November 15, 2017

I had the flu once, back in 1973…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 5:07 pm

It had been a rather cold winter that year plus I had definitely burned the candle at both ends — working late every night at the local folk-music coffee house, getting up early to take my daughter Ruby off to pre-school five days a week, spending weekdays over in San Francisco’s Castro District as a docent at the Upper Market Street Gallery, hanging out with the Floating Lotus Magic Opera crew at the Woolsey Street House, playing on the Caffè Mediterraneum soccer team and spending time at the Albatross, the Midnight Sun, Brennan’s and dancing to Commander Cody at Mandrake’s whenever my parents could babysit. Plus I had a Tibetan Buddhist boyfriend named Peter and also demonstrated against the corrupt Republican government in Washington during my spare time.

And it was always cold during the winter of 1973. And I was always exhausted. So I dragged myself and little Ruby down to Puerto Vallarta for two glorious weeks in the sun on the beach at Yelapa.

We got as far as San Diego before the flu struck.

Good grief, do I remember having that flu. And I vowed never to get the flu ever again. And I haven’t. And it wasn’t because of having no damn flu shots either.

“Your mind wants to keep going going going like a robot,” someone told me back then, “but your body needs rest. So your mind and your body have a big struggle over this and your mind always loses — because your body simply goes out on strike. And that’s exactly what a flu is. It’s your body going on strike until it finally gets to rack up more hours in bed than your mind thinks that it needs. That’s why, ultimately, there is no real prevention technique for the common cold. Or for the flu either.”

“But what about germs!” I replied.

“Flu germs are constantly with us, 24/7. Constantly. They are everywhere. But they can only actually get to us when our body’s defenses are down.”


So from that day to this, I have always made sure that my body has no real reason to go on strike. And I never got the flu again.

PS: It also helps a lot that I also wash my hands. Back in the day, when terrible diseases were rampant, the average American worker avoided baths, lived in unimaginable squalor, had no proper sewage or indoor toilets, survived on bread and potatoes alone and worked 15 hours a day, seven days a week. No wonder diseases were rampant.

Thus it sort of pisses me off that Big Pharma is taking all the credit for stopping all their big long lists of hundreds of diseases — when soap and water (and those brave labor unions that gave us the weekend) are the real stars of the show.


November 12, 2017

Crazy Rich Saudis: Weird new happenings in The Kingdom

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 5:15 pm

After a whole shite-load of oil was discovered under the desert sands of Arabia (and long after Lawrence of Arabia had turned in his camel), unimaginable mountains of moolah started pouring into the treasury of the royal House of Saud.

Back then, wealthy Saudi princes merely contented themselves with having huge harems, buying up Manhattan real estate, sending their sons to Oxford and buying Paris high couture burkas for their daughters. However, after a while this playboy vida loca lifestyle seemed to get boring and these rich Saudi princes decided to try their hands at becoming a superpower instead. “We’ve got the money. Why not?”

But they went about it all wrong.

Instead of heeding the teachings of Mohammed [PBUH], they heeded the teachings of Lewis Carroll instead. “Off with their heads!” they cried. No no no! That’s not how you become a superpower. Trust me. -saudi-prince-helicopter- crash/

America has already traveled down that slippery slope and look what happened to us — broke, decaying internally, morally bankrupt and despised by the rest of the world. “Off with their heads” can only be taken so far in life. Doesn’t anybody read DC Comics any more or go to Spiderman movies? A true superpower uses its powers for good.

The Saudis first entered the superpower arena when they got all tied up in the 1990 Gulf so-called “war”. Massacring thousands of Iraqis for fun and profit? Yummers! So much more exciting than buying fleet-loads of Bugattis and Ferraris. But what next? Buying all those 9-11 “pilots” of course. Then along came al Qaeda and ISIS, the princes’ new toys after that. Isn’t it amazing what money can buy? Their billions and trillions even purchased them an alliance with murderous Israeli neo-colonialists so that the Saudis too could bomb Gaza (and score all-access passes to Tel Aviv’s nightclubs as well as testing their new weapons on people who couldn’t fight back).

What a shame. All that money — now wasted on terror and death.

But wait, things have just gotten even worse in The Kingdom. ISIS is now a hot mess and Yemenis are heroically pushing back against the Saudis’ genocide-for-oil campaign. And now Arabia’s crazy-rich princes are actually fighting each other as well as fighting Iran, Iraq, Qatar, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Armani, Prada and the Green Party. Yikes!

In the past month alone, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been jailing Saudi princes, assassinating Saudi princes and generally shouting “Off with their heads!” to any and all princes who stand in his way.

It’s not easy being a crazy rich Saudi these days. However, being a world superpower without a conscience isn’t easy either. Just ask America.


November 9, 2017

Madam Jane predicts — nothing!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 11:36 am

“I’m all confused about the future,” I complained to Madam Jane this morning over a nice cup of herb tea. “Do you see anything in your crystal ball that can guide me? Should I travel off somewhere to report on the news? Should I stay at home and chill out? And what should I do over Christmas?”

“Sorry,” replied Madam Jane. “I’ve got nothing.” You’ve got nothing? Zilch? Nothing at all? There’s no future for me? Wha?

I’d love to go down to Puerto Rico and help out. I’d love to go off to the Philippines to see how that new anti-colonial president is doing. A trip to Syria is always good. America and Israel always keep saying that they are closing in on Assad. Yeah, right. Seems to me like just another lame excuse to pour more of our taxpayers’ money down an already-very-clogged drain. America’s “war” on Syria is just as useless and cruel now as its “war” on Vietnam was useless and cruel back in the day. America has no business in Syria. But I have!

