Thursday, August 31, 2006


My son leaves for his second year at university today. Mixed emotions will follow him and I'm not just talking about the motherly kind. But there is hope, dare I say it ... on the horizon, when reading a sudden ground swell of rational and honest writings about the state of our humanity around the globe.

But will hope be translated into positive change in my lifetime? A change where cultural differences are respected, when pluralism returns to the classroom, when an individual's right to pray and speak his own language is tolerated and when my grandchildren can hop on a bus from Amman and visit Jerusalem without fear. And so I shall continue to have a dream ... J

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Pushing the Limits of Sanity and Reason

The headline in today’s Jordan Times, Tuesday, August 29, 2006, which reads “Annan urges Israel to lift Lebanon blockade, handover of soldiers,” made me angry. After seeing, in vivid color, the horrors taking place in Gaza, Iraq, and Lebanon every day for the past month, we get this supposedly hopeful headline. Annan has to URGE Israel, implying begging or pleading, to lift their blockade against Lebanon. This isn’t a surprise for us who live in the Middle East. We know that The United Nations has no actual power to enforce a resolution that isn’t in the interest of Israel and its powerful allies. This is a fact, but knowing it does nothing to lessen my feelings of anger.

The practice of selectively implementing UN resolutions fuels one kind of reaction that is affecting much of the world now, not only the Middle East. We are threatened by violence from desperate individuals and fanatic groups who have nothing to lose. Their families – dead, wounded, emotionally damaged. Their property – bulldozed, bombed, stolen. Their ideology – twisted, perverted. Their hope – lost irrevocably, or almost. They still have hope that their chosen leaders will squeeze some justice out of their tormentors. We can’t blame them since all legitimate doors to redress their problems are closed.

And what about the majority of us who are law abiding, peaceful citizens? We instill in our children respect and obedience for the law and to adopt The Golden Rule. At the same time we must teach them to defend themselves because no child should suffer a bully. Yet the real world is full of bullies, and the organizations created to protect us from them have lost their credibility. The resolutions and conventions intended to limit man’s inhumanity and implement the rule of law have been agreed to by most nations, yet remain theoretical. Our governments may lie to us, steal from us, and make wars for our sons to die in, and, yet, we must teach our children to obey the law. The alternative would bring consequences for them that we wouldn’t want. This is an absurd contradiction, and yet, we have no other choice that I can see. We are living within the limits of strained sanity and reason. Will it always be so?


Which year?

The following are a few quotations from an article in The Times of London. Guess which year it came from.

“Then there is the growing gap between rich and poor. Although there is a good deal of money in some pockets, inflation, thought to be running at more than 20 per cent, is making family budgeting an increasing struggle for most Jordanians……..The rise in rents makes life particularly difficult for young couples planning to marry……Like many Jordanians I spoke to, he blamed this on the influx of …….refugees and this represents a potential area of tension if rents and other prices continue to rise……..Amman has now spread itself over at least 13 hills, and the bulldozers and cement mixers are already at work on others.”

1976! T

Monday, August 28, 2006

Lunch is ready!

I was curious, so curious I just had to find out ... and I know what happened to the cat ...! But I couldn't resist a little googling here and there to find out how much this big military business is actually worth. Quite fascinating reading until you realise how creatively callous people have become in all the different ways they devise to kill, maim and destroy. In 2005 America, for example, approved export licenses were granted for 'defense articles' manufactured by American companies for a total cost of $24,333,731,834 and the global total of defence services was $27.7 billion. That's a bucket load of dosh!

Came across something called a 'travelling wave tube' - 191 pieces sold to Luxembourg for a total of $2,902,311. Sold to Israel too. A 'wave tube' ...? .... must be some weird contraption to make the military more people-friendly.

