Letters: More Letters In Support of Ceasefire Resolution


Photo: European Action Coalition

The letters that follow were received after the Indy went to press on Saturday morning (3/2). The Indy will continue to post letters it receives about the ceasefire resolution until mid-afternoon on Monday, March 4, 2024. The Amherst Town Council will take up the resolution at their meeting at 6:30 p.m. on March 4. The meeting will be held at the Amherst Regional Middle School Auditorium and over Zoom. Those wishing to offer public comment can do so in person or over Zoom. Public comment will be strictly limited to 2 minutes/person. More information and meeting agenda here.

Letter: Ceasefire Resolution Supports Peace and Justice for All
by Brooks Ballenger

As an Amherst resident and lifelong UAW Union member, I urge the town council to pass the amherst4ceasefire resolution sponsored by councilors Walker, DeAngelis and Hanneke.  This resolution has been crafted to describe , as clearly as possible, the horrifying facts of the current crisis in Gaza and the West Bank. It has been endorsed by hundreds of Amherst residents, businesses and community groups. I support it as a statement to our Palestinian and Muslim neighbors that we see and empathize with their suffering.  As in the previous Ukraine and October 7 resolutions, it is a statement by our town that we believe in peace and justice for all.  Similar ceasefire resolutions have been passed by national labor Unions such as  United Auto Workers(UAW), Postal Workers, National Nurses Union, Flight Attendants, National Education Association (NEA), United Electrical Workers )UE) and Painter and Allied Trades.  as well as over 200 local unions.  At least 70 cities including Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Atlanta and Seattle have also passed ceasefire resolutions. All have chosen, as I believe we must, to stand up for peace.

I support the resolution because it calls for an end to the bombing, and blocking of humanitarian aid.  It does not propose a plan for solving the long-standing conflict over land in the Middle East. That sort of plan can only come from sincere negotiations between the parties.   The ceasefire resolution merely calls for an end to hostile actions on all sides.  I truly believe that a ceasefire would make both Palestinians and Israelis safer. And it calls for a prohibition on using military aid in ways that violate international law.  Such a restriction already exists under several U.S. laws , but has never been enforced.  Currently we are spending billions of tax dollars sending offensive weapons to Israel;  money that could help people in Amherst and around the nation, instead of destroying homes and hospitals in Gaza. The resolution is not an attempt to blame or attack any group.. Rather, it is a call for peace.. That seems to me to be a worthy cause for our town to join.  

Brooks Ballenger
Brooks Ballenger is a resident of Amherst

Letter: US Tax Dollars Should Not Fund Bombing Civilians
by Naz Mohamed

The following letter was sent to Amherst Town Council President Lynn Griesemer and resolution sponsor Councilor Pat DeAngelis on March 1, 2024.

Hi, this is Naz Mohamed. We know each other from our work together at the Amherst Survival Center. Even though I am not an Amherst resident, I have very strong connections with the Amherst community and have been involved with its many social service agencies to help those less fortunate. 

Nevertheless, as a U.S. citizen, I am writing to urge you to vote in favor of the Resolution in Support of a Ceasefire in Gaza when it comes before the Council on March 4.

I am impacted personally by this because it is very painful to see innocent children, women and adults of all ages being indiscriminately killed, becoming orphans, widows, widowers and losing loved ones. This reminds me of what was done to the indigenous people of this country by the white settlers. This settler colonization in Palestine or anywhere in this only world of ours should not be repeated or supported; it is against humanity and justice. World peace will never be achieved by this continued genocide, starvation, ethnic cleansing and deprivation of basic human needs.  Future generations will never forget this part of history that is occurring in Gaza and Palestine.  

I care about this issue not because I am a Muslim and my muslim brothers and sisters are being treated with such violence and life disruption, but because this is no way to treat another human being, individually or collectively.  I do not want my tax dollars spent on bombing civilians, especially when that same money can be used in our own country, to feed and house the homeless, make health care affordable for all, increase teacher salary and improve education and resources, to name a few.

Passing a resolution in Amherst would not be merely a symbolic act. It would take a stand for peace and justice and join the calls for the U.S. government to listen to the American people on this burning issue. Over 70 U.S. cities and towns (including Seattle and Chicago) have now passed resolutions calling for a ceasefire. And most recently our neighbor Northampton just passed a ceasefire resolution. 

Thank you for taking a stand at this critical time and voting Yes” on this resolution to support an immediate and sustained Ceasefire in Gaza; even if a temporary ceasefire has come into effect by Monday, March 4.

Please vote with your conscience and do not abstain. As you know, to abstain is the same as a “No” vote.

I have full confidence that a moral decision will be made on March 4 for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and Palestine. 

Naz Mohamed
Naz Mohamed is a resident of Hadley and a volunteer at the Amherst Survival Center

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