Maybe I could go off to Juarez. Lots of hot news there about what those NAFTA criminals are up to this time around. Maybe I could go to Flora-duh. Or to Washington DC and watch Joe McCarthy’s ghost deck the halls. Or else try once again to sneak into poor sweet Yemen to report on the ugly Saudi/US-driven genocide there. Or go to almost any place in Africa. There is such a large number of places in America’s worthless has-been outdated dying undemocratic brutal and stupid empire that could use a good op-ed reporter right now — and I am the best!

“Sorry,” replied Madam Jane. “The stars are just not aligned in your favor.” And neither is my bank account either. Maybe I should just hang around here in the San Francisco Bay Area this winter — which seems to be the only sane place left in the world.

“Yes, I can see the Bay Area seceding from the rest of the planet,” replied Madam Jane. “Perhaps you might actually have a future here.” Sounds boring. But I’ll take it. Think globally, act locally? Better that than no future at all.

PS: If I really wanted to write about some of the many lives that have been ruined by the decaying American empire, I would only have to walk down the mean streets of any American city to see thousands of human beings who have been broken by a cruel system that puts the twin evils of power and money above everything else — and especially above the teachings of Christ, Buddha, Moses, Mohammad and just about everyone else I respect.

PPS: Maybe I’ll just have a merry little Bay Area Christmas this year and take public transportation to the Dickens Fair, the KPFA Christmas crafts fair, the Union Square tree-lighting ceremony and, in the spirit of Jesus, to all the away-in-a-manger homeless encampments that are springing up like mushrooms around here. And perhaps I’ll even buy a tree. And celebrate Hanukkah, Buddha’s birthday, the Hindu Festival of Lights, Mohammad’s birthday and any other religious celebration that I can think of.

You can never have too many celebrations of hope — especially when Madam Jane is currently staring off into the void and muttering, “No future. No future at all. I see nothing.”


November 2, 2017

Zionist bullies: Congress is terrified of them — and I am too!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 2:02 pm

Back in the day, a Zionist used to be someone who thought that creating a Jewish state in Palestine (or elsewhere) might be a really good idea.

Israeli and American Zionists today, however, are a whole different kettle of fish. Hell, you can’t even describe them as Jewish any more (sure, they still wear yarmulkes — but only to show off). The Jewish prophet Micah, world-renowned for his intense love of Justice, must be rolling over in his grave right now. And as for Moses, the very first Jew to use a stone to Tweet “Thou shalt not kill or steal”? After watching Dayan, Sharon, Netanyahu and all those treasonous dual-citizenship Zionists in Washington take the Lord’s name in vain again and again (and again), our Moses must be seriously pissed off.

I myself have been bullied by modern-day Zionists and, trust me, it is definitely not a Jewish thing that they do. Emphatically not a mitzvah.

For instance, in the past year alone, Zionists have libeled me extensively on the internet, slandered me in person, posted obscenities on my FB page, arranged for me to be denied entry into occupied Palestine, tried to get my landlord to evict me, manhandled me painfully, wrongfully accused me of practicing law without a license (I’m a notary public), accused me of being too old (!) and even falsely reported me for tax evasion — simply because I went on FaceBook and protested injustices in Palestine.

But all the terrible bullying and stalking that I’ve listed above is just one small account of what has happened to only me alone, just one of over 300 million Americans, just a grandmother, a retiree — basically a nobody with hardly no influence at all. Even my own children don’t listen to me!

And if Zionists take all this trouble to do all these terrible things to just little old me, then you can probably imagine what kind of hard-core gangsta leans they must be putting on people who actually do have any influence — such as our members of Congress, our judges, our generals, our governors and even our presidents:

Actually, our entire American government at every single level seems to be terrified of Zionists — and with very good reason. Government representatives all know for sure that unless they chose Zionists’ and Israeli neo-colonialists’ best interests over choosing what is best for America, then they will never get re-elected. But our government guys aren’t the only ones who are terrified of Zionists.

College professors are terrified of saying anything against Zionists, scared out of their wits that they might become the next Denis Rancourt or Norman Finkelstein — both fired for speaking out against the brutal and illegal occupation of Palestine.

Victims of Hurricane Harvey are scared out of their wits that if they don’t sign an agreement to make Israeli Zionists their new BFFs, then they won’t get any government aid.

The American media is scared out of its wits to print anything even remotely truthful about how much influence Zionists have had in orchestrating the ghoulish slaughter of folks in Yemen, Libya, Syria, Gaza, Iraq, Iran, etc. Instead, our ultra-bullied media only talks about Russia’s imaginary influence here — with no mention at all of Israeli Zionists’ death-grip on America’s political balls. That’s just crazy. I’ve never had to worry about any Russians threatening Congress, sinking the USS Liberty, trying to get me evicted or chasing me down the street.

And all the rest of us Americans are scared out of our wits too, especially when we recite the Pledge of Allegiance — scared that we will be accused of being anti-Semitic if we support American interests over the interests of Zionists. “Never take a knee against Israel,” we have all learned the hard way.

So far, American taxpayers have spent approximately eleven trillion dollars trying to support the hot mess that Zionists have created in the Middle East — so far. Now that’s scary!

We Americans get all up-in-arms when our children are bullied at school, right? And yet when Zionists bully our senators and judges and presidents, Americans don’t even seem to notice — let alone care.

PS: How come Mueller didn’t indict Netanyahu too? Or that guy who owns all those casinos in Vegas and Macao? Or any one of those PNAC traitors in DC who drooled over the mere thought of having a “new Peal Harbor” and practically danced the Hora on 9-11? Or just about anyone in AIPAC. Or both Bush conspirators or the Clintons or Obama or Trump. C’mon, Mueller. Dig a little deeper here. Make the prophet Micah proud.