And then I recalled Rami Khouri's recent article from war torn Lebanon that started out like this: "I visited the southern suburbs of Beirut yesterday for the first time since Israel had bombed its core to smithereens. It was impressive to watch the clean-up and reconstruction work underway by Hizbullah, the government and scores of local and international non-governmental organizations. Tens of thousands of people walking through the rubble exhibited pride and achievement of having withstood the attacks and seeing Hizbullah fight Israel to a draw.But I also had mixed feelings as I watched Hizbullah give cash payments of $10,000 and more for families to get through the next year, whose homes were destroyed. I wondered: What if the war had not happened and Hizbullah had given $10,000 to each of the estimated 15,000 eligible families for some other use -- to buy computer systems, encyclopedias, and poetry books, and to send thousands of deserving students to university?But the world does not work like that. Israel's massive attack against civilian and Hizbullah military targets throughout Lebanon is one sign of irrationality -- laced with barbarism -- that often defines political decisions in this part of the world. Hizbullah's response had been honed by a quarter of a century of fighting off Israeli attacks, occupations and threats. Its three thousand missiles and rockets fired into northern Israel caused some material and human damage, but sent a powerful political message that resonates throughout the region: Israel's military is not invincible, and can be stymied with determined planning and courageous resistance.That's correct, but then what? Another war? Better bomb shelters? More accurate missiles? Another 25,000 homes destroyed in Lebanon and Israel? As long as the battle is waged in Lebanon, public opinion in the Arab world, and among governments in Syria, Iran and a few other places, is prepared to fight Israel to the death. Israel, with explicit American diplomatic support and military re-supply lines, is prepared to destroy Lebanon. Period. These are uninviting prospects. We deserve better options".

... Better options ... and I began to dream of all the schools, research centres, creative arts centres, libraries and clinics that we could build along cultural lines with those $52 billion dollars not just in the Arab World, but throughout Africa too ... when a familiar voice wafted up the staircase and broke the reverie "lunch is ready". And so it's time for lunch, again.

Bon appetit. J


If you don't like the Beach Boys song "Barbara Ann" - but you like satire, this one is for you: J

Sunday, August 27, 2006

On location 2

On our way home from the film shoot near Zarka, we came across a rather quaint and interesting archaeological site - a Roman tomb built circa 200 AD, although locally known as the 'castle of the lamp'. I hardly recognised the place I had visited nearly twenty years ago. Now located in a built up area with a rather unsightly coffee shop and children's playground right on the boundary of the site, it does however offer a pleasant distraction from the every day mess
of urban living and traffic chaos.

A view inside the tomb with delightful architectural features.

Walk your way inside the compound to the offices at the back of the site, and you will discover a studio where replicas of statues from all over Jordan can be found. It is an educational studio run by the Department of Antiquities, great for a morning out with the kids (who can always go and play on the swings when they get bored). The sculptor, who doubles up as the curator of the studio is very obliging and bilingual, and will fill you in on the many historical details of Tyche et al. He would probably also welcome the company.

Not sure exactly where the site is, but it is located about 5 km from the Sports City Roundabout on the main road to Marka/Zerka, just after a major traffic light junction on the right hand side. Look out for the ugly coffee shop and children's playground with lots of coloured plastic! J Posted by Picasa

On location

You have to admire war correspondents and photographers for their sheer guts and nerves of steel; something I realised today I don't possess when I joined the crew of a film shoot on the outskirts of Zarka. And the first photo I took was the one above, a trial run of an exploding hat! As you can see it's a complete disaster, but I am posting it anyway to show what happened when the contraption exploded. I nearly lept out of my skin and the ringing in my ears lasted a good ten minutes! Apart from that I had a fun day despite all the chain smokers around. What is it with film crews and cigarettes? J Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Felix the Fascist??

Had a good laugh this morning on coming across this link ... the imagery was wonderful - a bunch of very committed people determined to put a spanner in the workings of the neocon machine - in the heart of New York City. Here's power to the people in action! J

Thursday, August 24, 2006

scary, scary, scary!

We all know the dreadful traffic situation in Amman (don't know what it is like in Zerqa and Irbid!). It really is at crisis point and someone has to take a grip of the problem. Traffic jams are manageable (sort of) if drivers can manage to get their egos under control and wait in line instead of pushing and shoving and creating even more mayhem. But road planning and marking is so poor that it just adds to the confusion. One way streets are just a laugh - no-one takes any notice of them.

At about 1 today I had just left Cozmo and saw a friend of mine had been involved in an accident. Only a minor one but both cars damaged so I stopped to see if she needed any help. We tried for 20 minutes to get through to the Traffic Police (190) and the Emergency Police (191). They were both permanently engaged and I just thought what would we have done if it had been a major accident with injuries? Presumably it was the pressure of many calls that caused the lines to be unavailable but this is UNACCEPTABLE. T

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Sorry Henry

Henry Ford made Detroit the motor capital of the world. As a Detroiter, I admire him. It was his assembly line that provided the breakthrough in producing automobiles in such staggering quantities. So I am not blaming Henry for what happened; he couldn’t have known what his invention would do.

