grassrootspeace.org

November 5, 2007: This website is an archive of the former website, traprockpeace.org, 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 Blogs have been consolidated and the calendar has been archived for security reasons; all other links remain the same, and virtually all blog content remains intact.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 PeaceJournal.org, a multimedia blog and resource center.

Search site - New! Calendar - Calendar Archive
Contents - Archives - War Crimes - GI Special - Student Activism - Links

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

Rick McDowell Reminds Us of the Victims of War Against Iraq

Click on Image to see a larger photo of children and families.

Rick McDowell returned recently from his 15th trip to Iraq. He had led international delegartions, including one comprised of Nobel Peace Laureates and representatives of the Campaign of Conscience. He returned this month after participating in the "Iraq Peace Journey," a delegation of US Catholic leaders. See more on the Iraq Peace Journey below. Rick took the photographs shown above during a recent trip to Iraq.

Rick, a former member of the Traprock Peace Center Core Group, visited Traprock on January 31st to discuss the current crisis and to just visit. We were delighted to see him. Juanita Nelson joined us in discussion. Juanita, a civil rights and peace activist since the 1940's, is considered a parent (along with her late husband Wally Nelson) of the modern American war tax resistance movement.

We recently saw Rick in Washington, DC. In the photo below, he is walking with Jeremy Corbyn, British MP (Labour), who was Traprock's guest during the weekend events of January 17-20. For more on Jeremy Corbyn's timely and significant visit to the US peace movement, see the Campus Anti-War Network Conference , January 18&19 PhotoAlbum, press release concerning media coverage of his visit, and meetings between Jeremy Corbyn and US peace activists.

 

An Open Letter to the People of the United States - Peace Message from Baghdad
(For reports from Iraq by Iraq Peace Journey, visit Pax Christi USA.)

Media interviews available:: contact Rick McDowell (RJPMcD@aol.com) after Sunday, Dec. 21. Rick has accompanied 14 delegations to Iraq, including an international delegation of Nobel Peace Laureates; Rick is a former member of the Traprock Peace Center Core Group

U.S. Religious Leaders Implore American Citizens to Work for Peace

(The following was read aloud by the Iraq Peace Journey at a prayer service
at St. Joseph's Chaldean Church, December 18 in Baghdad. The service was
planned by members of the Iraqi Christian community in Baghdad, including
three bishops.)

To all people of good will in the United States:

We U.S. religious leaders gather with our Iraqi brothers and sisters to pray
for the common peace that we all desire. As women and men of faith, we have
spent ten days in Iraq during this season of preparation for Christmas. We
have met people like ourselves, people who hunger for peace. The Iraqi people
have welcomed us with open arms and begged us to share with you the reality
of their struggle.

We implore you, our fellow citizens of the United States, to look into the
eyes of the people in Iraq. See the Jesuit-trained doctor who can barely
contain his despair and the Muslim mother who grieves for her dying son.
Listen to the taxicab driver who fears for the safety of his family, the
Catholic sister who cares for pregnant mothers, and the orphaned children who
sleep fitfully at night waiting for the sound of bombs. These are the people
of Iraq-people who share our hopes and dreams for a peaceful world. All they
want is to live with dignity in this ancient land of arid beauty.

But the Iraqi people have suffered for the past twelve years under the most
comprehensive sanctions in modern history. Water and sewage treatment
facilities are not functioning due to the lack of spare parts, and children
die of water-born illnesses. Hospitals are crippled by old and broken-down
machinery. Depleted uranium from US munitions is linked to a 400% increase in
the cancer rate in southern Iraq-and this at a time when sanctions deny the
people critical medicines needed for treatment of cancer and other diseases.
The Iraqi people live lives of determined endurance, but many have revealed
their anxiety and desperation. They ask us, "Why is this happening? Will
sanctions end? Why can't we have peace?"

These are the people our government is preparing to sacrifice as "collateral
damage" in an unconscionable war. As we speak, Iraqi people live in fear of
an attack that could happen any day.

People of good will, we who live in the United States also know what it means
to live in fear. We fear for the future of our families and our children. We
fear the unpredictable violence of terrorism. We dread the weapons of mass
destruction that exist in many nations, including our own, and that threaten
the future of our entire planet.

Our government suggests that war is the answer to our fears. But war will
never protect us-it will endanger the entire human family. A war against the
people of Iraq will slaughter thousands of innocent men, women and children
in a land already devastated by sanctions. A war could also kill and injure
countless young Americans. And a war will unleash violent repercussions and
terrorist acts that could destroy our world.

War is not the answer. We must seek a path to peace.