DSCN2505 - Copy


Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world. And while you’re at it, please buy my books.

October 23, 2017

Toronto, Canada: The new melting pot

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 2:51 pm

Thanksgiving is coming up pretty soon, right? Pilgrims and Indians, turkeys and pumpkin pies. So now might be a good time to ask ourselves, “Why did the Pilgrims come over here in the first place?” Let us review.

It was cold and wet and rainy on Plymouth Rock back in 1621 and there was no WalMart and no AirBnB. Pilgrims must have been out of their minds to come here! So why did they come? Pilgrims came here because Britain was a hot mess back in the day.

Today, Americans just love to go visit Merry Old England and I myself totally look forward to the annual San Francisco Dickens Christmas Faire every year. But Britain wasn’t like that back when the Pilgrims left it — way before Prince what’s-his-name married Kate Middleton.

No, the Pilgrims left Britain because they were forced to. It was a matter of life and death. They were basically refugees. And a whole bunch of other refugees from all over Europe followed them here later — and America became a huge melting pot of ideas, cultures and religions.

But now the New World’s melting pot has moved to Toronto. Everywhere I look here, I see people from foreign lands who, like the original Pilgrims, also came to seek refuge from the craziness of their former homelands. But there is a really big difference between the 1621 Pilgrims and the 2017 Toronto refugees — and the difference is clear.

Every single refugee in Toronto (and there are thousands and thousands of them from all over the entire world) is here in Toronto today for one reason and one reason only: Because their own home country has been systematically attacked, invaded, bombed, infiltrated, irradiated, impoverished, stolen and/or devastated by the USA.

PS: Back in 1620, American Indians were perfectly happy to live where they lived — until the Europeans came, that is. Not such a hot Thanksgiving for them, now was it? More like a Halloween.



October 13, 2017

Disaster victim? Need help? Too bad for ya!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 6:00 am

Here’s a poem I just wrote:

Hurricanes, wildfires and floods — oh my!
“Help Help Help!” you mournfully cry.
“You’re on your own,” our corporatized government replies.
“We gots other uses for your dollar supply.”

Wait, what? Exactly what other uses are our corporatized government talking about? “Don’t we pay out our hard-earned tax dollars so that our government will have enough money saved up to be able to help us out in emergencies like these — sort of like paying into an insurance policy and then expecting a return?” You might think that. And you would be wrong.

Fire destroyed your home? Obsessed gunmen shot up your kids? Floods made a wreck of your new carpet? Hurricanes stole your front porch? Too bad for ya. All your tax dollars have gone off to Wall Street and War Street. None left for you. Get over it.

Currently, our tax dollars are going almost exclusively toward making

America’s billionaires even richer than they now are. “Crazy Rich Americans.” Sorry, but you ain’t never gonna get your hands on that $$$ again — even though it was originally yours in the first place. Trickle-up economics. Sucks to be you.

And it sucks to be living in the Middle East too, BTW. Americans now look on in horror at the brutal firestorms raging through NorCal. And yet nightmare firestorms like these are an everyday occurrence in places like Iraq, Libya, Syria, Gaza, Ukraine, Afghanistan, etc. — thanks to America’s very own masters of “war”.

PS: I’m up here in Toronto at a convention of murder-mystery readers and writers. But there’s really no great mystery about who is murdering America’s national budget. See above.

PPS: Toronto is the ultimate melting pot for all kinds of races, ethnicities and cultures. “There are at least 120 languages spoken here,” someone just told me. I didn’t even know that there even were 120 languages.

“And Toronto is one of the safest cities in the entire world.” Muslims on every street corner, Blacks and Asians everywhere you look — as well as a hecka lot of White people. And everyone gets along just fine.

And the police here don’t need or want to dress up like Robocops and/or ride around in tanks. And nobody here tries to blow up anything or shoot up stadiums or schools either.

So what’s my point? How come, after America spends so much money making “war” on so many countries on the other side of the globe, that somehow America’s “wars” always seem to come home to roost in America? Perhaps Canadians have a better idea.


October 6, 2017

“Road Trip to Damascus”: My new online book-launch party!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 2:10 pm

“How exactly does one go about writing a book,” you might ask. It’s easy. Write about something you know. Write 500 words a day until you have a whole bunch of pages. Get it published. Sit back and be all proud of yourself. But then comes the fun part — throw yourself an online book-launch party including digital confetti, digital balloons and even digital cake! Then invite all of your friends.

Yes, I really did just finish writing my very first murder-mystery. Yes, it is now available on Amazon and Kindle. Yes, it has a hot new cover photo of me being far ahead of the current punk trend by dying my hair black, way back in 1965 (Abby on NCIS eat your heart out). And, yes, the book is reasonably priced. And interesting. And fun. Do please buy it now.

Buy it here:

PS: I’ll soon be leaving for this year’s BoucherCon book convention in Toronto, and will be trying to get all the murder-mystery lovers there to buy my book too. Wish me luck.

PPS: Here’ the blurb on the back of my book:

How in the world can we expect a relatively naïve (and unarmed) soccer mom from suburban Virginia to be able to take on the meanest and most powerful super-villain in history—and then actually live to tell the tale? And how can she also find time to search across the entire planet for a missing physics professor on the run for his life? And can she also get her kids to soccer practice on time….