After the Second World War production lines weren’t needed for making tanks and war materials so they returned to producing cars. At that time street-cars, our name for trolleys, ran on tracks down the middle of most major streets in Detroit. They were cheap, clean, frequent and punctual, but not conducive to selling cars. So the automobile industry bought up the city’s street-cars and ‘retired’ them! I remember feeling frustrated at the time, because I was too young to drive and there was nothing to take their place except inefficient, smelly buses and, of course, the automobile.

And so it continued. Cars were the catalyst that created suburbs, destroyed the inner city, polluted the environment, and seriously damaged family life. Long commutes use time and energy that could otherwise be spent with families. The change was differently destructive for those who couldn’t afford a car or suburban living. They were stranded to fester in slums, all the while losing hope - a situation that the aftermath of Katrina so vividly showed the world.

So what does this have to do with Jordan? When the predictable subject of traffic came up recently, I was told that there are 65,000 more cars in Jordan now than there were last year. Sheer volume clogs our streets. I wish that Jordan hadn’t followed the seductive American dream. I wish Jordan had the public funds, the planning, and the political will to follow the sensible urban growth patterns in Europe. Europe kept its trolleys, trams, trains, and underground transportation systems. Their ‘inner’ cities are alive and well. But we have cars, cars, and more cars, and suburbia, and longer commutes. Tragically and paradoxically there are also more assembly lines world wide. We know that tanks and war materials, not only cars, continue to roll off them. So much for my wishful thinking, and again, sorry Henry.


Of Jet Planes and Justice

Why is it that all the pro-Israeli commentators, Israeli military personnel and people in positions of power, write/talk/debate about these days is the pursuit of war, of death and destruction, of annihilating the enemy, of Israel the supreme and only true democracy in the region, of war and more war and then some?

Do you ever hear them talk about the need for peace, the need to preserve life whatever its race, colour or creed? Do you ever hear them rationally debate why they have an enemy at the door? Do you ever hear or read them ask the simple question, "but who is the enemy anyway", or "and what if we just put down our arms", or "what is this justice the Arabs keep going on about"?

War is more than just death and destruction; it is political-economics, big business of the most despicable kind. Justice is irrelevant simply because people can talk all they want, but money talks louder and we all know who controls the purse strings in the Middle East. And yet, the tenacity of spirit and hope that ordinary people still cling to by their finger tips in the Arab world today is quite remarkable in view of the suffering of the innocents. One ordinary Lebanese mother interviewed on an Arab television channel, shortly after Israel so callously destroyed her village, told us she would not mourn the loss of her young daughter, "simply because she was now safe, far away from the likes of Olmert, Bush and Blair who can no longer harm her."

I took my own daughter to the airport the other day. She was leaving for Europe and was told she was not allowed to carry cosmetics onto the plane; "but I need my lip gloss" she pleaded. "Sorry, not allowed" said the understanding handling agent. "Who said so?" I found myself thinking. "Probably some politician in need of more votes somewhere on the other side of the planet" ... and you wonder why I have become so cynical? So my daughter left on her jet plane with a little piece of contraband, and we left for home. But on the way I couldn't help notice an unusual number of Che Guevara stickers on the back of Jordanian cars.

Funny that; how some men die to live, and yet others are the living embodiment of death. J

Sunday, August 20, 2006

My Favorite Sign

I can remember writing about this sign several years ago when it first appeared on the Dead Sea/Aqaba highway. Since then, we have among other things, “lost” and “gained” a new King, had innumerable government shuffles, changed the Commander of the Army, had a couple of wars in the region, and yet “the sign”, abet a bit more shabby, remains.

Now, I’m not sure who is responsible for this sign but instead of it achieving its intended purpose, it has, on the contrary made people like me deliberately stop and take a picture of the sign which clearly tells me to KEEB AWAY NO PHOTO. Either the sign maker had an amazing sense of humor, or….probably more likely, was unable to spell!

A work of art?????

Up to Marka (east Amman) to do the paperwork for my new car (a present from my lovely son) and the sale of my old one. The procedures had all started the day before with someone from a friend's office doing the running around. After transferring insurance in grubby offices full of the stink of cigarettes, we proceeded into the police department and were lucky enough to sit in a friendly police officer's room (he was puffing away too).