Therefore, people of good will, join us in insisting that our government stop
this madness and commit to a path of active nonviolent resolution. We as
ordinary people can reach out to our Iraqi brothers and sisters, who are
people like ourselves. Together we can support the work of the United Nations
and other international efforts to build peace. Together we can work to
create a world free of weapons of mass destruction, a world free of
sanctions, violence and war. Together we can build a world where our voices
speak peace, peace for all people. Then we will witness the words of the
psalmist, "Mercy and faithfulness will meet, justice and peace will
embrace...Justice shall march before us and peace shall follow in our steps."
(Psalm 85) J

Join us in prayer and action with all people of good will who yearn for this
promise to flourish in our times.

In peace we pray,

Iraq Peace Journey: U.S. Religious Leaders Delegation

David Robinson - Erie, Pennsylvania
National Director of Pax Christi USA

Sr. Kathy Thornton, RSM - Washington, DC
National Coordinator of NETWORK, a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

Fr. Roy Bourgeois, MM - Columbus, Georgia
Maryknoll Missioner, National Coordinator of the School of the Americas Watch

Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS - Sacramento, California
Lawyer, Executive Director of JERICHO-an interfaith social justice lobby in
California.

Sr. Lil Mattingly, MM - Maryknoll, New York
Maryknoll Missioner who has worked in health education and community
development in North and South America for more than 30 years.

Sr. Beth Murphy, OP - Springfield, Illinois
Communications Coordinator, Dominican Sisters of Springfield Illinois

Fr. John Grathwohl - Kalamazoo, Michigan
Diocesan priest, Kalamazoo, Mich., Vietnam veteran and member of Veterans for
Peace

Sheila Provencher - South Bend, Indiana

Freelance writer and speaker. A lay minister who has worked in hospice and
youth ministry.

Mary Trotochaud - Western Massachusetts
Member of the national advisory board of School of the Americas Watch (SOA
Watch)

Chuck Quilty - Rock Island, Illinois
Co-founder, Voices in the Wilderness

Rick McDowell - Western Massachusetts
Accompanied 14 delegations to Iraq, including an international delegation of
Nobel Peace Laureates.

Statements by Rick McDowell and Iraq Peace Journey prior to trip to Iraq
(For reports from Iraq by Iraq Peace Journey, visit Pax Christi USA.)

Rick McDowell's letter prior to leaving for Iraq:

Dear Friends:

On December 8, I will journey to Iraq for the fourteenth time. I will be
accompanying a delegation of Catholic religious leaders. Mary will be
joining me for the first time. I've pasted below our press release and
mission statement.

Much is at stake for my family and friends in Iraq as the US Administration
prepares for its campaign of war (slaughter). Some have predicted war could
open the "gates of hell" while others, including the Archbishop of
Canterbury, fear a resulting nuclear conflict leading to the death of
millions. There is no doubt that Iraqi civilian casualties will be high.

Those not killed by aerial bombardment face imminent famine resulting from
the interruption of the UN food basket. Years of civil war may follow and a
further destabilization of the region will no doubt lead to an increase in
anti-Americanism, terrorism and fundamentalism.

It is difficult not to slumber in the bed of cynicism. I'm asked, why
bother? And I respond that I don't know if my voice will be heard, but I do
know that if I do not raise it I will be complicit in the conspiracy of
silence. I was recently reminded that a light shines brightest in the
darkest hour. Many friends, who have been engaged in this and other
struggles, find these times are indeed amongst the darkest of our collective
memories.

I am reminded of a poem from the book "Clandestine Poems" El Salvador, 1977:
...I believe that the world is beautiful, and that poetry is like
bread---everyones. And that my veins do not end inside me, rather in the
unanimous blood of all those who struggle for life, love, things, countryside
and bread, the poetry of all. I, like you, love love, life, the sweet
enchantment of things, the celestial blue countryside on January days. But my
blood boils And I laugh with the eyes That have known tears...
Each of us need to raise our voice against the violence of war and embrace
nonviolence and dialogue. I ask you to prayer for my Iraqi family.

In Peace,

Rick

*** FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ***

December 3, 2002

Contact: Rick McDowell 978-821-5733

U.S. RELIGIOUS LEADERS VISIT IRAQ IN OPPOSITION TO ADMINISTRATION PLANS FOR WAR


Delegation departs December 8, the U.N. deadline for Iraq's full disclosure
of its weapons capabilities

Annandale,VA - As the Bush administration moves toward war, religious leaders
from the U.S. will travel to Iraq in support of a diplomatic, nonviolent
solution to the crisis. The delegation, Iraq Peace Journey, is scheduled to
leave December 8, the U.N. deadline for Iraq to disclose its weapons of mass
destruction. The delegation will travel in violation of current U.S. law.
Delegates are committed to ensuring that no country, including Iraq, has
weapons of mass destruction. In a statement released today they wrote "Our
world today is scarred by fear: fear of war, terrorism, weapons of mass
destruction. Our government's pervasive rhetoric of fear distorts our vision,
divides the human family, and ultimately creates the very violence we dread.
We need to deal with terrorism, but we in the United States cannot allow fear
to rule our hearts."