As Marcy travels from city to city across the globe while desperately attempting to save Professor Ayyad and his earth-shattering new discovery that could change the international balance of power forever, our heroine is obviously into this mix way over her head.
These daunting tasks seem impossible for Marcy to accomplish—as she struggles to survive a dangerous mission that resembles playing “Where’s Waldo” with the Devil. But unfortunately she is the only person available who can save the professor, bring down an evil empire and even return to suburban Virginia before anyone in her family notices that she is gone.

Book cover front

October 4, 2017

Saudi Arabia: House Arab or field Arab?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 4:45 pm

“Black Lives Matter” is a slogan that is frequently used in America today. But do Black lives really matter in America right now? Probably not.

And also, do Arab lives in the Middle East matter either? Clearly not.

But what about all those rich dudes in Saudi Arabia? Will all their crazy-rich moola save them from ultimately being seen as just a better-dressed version of “raghead” by the West, where Islamophobia is rank? Do Saudi lives really matter? Or are the Saudis only there to serve Western leaders their sweet tea before being sent back out to pick cotton again?

PS: Between the massacres in Yemen, Gaza, Mosul, Raqqa and Las Vegas as well as the callous treatment of victims of Irma, Maria and Harvey, one beings to wonder if any human life matters any more.

Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world. And while you’re at it, please buy my books — thus helping me support my addiction to Justice and Truth.

Plus my latest book, a thrilling murder mystery entitled “Road Trip to Damascus” is now available!

Mount Arafat (2)

September 29, 2017

Israel: From the “You gotta be kidding me” department….

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 11:28 am

Believe it or not, Yahoo News just ran with the following headline: “Israel is Going to War in Syria to Fight Iran”. Then the article goes on to say, “Israeli officials believe that Iran is winning its bid for dominance in the Middle East.” Yeah, duh!

Of course Iran is winning that bid — winning it hands down, taking the trick without even trying. And why? Just think for a minute. Why would anyone in their right mind in the Middle East even consider wanting Israel to be the dominant force in the Middle East when everyone there clearly sees what Israeli neo-colonialists have done to the Arabs in Gaza — and now have in mind for them too.

After seeing exactly what abominable horrors go on once Israeli neo-colonialists get their hands on your turf, Arabs have no choice but to fight tooth and nail to keep this nightmare from happening to them too. Good grief, can you blame them?

As the Biblical prophet Micah once said, “A little bit of love and justice goes a long way.” And in this case, a little bit of dominance by the sadists in Tel Aviv goes a really really long way. Would you seriously want the butchers of Sabra and Shatilla to get their hands on your home town? With Yom Kippur upon us, how can these creepy gonifs even have the chutzpah to claim to be Jewish!

Would you really want to invite these dudes to your party? Might as well just invite Freddy Kreuger.

And speaking of nightmares, who the freak on this entire freaking planet would ever want to invite America to their party either? Everyone in this world with any kind of a TV set saw in glorious living color exactly what happened to Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Honduras, Chile, Ukraine, Libya — and even freaking Puerto Rico — after America arrived at their party without an invitation. “Nightmare on Elm Street”? Nah, global nightmare. Eat your heart out, Freddy!

Why would anyone on earth ever want America to be the “dominant power” here either?

American Gothinc Sept 2017

September 27, 2017

There’s a McCarthyism app for that: Jumping on the anti-Russian bandwagon

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 2:20 pm

Did we learn nothing from the 1950s horrors created by Senator Joe McCarthy, the infamous House Un-American Activities Committee and that stupid disaster euphemistically called The Cold War? Apparently not. I don’t know about you but I myself never want to live through that sorry-arsed shite ever again. I’d rather eat worms.

And do we really want a whole new generation of American children to spend their entire childhoods hiding under their desks at school, thinking that duck-and-cover will save them from nuclear attacks and having nightmares about atomic bombs — when all this neo-McCarthyism is a made-up danger meant to sell weapons and further unmanly political gains — just like the original McCarthyism was?

Russia saved Syria from ISIS. We should be proud of Putin, be glad to have him as an ally and not turn him into a villain when anyone who bothers to do even a modicum of research can easily find out that it was America that sponsored ISIS. Geez Louise.

And then there’s this: Israel tampered with our 2016 elections Israel tampered with our 2014 elections. Israel tampered with our 2012 elections. Israel tampered with our 2010 elections. Israel tampered with our 2008 elections. Israel tampered with our 2006 elections. Israel tampered with our 2004 elections. Israel tampered with our 2002 elections — and Israel also tampered with our humongous post-9-11 policy disasters. How come no one is screaming bloody murder about Israel these days?

Saudi Arabia is a horrid dictatorship — one that makes Putin look like freaking Saint Theresa. So are we starting a New Cold War with the Saudis? Don’t make me laugh.

And why the freak is America spending trillions of dollars in Afghanistan now — as well as in the past 16 bloody gruesome gory unproductive years? According to journalist Caleb Maupin, it’s to give Russia trouble. Do we really need to spend trillions on giving Putin a headache? When it is you and I who are getting the headache instead?

“Russia Russia Russia.” America sounds like the Brady Bunch.

Do you really wanna poke at the Russian Bear — who would much rather just stay in its cave and hibernate? Well then go on ahead. But don’t be surprised when the Russian Bear (and the Chinese Bear and the Iranian Bear too) gets pissed off, comes out of hibernation and bites you in the arse. But, unfortunately, it will also bite me in the arse too. Sucks to be us.

But go on ahead with your bad self, America. Go ahead and jump on the anti-Russian bandwagon. See what it got you in the 1950s. See what it will get you now. The new McCarthyism 2.0 app? It’s just as full of dangerous viruses and bugs now as it was way back then — or worse. Much worse.