The procedures were a pain and exhausting. Why do the police run this department? T Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 19, 2006

We knew it all along!!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Truth vs. The Big Lie

"The Big Lie, first coined by Adolf Hitler in his 1925 autobiography Mein Kampf,was made famous by Joseph Goebbels, propaganda minister for the Third Reich. The idea was simple enough: Tell a whopper (the larger the better) often enough and most people will come to accept it as the truth. During World War II, the predecessor of the CIA, the Office of Strategic Services, described how the Germans used the Big Lie: "[They] never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it."

Nice to read outsiders finally connecting the dots between 'then and now'. J

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Miracles Can Still Happen

In the doom and gloom that has covered our region this past month, there was a ray of light this morning when my friend, the Iraqi mother (I wrote about her in my July 1 blog) walked out of the American Embassy with the promise of visas for her and her 4 children.

To back track a bit, she did finally get the date of her first interview moved up a few days and after presenting her paperwork and gathering more requested papers, ensuing several trips back and forth to the embassy, she was refused the visas. That day was a terrible one for the family as they had had such high hopes of being reunited with their father, studying for his masters engineering degree in New York, and all they had to show was a form letter saying that:

“We regret to inform you that we are unable to issue you a non-immigrant visa because you have been found ineligible under Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Section 214(b) requires applicants for non-immigrant visas to establish entitlement to non-immigrant status under 101(a)(15) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. All applicants must show that they haves ufficiently strong family, social, or economic ties to a place of residence in a country other than the United States to ensure that their projected stay in the United States will be temporary………………..

The responsibility for demonstrating substantial ties to a foreign country rests with each applicant. All applicants must overcome the presumption that they are intending immigrants; the burden of proof is in all cases upon the applicant to overcome this presumption. There is no one set of documents or type of application, which will guarantee the approval of a non-immigrant visa. The final determination on visa eligibility is made by the consular officer.

The application fee of 71Jd or 100 Dollars per person is not refundable.
Consular Officer Non-Immigrant Visa Section
Amman, Jordan"

What I didn’t realize or anticipate, was the determination of “M”, who had started this whole process and was waiting to see his family, to insist that they reapply and go through the entire process once again. Against my advice and with serious doubts from others who were involved, the required $500 dollars for reapplication was found and paid ($100 per family member: a total of $1000 has been spent) and my friend was given an interview date at the American Embassy on August 8. Once again, she was turned away with requests for more bank statements, tax returns and affidavits, requiring phone calls, innumerable emails and Fedex packages racing from the US to Jordan to what result??

Well, with bated breath, today we found out! Thanks to the hard work of Cathy Breen, her guardian angel here in Amman and a remarkable priest in America, to name only two of the many kind people who were involved in this process, our family will be able to go to American to see their father. A special thanks here is also due to the American consular staff who granted the visas once that they saw the correct guarantees were in place.

I must say that I have learned some lessons through all of this, things that I have known, but things that I have tended to forget these past months and they are “never give up” and “miracles can still happen!” In this case, I am glad that I was proven wrong!!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

service with a smile???

I had to cope with three courier services this week. DHL took 2 days to get my item 50 miles in UK then 24 hours to deliver it to my home in Jordan. Ok, no complaints there.

Aramex took 2 weeks to get my credit card from Jebel Hussein to Jebel Amman and then put the blame on me because I was not at home when they tried to deliver! And they had my telephone number. It took 3 visits to the bank to get it to me. Plenty of complaints there.

The third was Fedex bringing some dvds of photos and film of my family in Singapore. They called me to say that the customs had taken the package and would I call the next day. Who is the customer here I wonder? Finally this morning I was directed to the Audio-Visual Commission on Medina Street. So off I went prepared to do battle! But, as so often happens here, I was completely disarmed when I got there. It seems the Customs randomly inspects dvds to make sure they do not contain subversive material. I went from one office to another and finally ended up with a charming gentleman (apart from the stink of cigarettes and smoke) who had a quick look at one of the dvds. We had an interesting conversation as to why the da Vinci Code is banned here in Jordan, which I find absolutely extraordinary and why aren’t some of the terribly violent programmes on JTV censored. No answer there though. So I came home with my photos.

Tomorrow I face the licensing department in Marka. T

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

To Bear Witness

When I first met Kathy Kelly and later Cathy Breen, both from Voices in the Wilderness, and heard their stories, I thought what nice women – they must have an intense religious commitment that encourages them to walk with the Iraqis in their devastated and violent country. Little did I know or seriously think about what they dare to do.

