afternoon and evening. Many thanks to Tova Nugent for her initiative in arranging this wonderful program.

January 4, 2005 - page created by Charlie Jenks

Cindy Cohen and Sunny Miller shown making tracings of hands for a cloth banner to be given as a gift to friends in Palestine. Cindy directs the Coexistence Research and International Collaborations section at the Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life at Brandeis University. photo © 2004 Traprock Peace Center

Cheryl Hogan, a dedicated activist from Shelburne Falls recently went to Palestine to help with the olive harvest. She left for Palestine after helping to organize a Palestinian film festival in Northampton, MA. photo by Sunny Miller