Russians aren’t perfect — but they are human beings. Americans aren’t perfect either — but we also are human beings as well. And to let our politicians and media convince us that Russians are demented animals and not actual people who we would enjoy meeting and talking to, is to deny our mutual humanity. And to do that is just one small step short of cannibalism. Is there an app for that too?

PS: I can’t believe that this is actually happening here in Berkeley right now. Trump supporters just arrived at Camp Here & There and started threatening homeless people. You gotta be kidding me! Why aren’t those Trumps supporters picking on The Generals and Wall Street, their true enemies, instead of the vulnerable homeless? Because they are bullies. Duh.


September 17, 2017

Not lost in translation: A report from North Korea by a Lebanese journalist

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 4:26 pm

An Arab-speaking friend of mine just sent me his translation of an article in Al-Akhbar, written by a journalist who was actually in North Korea recently — unlike most American journalists who are basically arm-chair speculators who wouldn’t go near Pyongyang with a ten-foot pole and, instead, just want to make up negative stories.

The author was writing about celebrations of the 69th anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea few days ago. She says, “North Koreans have not been able to relax and take a breath from hostilities since the end of World War II”. Good grief. That’s a hecka long time to live in fear. And also remember that in the two years after 1950, five million Koreans were slaughtered by American invaders. Think Iraq’s Shock and Awe — only on a much larger scale. Pyongyang, for instance, was totally flattened, all due to the same type of lies that started the U.S. “war” on Iraq.

The article’s author accompanies a Lebanese soccer team to the Hermit kingdom and here are the results.

“Months before my trip, I learned by chance that a soccer match would be bringing the Lebanese national football team to play the Korean team in Pyongyang, so I applied to accompany the team. ‘No kidding!’ was the first reaction of my colleagues, who admitted that no one ‘even thinks of escorting the sports teams there’.

“‘Why are you in Pyongyang anyway?’ is a question I’ve been asked constantly both before and during my five-day visit to the Korean capital, and before even reaching it.” She was given many warnings before she left. “Do you know that you will not be able to talk to anyone on the street over there? You do know that you won’t be able to write a political article when you get back, right? And after this trip, you will not be able to get any visa to any other country!” Interesting. Sounds more like the USA’s policy than North Korea’s. She was also warned that, “They will take away your books, pens, camera and phone.”

“It was a tiring journey and after long travel, we got to Beijing and from there to Pyongyang via Korean Airlines. The elegant flight attendants smiled, but nothing reduced our tension, enthusiasm and adrenaline as we entered Pyongyang airport, which was empty of any other passengers. The inspection was precise, automatic and manual, the security men and women checked our faces carefully. One of the security personnel at the entry window smiled and stamped my passport, giving me permission to enter. No one searched my larger suitcase, and the security men did not open my carry-on bag. They asked me very gently to hand over my phone and the camera. After a few seconds, they returned them to me without any question, request or condition.” TSA, eat your heart out!

“Tension gradually disappeared and the view of green fields along the road leading to the city helped to calm minds and souls. We entered Pyongyang at sunset. Workers and staff returning from their jobs, walking and biking, wide paved clean streets semi-empty of cars, and lots of trees on both sides of the road. Pyongyang welcomes its visitors with an amazing serenity. The calmness was even present inside the hotel’s huge lobby, until it was broken by the noise of the Lebanese soccer team complaining about not having wi-fi, only cable internet.

“Despite the weight of the boisterous Lebanese presence, the staff maintained permanent warm smiles, quick service and a helpful response to all demands. The female cleaning workers apologized shyly when they entered our rooms to perform their duties. They noted that I am the only woman in the Lebanese delegation. The next day, they replaced the blue bed sheets with others embroidered with pink flowers. Koreans do not pretend their kindnesses. They perform them every day, in their smiling greetings in the elevators, in the shop, and in the restaurant inside the hotel…. On the street, however, passers-by look at you directly in the eyes with a little surprise and a lot of seriousness.” Americans could use a few such lessons in politeness.

“The traffic of the passers-by does not get lighter until nightfall. Everyone is walking with fast steps, walking a long distance on their feet. No one has a private car, and the public transportation is very small compared with the population, so the buses and trams are always overcrowded. Women, as well as men, take part in cleaning the streets of the city, mowing its grass, arranging the squares’ gardens and paving their pavements. Hygiene and cleanliness are eye-catching in the main and secondary streets and even in the underground tunnels of the road. The beautiful and quiet city is lying between two rivers, with a constant human movement during the day. The atmosphere is polluted by the smoke of nearby factories, but the abundance of trees does not make you feel the smoke. The most striking aspect of the city are the green, pink, yellow and blue buildings, like huge Lego pieces, a beautiful childish feeling in a nuclear capital. The wide sidewalks include a restless bicycle line and very few passers-by talking on their cell phones, which most often takes place in the vicinity of the train station.”

Can you imagine Americans taking care of their cities with such pride? Or even putting their cell phones down long enough to enjoy the beauty of their cities? Nah.

“Thus, a visitor to Pyongyang is able to restore the pleasure of seeing the faces of the passersby and their features — their heads in their natural position, raised, exposed, not curved and attached to cell phones. Revolutionary posters and national emblems adorn some columns and walls and pictures of flowers are also spread across the city and on locally manufactured products. The magnolia flower is a national symbol of the country. There are public parks filled with them in the city. In the residential neighborhoods, there are public parks, playgrounds for children and others facilities for sports. In the afternoon, these playgrounds are filled with boys and young people who practice their various sports. Some families also stretched on the green gardens and rest from productive daytime labor.”

And there’s culture here too. “There is a huge People’s Library building, an Art Museum, the National Theater, the Cinema Hall, the Recreation Center, Hairdressing and Body Care. Here is an outdoor music band playing and practicing, and women in colorful traditional costumes practicing for the upcoming National Day celebrations.