Young children instinctively know that if no one sees them doing what they shouldn’t, they won’t get caught. Apparently many adults maintain this same logic. Often we read about businesses and government agencies firing or trying to discredit the whistle blower, the informer. A repetitive theme for movies and books involves silencing an eye witness. The press is seldom welcomed into a war zone; their cameras and pens bear witness to death and destruction. Even reports from survivors are treated more as emotional one-liners than competent statements of fact. People who bear witness can find themselves in a dangerous, and sometimes, fatal place.

Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall, the young American and British peace activists, were both murdered by the Israeli army in Gaza while acting as human shields against the demolition of homes and the killing of Palestinians. Others from many nations along with Israeli peace activists have been killed, injured, incarcerated, or deported because they dared to stand between the army or armed settlers, and Palestinian civilians. Others, many from Voices, have stood with Iraqis and witnessed the devastating effects of the 14 years of economic sanctions and continue to stand with them against the US military violence of occupation.

I have spent my life as a wife and mother which has kept me on the sidelines of decisive action. It is from the depths of my being that I feel a deep gratitude to all men and women who dare to bear witness.


Visit: and
Google: Rachel Corrie, Tom Hurndall, Kathy Kelly, and Cathy Breen

Monday, August 14, 2006

Jebel Amman

These old houses on Jebel Amman are just wonderful and I love the floors. Who needs a carpet when you have such a beautiful display. Let us hope that they are not sold for development. T
 Posted by Picasa

All those in favour, say 'Aye'

If I am to get a new Middle East, I think I am entitled to vote on it, no? So I shall scour the streets, the hills and valleys, the ancient plains of Moab and the soul-soothing deserts in search of my voting booth, for the simple reason that I want these people who wrote the following to be put in charge of western foreign policy:

All those in favour, say 'Aye', (if nothing else, you might drown out the jack hammers down the Wadi Sakra Road and give me a moment's peace!) J

We got our ceasefire and the Israelis got their 30 day war!

As I was stirring in bed around 6.45 am this morning, the Israeli military continued to bomb Lebanon from the air, sea and land while Hizballah continued to launch rockets and defend their positions, the same scenario for the last month. And then when I got out of bed at 7.45 give or take a few minutes, my husband calls out from the tv room, "the ceasefire started six minutes ago, but they were fighting right up to the last six minutes".

Six minutes of precious fighting for six minutes of precious peace; and as I watched the television screen the image of Lebanese civilians driving in their cars along desolate roads with white flags blowing in the wind gave me a sudden surge of relief. And I thought of the sickly thin white horses I had seen, still with their bridles on, rummaging in rubbish bins in the ruins of a residential area somewhere in Lebanon and wondered what of them… I hope this ceasefire holds, but according to Robert Fisk, the real war is about to begin. For once Robert, I hope you are wrong. J

Friday, August 11, 2006

A lesson in English for Bush

According to Bush we now have Islamic fascism. Well Bush here's an english lesson for you, the Collins English Dictionary states:

fas\cism / Fascism is a set of right wing political beliefs that include:
  • strong control of society (The Cheney-Specter Bill S. 2453) and the
  • economy by the state, (speaks for itself!)
  • a powerful role for the armed forces (aka Israel's IDF sponsored by US Government)
  • and the stopping of political opposition (Zionist tactics at the highest levels of American government, plus refusal to engage in dialogue with Syria and Iran)

So who's the fascist now? J

Of Men and Vision

President William McKinley (1897-1901): "I went down on my knees and prayed to Almighty God for light and guidance … and one night late it came to me this way.… We could not leave (the Philippines) to themselves--they were unfit for self-government--and they would soon have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain's was.… There was nothing left for us to do but take them all and educate the Filipinos, and uplift and Christianize them."

Now doesn't that sound familiar ... see the puzzle fitting nicely together in this 'new Middle East' a la Fascists Bush and co.

Philadelphia Ledger newspaper in 1901, from its Manila [Philippines] correspondent during the US war with Spain for the control of the Philippines: "Our men . . . have killed to exterminate men, women, children, prisoners and captives, active insurgents and suspected people from lads of 10 up.... Our soldiers have pumped salt water into men to "make them talk," and have taken prisoners people who held up their hands and peacefully surrendered, and an hour later. . . stood them on a bridge and shot them down one by one, to drop into the water below and float down, as examples to those who found their bullet-loaded corpses."

