Traprock Peace Center

photos copyright 2006 Charles Jenks

Rally for Peace in the Middle East - Amherst Common, August 2, 2006

150 gathered and joined in a call for an immidate cease in the Middle East. Organized by Hassan Awaisi, the rally was sponsored by Traprock Peace Center, Western Mass American Friends Service Committee and Sage. After a slide show narrated by Hassan, the rally led off with chanting for peace by the New England Peace Pagoda, with prayers for peace and spiritual perspectives from Mohammed Am Abdelaal (Muslim), Matilda Cantwell (Christian) and Joel Dansky (Jewish). Andrea Assaf (Lebanese-American poet) recited poetry and read accounts of the war from the war zones. Irene Shaikly played the drums during musical interludes. Carolyn Oppenheim talked about Israeli peace movement; Raul Matta and Jo Commerford, director of WMass AFSC spoke. Deanne Riddle spoke on a group's meeting with Congressman Olver. Among other statements, Rep. Olver said that he would support the Kucinich resolution. The Kucinich resolution supports international "peace keeping" forces into southern Lebanon.

Sunny Miller, director of Traprock Peace Center, read a petition to Congress written with the imput of many WMass activists that calls for an immediate ceasefire without the insertion of international forces. Traprock's position is that international forces - which would be inserted only in Lebanon and not Israel - would constitute an occupation force for Israel to solidify its gains in the war. Full text below of petition to Congress. The petition was circulated at the rally. (Sign On-line)

Traprock accepts that there are different approaches to the tragedy that is occurring in the Middle East and hopes that other organizations and individuals who care about these issues are willing to engage in dialogue on these differences openly.

Hear Hassan Awaisi's opening statement - MP3 audio 52 seconds; we regret that audio of the rest of the program is not available do to technical problems in recording.

Hassan Awaisi
New England Peace Pagoda monks chanting "Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo" See video. (Video uses Quicktime format - download free Quicktime player for windows or mac )
Mohammed M. Abdelaal
Matilda Cantwell
Joel Dansky
Andrea Assaf
Raul Matta
Carolyn Oppenheim
Irene Shaikly
Deanne Riddle
Jo Comeford
Sunny Miller
See video of Sunny reading petition to Congress. (Video uses Quicktime format - download free Quicktime player for windows or mac )

Text of Petition to Congress (with slight changes from petition circulated at rallly)

(Sign On-line)

Petition to Congress (doc version)
For Immediate Ceasefire in the Middle East:
Send Humanitarian Aid Not U.S. Weapons into Civilian Areas

A s U.S. citizens, as taxpayers, as people who subscribe to the Geneva Conventions, we deplore the use of weapons raining death and destruction upon innocent families, villages, cities and roads in Lebanon, Gaza and Israel and in any other country. We call for an immediate ceasefire and reparations.

Currently U.S. policies insure that weapons manufacturers here profit, while civilians suffer and die. We call on Congress and the Courts to uphold the Arms Export Control Act, prohibiting the sale or shipment to any country that uses weapons against civilians. We must immediately curtail further sales of U.S. jet fuel, missiles, bombs and aircraft to the U.S. Department of Defense, to Israel and to other countries until civilian areas are no longer targeted. We urge Congress to recommend that other weapons-dealing counties also cease sales & shipments.

We urge Congress to send humanitarian aid, prioritizing the needs of the poorest populations. Thus we assert our common rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, everywhere.