“The silence of the city is enchanting, but it may sometimes feels sad and gloomy. People are calm and tired as well. Fatigue appears on faces and slim bodies — the hard work of a country under the harshest economic sanctions in the world, and in political isolation for decades. In fact, Koreans have not yet taken a safe breath since the end of the Second World War! After the Japanese occupation was disbanded in 1945, the Korean War between its northern and southern parts came only five years later, with much blood spilled and divisions within one people on a land no longer united.” That “war” on Korea was sad, sadistic and unnecessary in my humble opinion — even after watching too much MASH.

“The Americans had completely destroyed Pyongyang, and its people rebuilt it with their hands, but the truce that ended the Korean War in 1953 did not end the tragedies of the Koreans. While the country began to promote urbanization, industrialization and agriculture, it was also hit by floods that caused great famine, destruction of infrastructure and land between 1995 and 1998, and new floods within the last year. Despite all this, many today do not speak about what the Korean people have suffered and still suffer up to this moment. All that matters to Western and U.S. propaganda makers is to present an exaggerated, cynical and often unrealistic picture of the most anti-US radical regime in both word and deed since the collapse of the Soviet Union (USSR).

“But what about the citizens themselves and the rise of their country and the challenges they face daily due to sanctions? What about their achievements in sports and music despite everything? There is no mention of this in the Western daily media because it does not serve the cartoonish picture that the Western media seeks to circulate.

“During my stay in the Korean capital, I took 166 photos with my camera. The Korean attendant of the Lebanese team asked to see some of them but then deleted only two pictures because one of them had a slanted frame that had an impact on the image of the late Korean president’s face; and the other because it showed one of the slogans written on the walls in a truncated manner that diminished its meaning. The slogan, by the way, says, ‘The more crises … the more straight ahead we go.’

The main feeling in Pyongyang seems to be, “What does the West want from us? To surrender to their sanctions?”

Then the journalist had the same experience that I had when I was in North Korea a few years ago. “To provide visitors to Pyongyang with an accompanying person to go with them wherever they go outside the hotel, is known to anyone who wants to visit the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and if the visitor is a journalist, the escort seems inevitable. The accompanying person of the Lebanese sport team in Pyongyang, named Sen, was joined by another accompanying person who serves as an interpreter (translator) for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), named Ree. Sen and Ree were two young men in their 20s. They committed no repressive behavior. They did not let us feel that there was any censorship or restraint in our movement. On the contrary, they eased our visit in more than one place. Sen, for example, organized tours of the Zuchei Tower, Kim Il Sung Square and the largest sports stadium in the world — while Ree, the interpreter, spoke to me about politics, the ‘nuclear subject’, life in general and the conditions of Lebanon and its region.”

Regarding the nuclear subject, Ree asked her, “Have you heard the news today? What do you think about what happened,” with regard to the test of the hydrogen bomb. The journalist had followed the news on TV in her hotel room, which received Chinese and Japanese TV channels, France 24, English Aljazeera and Russia Today (RT).

She answered, “From one side, I do not like the idea of a nuclear bomb, and it frightens me; but from the other side, you are telling the world that you are strong as well.” Ree smiled and said, “Do not be afraid, we will not throw the bomb at your country, it is only for the peace of our country.”

Ree learned his excellent English at the Pyongyang Institute of Languages. What? Not by watching Sesame Street?

“‘It is our right to protect the security of our country and our people,’ Ree explained regarding his view of possessing of nuclear weapons, and then asked, ‘How should we act, for example, toward the implementation of military drills on our borders by the United States and South Korea? Why can’t we address their constant threats?’ He paused a little then continued saying: ‘What do they want from us? To surrender and submit to their sanctions?’

“On one occasion, Ree gently invited me to taste Korean beer, Taedonggang, made locally from white rice. We sat in the lobby of the hotel more than once to continue our discussions on a variety of things. The young man was surprised when I told him that South Lebanon had been under Israeli occupation for years and he admired the popular and armed resistance that drove the Israeli enemy out of Lebanese territory. ‘Resistance and patriotism are the most important things I have learned in life,’ Ree said. This young Korean dreamed of visiting some of the world’s capitals that he hears about while accompanying tourists. His face changed positively when I told him that in Lebanon, there are many who saw Israel and the United States as enemies, and that I, too, hated U.S. imperialism.” Me too!

“‘I learned yesterday that the U.S. threw a bomb in Syria and killed many civilians, and that saddened my heart,’ he said seriously and honestly. Ree was shocked when he learned that in Lebanon we had to pay huge sums for medicine, education and sports — while they were all free in his country.

“Ree accompanied me at the Kim Il Sung Stadium during the enjoyable Korean-Lebanese match. He was enthusiastically encouraging his own country’s team yet delighted me by being the only person among the 29,000 spectators who encouraged the Lebanese team. Then he reassured me: ‘No one will bother you. People here are friendly.’

“He worked hard to convince the organizers to allow me to take pictures from the pitch, because I was not a certified press photographer. He succeeded and, thanks to him, I was able to take pictures of the Lebanese team and the match. In the break between the two halves, we talked about God and faith, and we agreed that faith in one’s own abilities is very important.

“When we left North Korea, Ree escorted us to the airport, to say farewell to us, and we shook hands with some team members with affection. ‘You are not alone,’ I finally told him. ‘We are with you and understand your suffering because we have lived wars and tested its horrors in Lebanon as well.’ Ree lowered his eyes and said, ‘Thank you.’