Richard Nixon to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on the Watergate tapes: "The only place you and I disagree . . . is with regard to the bombing. You're so goddamned concerned about the civilians, and I (in contrast) don't give a damn. I don't care.". . . "I'd rather use the nuclear bomb. . . Does that bother you? I just want you to think big."

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. "This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love."

... J

what have men done to our world?

It seems to me that the men of this world have made a complete mess of it.

They are the presidents and prime ministers who go to war without thinking of the consequences. They are the (mostly) suicide bombers who blow up innocent victims, either of their perceived enemy or even their own people. They are the representatives of the United Nations Security Council who cannot come to a resolution. They are the politicians who are too craven and cowardly to speak up (excepting the marvellous George Galloway). They are the huge majority of the prison population.

I wonder if women could do better?? T

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Moab Musings 4

Sitting in the comfort of my home, at my desk looking out at the tree at the bottom of the garden, and the magnificent view over west and east Amman, I try to type .. but all the thoughts in my head are of the stupidity of war – while the programme Rock in Rio blares out from the TV set – better than news at least.

And then I remember another song – a powerful anti-war rock song back in the seventies by Edwin Starr "War" and that marvelous line "what is it good for – absolutely nothing". It gets voted No. 1 of the best top ten anti-war songs by Ideas Factory and they conclude by saying, "In answer to Edwin's question...War, what is it good for? Well, if nothing else, it provokes some great music".

And that just about sums it up, seeing as we're not going to get a ceasefire, whether in Baghdad, Gaza or Beirut … so the men, women and children of the Arab World continue to "look back in anger" … J

The Truth Will Out

If the world refuses to hear the Arab side of the story - then how about hearing from respected members of the intelligentsia who happen to be true to their faith - Judaism. They see the reality of Israel under its present government as something quite devious, dishonest, hypocritical - even apocalyptic.

So let's try some rebranding:

"self-hating jews" becomes: "true jews"

"anti-semitic" becomes: "anti-zionist"

"Arab terrorist" becomes "Arab resistance fighter"

The axis of evil = Tel Aviv/Blair/Washington

State sponsors of terrorism = America and Israel

I can't get the image out of my head of a banner held high by a Lebanese demonstrator in Beirut; it read



R U STUPID?????"


Monday, August 07, 2006

Beirut Burning

So much to think about these days. In a moment of despair I penned the following... extreme times requires extreme writing. It is basically a plea to humanity to realise the path to peace is a choice we are all capable of making. Why is it so much easier to wage war?

Would appreciate any comments you care to make on the following:

An Ill Wind

I hadn't realized how prophetic my statement 'an ill wind is blowing up the King's Highway' would prove to be when I posted it back in April 2006. Today that ill wind has caste a shadow so bleak, so evil, I can see the horsemen of the apocalypse riding on high.

Is this what you want, oh Israel? Your leaders know no bounds other than hatred, violence, death and wanton destruction of anything that walks and breathes in this Middle Eastern land that is non- Jewish. Prove me wrong.

Can you not see this land of the Middle East - birthplace of civilization, of monotheism – as a place without road blocks, without occupation, without an army oppressing men, women and children; a place where once more Muslim, Christian and Jew can live side by side in peace? So where is the voice of Jewish compassion, where is the hand of tolerance, where is the desire for peace that will make a difference? You can no longer hide behind your immoral army.

All we see is death, all encompassing, all evil, all racist – and all in the name of freedom and democracy, sponsored by a government that thinks it is the leader of the free world. Go tell that to the people of Qana, go tell that to those who do not aspire to your vision of hegemony.

It makes no sense … why are there so many weapons of mass destruction in this world gone mad? You cannot have democracy delivered down the barrel of a gun - many ordinary people of the Middle East can see that, so why can't you people of Israel, or are you the true horsemen of the Apocalypse preparing us all for Armageddon? I don't believe you are, but you are being led astray by manipulative, self-serving politicians from Tel Aviv to Washington.

I just have one question, and that is:

… 'why?' ... J

The Weapons Business

An article in the Jordan Times a few days ago disturbed me. It was about Israel’s weapon industry, and the gist of it was that their $3 billion a year business will probably be hurt because of their aggression in Lebanon. The supposed misfortune has nothing to do with the question of the morality or legitimacy of the war, but rather that there are two obvious failings in their weapons systems. The first is that with over 7,000–odd sorties by the air force into Lebanon, the Israelis were unable to accomplish the goal of destroying Hezbollah bases. The second is that the heavy civilian casualties in Lebanon have tarnished the Israeli reputation that their weapon systems are ‘precise.’ (Whatever ‘precise’ means when it comes to exploding bombs and missiles.)