"The US Administration seems determined to undermine the integrity of the
United Nations, international law and the will of the international community
by unilaterally prosecuting this war. Iraq's neighbors, fearing a
destabilization of the region, an increase in anti-Americanism and terrorism,
have called for a diplomatic solution to the crisis," stated delegation
member Rick McDowell. McDowell further stated, "the lives of Iraq's women
and children must not be sacrificed to our dependency on oil."

In Iraq, the delegates will meet with religious leaders, UN agencies, relief
organizations, and government officials. Visits are planned for hospitals,
orphanages, and schools, where delegates will come to know some of Iraq's 22
million people who will suffer the most in the event of war - children, the
sick, the poor.

The delegates are Roman Catholic priests, religious sisters, and lay leaders
representing a variety of interfaith and church-affiliated social justice
organizations. "We have worked tirelessly over the past twelve years to
encourage our government to respect domestic and international law, which
prohibit genocide and other crimes against humanity," their statement reads.
"We oppose the push to war on Iraq, as we oppose any effort to tear our human
family apart."

The delegation hopes that their mission to Iraq will demonstrate that the
path to peace lies in the reconciliation of peoples, and that the rhetoric of
fear and faith in military solutions do not lead to greater security or
lasting peace.

The delegation will leave from New York's JFK airport and will return from
Iraq on December 21.

The complete statement and the list of delegates follow.

Mission Statement

We, members of Iraq Peace Journey, are Roman Catholic laypeople, sisters, and
priests committed to active nonviolence as a means to reconciliation and
healing of the conflicts that grip our world today. From Dec 8-21, as
Christians around the world prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the
Prince of Peace, we will travel in Iraq, to stand with our sisters and
brothers who daily live under the threat of violence and war.

Our world today is scarred by fear: fear of war, terrorism, weapons of mass
destruction. Our government's pervasive rhetoric of fear distorts our vision,
divides the human family, and ultimately creates the very violence we dread.
We need to deal with terrorism, but we in the United States cannot allow fear
to rule our hearts.

Our government has already unleashed weapons of mass destruction. For nearly
a generation, our nation's actions have played a part in terrorizing more
than 22 million innocent Iraqi men, women and children - creating a
humanitarian crisis through bombings, devastating economic sanctions, and
threats of war. Far from bringing peace, these actions have destroyed human
hearts, perpetuated the cycle of violence, and desecrated the sacred earth
that is our common home.

We members of Iraq Peace Journey believe that there is a path through fear -
the path of human relationship. We are traveling to Iraq because we have
family there. As People of the Book and followers of the way of Jesus, we
believe that all children of God are sisters and brothers, gifted with human
dignity and basic human rights. We are responsible for each other. We go to
be with our family in Iraq to listen to their stories, to create
relationships between our peoples, and to witness to the fact that if we face
our fears together, new opportunities for peace will unfold.

The words and example of Jesus teach us to believe that God's power
experienced in human communion can overcome division, and that nonviolent
resistance can overcome systems of injustice. We have worked tirelessly over
the past twelve years to encourage our government to respect domestic and
international law, which prohibit genocide and other crimes against humanity.
We oppose the push to war on Iraq, as we oppose any effort to tear our human
family apart. And so, compelled by our faith, and by our duty as citizens of
the United States, we travel to Iraq. By going, we seek to protect the
integrity of the U.S. Constitution and to be obedient to the moral principle
upheld by the world’s religions to treat others as we would want to be
treated.

It is time to seek new paths, together. We are responsible for each other. We
all have family in Iraq.

Signed,

David Robinson
National Director of Pax Christi USA

Sr. Kathy Thornton, RSM
National Coordinator of NETWORK, a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

Fr. Roy Bourgeois, MM
Maryknoll Missioner, National Coordinator of the School of the Americas Watch

Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS
Lawyer, Executive Director of JERICHO-an interfaith social justice lobby in
California.

Sr. Lil Mattingly, MM
Maryknoll Missioner who has worked in health education and community
development in North and South America for more than 30 years.

Sr. Beth Murphy, OP
Communications Coordinator, Dominican Sisters of Springfield Illinois

Fr. John Grathwohl
Diocesan priest, Kalamazoo, Mich., Vietnam veteran and member of Veterans for
Peace

Sheila Provencher
Freelance writer and speaker. A lay minister who has worked in hospice and
youth ministry.

Mary Trotochaud
Member of the national advisory board of School of the Americas Watch (SOA
Watch)

Chuck Quilty
Co-founder, Voices in the Wilderness

Rick McDowell
Accompanied 14 delegations to Iraq, including an international delegation of
Nobel Peace Laureates.

Page created November 25, 2002 by Charlie Jenks.