“Ree told me in an earlier meeting that he listens to Korean and Russian music because ‘music makes him feel calm and with tranquility,’ after long and hard work as an interpreter. So, I left him a Fayrouz Ziad Rahbani album as a gift, wishing him to have the best and the most elegant image of Lebanon.

In the Lebanese journalist’s next dispatch, she wrote, “Leave them in peace. They are the workers who go to their jobs and factories on foot every day. They are the children who learn in their schools that patriotism is like a mother’s love. They are the people of Pyongyang, so good and so shy. They are the tired ones of the injustice of the entire world. They are hard-working in order to remain in their world, which stands in the face of imperialism in all its forms.

“North Korea is the sun that shines on the impact of music and factory wheels.
She is the state that, despite the blockade, is keen on free medicine and education, green gardens, superior sport and early music education. They are the thin bodies and slim faces, their daily worries greater than the mountains. Leave them in peace, and do not increase their load more.”

Holy crap. North Koreans receive free “MediCare for all” and their government actually cares about them? Wow.

“You in the West talk about them with arrogance and irony, describing their world as ‘closed’, and treating them as ‘robotic’ — but for God sake, look in the mirror and in the images spread on your own ‘social’ networking sites. You are the robotic ones to the limit of boredom. You are robotic in your external shapes that don’t match your identities; in the way you speak; your clothes; your smiles; your jokes; your mainstream music; the absence of your wrinkles; the forms of your relationships even including the intimate ones; and the way you live in the smallest details. Look around you, your dominant culture isolates free thinkers, and your generalized ideas classify the different as ‘backward’. You are boasting of your freedom, but the more allegedly open-minded you become, the more racism increases. And your closed mindset builds up even more when borders are erased. You too are walled in, but while your wall is huge, the Korean wall is … Great!

“I will not pretend to know the truth about North Koreans’ lives, their mental state, and how they think. I did not ask them if they were happy, and I did not know whether their love for their leaders was real, but certainly, their love for their country is clear. They are tired and admit it, even in their songs. They are honest. I do not need to ask them this. A look in their eyes says enough. They teach you kindness and they are the most suffering people. They forgive us, although they are floundering in crises that they are not guilty of. They forgive us, we who stood watching them suffering and did nothing.

“I will not claim that the Koreans are perfect, and I will not speculate on what is best for them, but I will salute their productive daily fatigue. I will silence myself in particular, the tourist journalist who came from Lebanon. How can a visitor coming from Lebanon, a country of garbage and feces in food, sewage in fresh water, and poison in medicine, feel superior to any other country in the universe?

“We may deserve what the U.S. and the West have forced upon us by their excessive speed of culture and intellectual flattening, and we may also deserve nuclear missiles sent from oppressed peoples because we do not want to see their tragedies… But surely no one in the world deserves the kindness of the Korean people and their shy smiles. Therefore, let them alone, they do not want anything from us. Let them exist in peace and stop inflicting your misery on them. Perhaps, just then, you may also wake up to your lives, look into the eyes of your beloved ones, finally see the depth of your own tragedy — and also begin to resist.”

PS: But what does all this mean? If North Korea isn’t a Bad Guy after all, then why is the American media trying so hard to make it into one? Why? For money of course. Ka-ching.

Endless “war”? Cold War on Russia and China? War on Muslims? War on crime, war on drugs, war on American protestors? War on Black people, war on immigrants, war on kids, war on pets, war on climate, war on grandma — whatever.

As long as there’s a “war” going on somewhere, then there’s money to be made by people who are not us.


Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world. And while you’re at it, please buy my books — thus helping me support my addiction to Justice and Truth.


September 15, 2017

Zionists vs. Bedouins: Losers take all.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 6:25 pm

Over a century ago, a handful of wealthy Zionists got together and came up with a plan to beg, borrow or steal a “Jewish State” somewhere — but where? Their first three choices were South America, Africa and the Middle East.

They must have tossed a coin to make their decision and the Middle East must have won — or perhaps “lost” might be a better word to use. In any case, Lady Luck appears to have made a very big mistake here. Why? To find out you gotta look at history.

Thousands of years ago, wandering traders called Nabataeans pretty much controlled a whole bunch of the Middle East. Even King Solomon and Alexander the Great couldn’t get them to budge. They also built a legendary capital city — Petra. Nabataeans also served as the prototype for modern-day Bedouins.

Then along came the Brits and the French, and they used their superior military firepower to divide the Middle East into arbitrary “nations” — but the people there had been Bedouins for too long and the European late arrivals soon discovered that getting them to stay inside of these arbitrary “nations” was like herding cats.

And then the Zionists also invited themselves to the party. “This land is mine,” they declared, “and we have the nukes to prove it.”

But still even to this day, the Bedouins still just keep wandering around the Middle East like they have done for the last 4,000 years — even despite all those neo-colonialist carpet bombings, tanks, F-16s, napalm, DU, concentration camps, occupation, war crimes and torture. Even despite all these decades of neo-colonialist cruelty, the salt-of-the-earth Bedouins still have their horses, their camels, their trade routes, their tribes, their Ford 150s, their slingshots — and their will to survive.

Even after over a century of being invaded by Brits, Turks, Zionists, Saudis, Frogs and Americans, the Bedouin are still taking care of business. It’s like the old story of the tortoise and the hare. In the long run, my money is on the Bedouin. Still don’t believe me? Just ask the ancient Romans, Greeks, Israelites — and of course Ozymandias. “Boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretch far away”.

And the biggest irony yet? According to Google, both the ancient Israelites (not to be confused with the current Israeli neo-colonialists of European origin BTW) and the ancient Nabataeans have all sprung from the very same people, all originated in the very same place. Where? Wait for it? YEMEN! Yes indeed. Both of these wandering tribes have their roots in the very same country that Israeli, American and Saudi neo-colonialists are currently working so very hard to destroy. Yemenis are their homies!