Thus far the success of Israeli arms sales was based on the fact that their weapons are battle tested! A truly distasteful implication is in the phrase ‘battle tested weapons;’ sort of like surgical strike or collateral damage or friendly fire. As a human being I abhor the dispassionate claim that Israeli weapons, tested on Palestinian and Lebanese people, aren’t as effective as they were supposed to be. Someone should explain this to the wounded and dead Palestinian and Lebanese. I must now infer that newer, more deadly weapons must be tested if Israel’s highly profitable industry is to survive - weapons that will kill more people, or kill and maim more people more precisely.

On route to Aqaba - southern Jordan

How beautiful is this valley?

From the Ras an Naqab to the Wadi al Yutum;

an ancient land that supported civilisations

who settled on its once verdant plains and valleys until the trees were gone and the streams dried up and man moved to pastures green. Except that is, for those whose affinity with the land was stronger still, and remained free to roam in this land of peace and solitude. J Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Just thinking about Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq is exhausting and emotionally draining. So back to the local scene.

Driving through Swefieh this morning just made me think if we cannot manage a small part of Amman what hope do we have for the rest of the country? The new one way system could work quite well if anyone took notice of it. It is chaos with everyone driving merrily where they want and parking in the middle of the road. If the Municipality want to change the system they should mark all the roads correctly and think about enforcing it. I know the police cannot be everywhere but they could earn enough in Swefieh from the fines for traffic offences to help the Jordanian budget!

Now look at our wonderful planning department at the municipality allowing this ridiculous building to be built! T

Friday, August 04, 2006

Mazen's blog

Take up Mazen's call; "Here come the Stars" comments.

"Who Are We" – he asks on 3 August ….

Indeed … been pondering that for a long time …. Am going to Aqaba today. Need to get away, sit by the sea and do/think nothing. Ha, just joking! Imposible to do these days, except wait ... for something. The Red Sea - joins four countries, Jordan, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Wonder what the 'New Middle East' will look like .... for my children and theirs ... when that 'something' happens? J

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Every morning I wake up, putter around the garden and then have my breatkfast and tea with the Jordan Times. ( For three weeks I have been looking for today's banner headlines and accompanying article. It would have had even more effect had it been on the front page day one of the conflict, or at most, week one........z

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Coming Of Age

In mid June 1967 I heard the U.S. President, Lyndon Johnson, say on the radio that America would guarantee the sovereignty of all of the nations in the Middle East. I felt so relieved that I told my husband, “You see! America knows what’s right and you heard what the president said. He wouldn’t say it if he didn’t mean it!” It took me some time before I accepted the fact that President Johnson’s words were lies and that my country had no intention of protecting the sovereignty of any nation in the Middle East except Israel’s. This is when I became of age politically – not by growing up but by being yanked up - into a reality based on a profound betrayal by my own country. American administrations had begun their policy of blind support for Israel while mouthing principles they had no intention of applying.

This coming of age happened when I lived in Jerusalem, newly occupied by Israel. Curfews terrified me since I had small children who might require emergency care. Armed settlers set up road blocks within the West Bank, searched my car, and otherwise held me hostage while they exercised their “illegal?” powers. Police stopped me if I ventured beyond the West Bank since the license plate on my car began with special numbers that announced the presence of an “unwanted and threatening Arab.” During the many times I crossed the bridge I suffered humiliating strip searches and disrespect for my person and my belongings at the hands of the Israeli authorities. I worried about my children’s safety when they traveled to school and even while they were in school. All of this was before the first Intifada in 1989 - before the existence of the WALL and the uncountable examples of even more severe mass punishment against the Palestinian people.

I cannot forget my feelings of helplessness, confusion, and anger at Israel for treating me and my family as lesser human beings. I will never forgive the policies of this state which conscientiously harass, harm, humiliate, and discriminate against Arabs and others who are not Jews. If I harbor such feelings after 40 years, what about the Palestinians and Lebanese who are suffering death and inhuman treatment today? How can any Israeli or supporter of Israel in their right minds expect that it has a future in the region? How will Israel be able to live in peace and honor in the Middle East with a history of 60 years of brutality towards its neighbors - destroying lives, livelihoods, property, and hope?