PS: Speaking of Bedouins, I just met one personally and he guided me all through the ancient Nabataean city of Petra — on his horse, in a genuine Bedouin outfit reminiscent of Captain Jack Sparrow or Indiana Jones (if nothing else Bedouins are flexible — and they too watch TV).

Ahmed, aka Captain Jack, was born in a cave, rides a white horse and guides tourists around Petra for a living. He taught me how to paint my eyes with kohl to prevent sun damage, showed me some awesome Roman ruins further up the road, demonstrated Bedouin hookahs, took me to a Byzantine monastery by donkey-back and introduced me to beautiful Petra at sunrise.

He also gave me a small glimpse into the hard and determined life of the Bedouin and their strong will to survive.

The Zionists may have nuclear weapons as well as America, banksters, industrialists and even “God” on their side — but I’m still gonna place my bets on the Bedouin. I’m gonna bet the farm that in another thousand years from now, long after the Zionists have moved back to Hollywood, Bedouins will still be following their historic trade routes all across the Middle East.

Zionists should have chosen South America or Africa instead.

PPS: If you ever find yourself to be a tourist in Petra any time soon, please be sure to ask for a guide named Captain Jack — and tell him that Jane sent you. Or else you can tell him yourself — like most Bedouins, he too has a FaceBook page

And also, while you are in Petra, please stay at the My Home Hotel — just 10 dinars a night (that’s the equivalent of 15 US dollars — dollars used to be worth a hecka lot more on the international monetary market before the RepubliDems screwed stuff all up).


September 8, 2017

Petra, Jordan: Yet another victim of 9-11

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 7:10 am

Of all the countries affected by 9-11, America has been hit the absolute worst — but not in the way that most Americans still think. According to David Ray Griffin’s new book “Bush and Cheney: How They Ruined America and the World,” It wasn’t the Twin Tower bombing that screwed us Americans royally. It was the war-mongering anti-democratic racist corporate-owned police state that we’ve been stuck with as a result.

I want my old pre-9-11 America back!

In any case, I am currently hanging out at one of the ultimate Seven Wonders of the modern world (according to UNESCO — honest, I didn’t make this stuff up!) Petra by moonlight? One of the most amazing sights you could ever see in your life. An adventure in esthetic fabulousness for sure. Bucket-list awesomeness!

Plus I got to ride horseback through it all and escorted by an extremely handsome Bedouin guide. Rudolph Valentino, eat your heart out.

There’s a blurb inside the Petra museum stating that the people who built Petra were lovers — not fighters. They believed in diplomacy above all. Well, not exactly above everything else. They believed in Art for Art’s Sake even more. “If it isn’t beautiful, then don’t waste our time,” appeared to be their motto. These were my kind of people!

America spends trillions of $$$ on weapons and war every year. The Nabataeans who built Petra would have been totally shocked. “What a waste of time and money,” they would have said, “when you could be painting or playing music or carving in stone instead.” I gotta agree with them there. After all, what have all its many nefarious, perfidious, immoral and downright slimy “wars” achieved for Americans today? Plus everyone all across the planet hates us and fears us — among other things (see above).

The American military-industrial complex seems to have mistaken anger and fear for beauty and love. Not the same thing, guys. Get real.

Anyway, here I am in beautiful Petra, hanging out with Bedouins and feeling very very very lucky. Are you also feeling that lucky too? Or just lied to, threatened and over-taxed? But I digress.

On September 11, 2001, we all know what happened (or at least we pretend that we do). And I’ve already mentioned some of the rotten stuff that has happened to us since then. Plus all those billionaires created by weapon sales, millions of people needlessly slaughtered in the Middle East and America’s economy in shreds. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria are in shreds too. But Petra, in Jordan, is also a victim of 9-11. Petra’s economy is in shreds as well.

“We used to have 5,000 people a day come and tour Petra,” one of the locals just told me, “but now we are lucky if 500 a day show up.” At one of the seven most beautiful sights in the world? Only a very few tourists are showing up?

Get a life, Americans. Stop being so fearful. Come to Petra! Jordan is perfectly safe. Get on over here and see for yourself. I recently met a man who moved back to Jordan within 48 hours after his convenience store in Chicago suffered its second armed robbery in a month.

And today at 5:00 am I walked down the main street of the town surrounding Petra. Safe as houses. Can you do that in your home town in America? I love Petra. Americans, please stop being such wimps and come visit.

Bottom line: America has never been the same since 9-11. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We need to get some art and beauty back in our lives — and Petra has enough to go around for all of us.

PS: “But just look what happened to the people of Petra,” you might say. “For all their love of art, they are no longer around.” All too true. But perhaps, like Texas and Florida, climate change also did them in.

Monestary 5

September 6, 2017

Grilled: My experience at the Israeli border

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 5:22 am

There are chickens outside my window right now — but they are not Israeli chickens. They aren’t even Palestinian chickens either. Long story. Bethlehem was my original destination. But then I got side-tracked for a while.

At the border between Jordan and Israel/Palestine the other day, I handed over my passport to a sweet-looking 20-something Israeli border guard. She did not give it back. I waited an hour. “Can I please have my passport back now?” I meekly asked a few times more — long after almost everybody and his brother who came on the bus with me had already passed through.

“It’s in the office.”

I waited another half-hour, asked a few more times and then finally went off to the freaking office myself. “The computer’s down,” they told me at the front desk. What? They want to run my name through a computer now? Now it’s beginning to sound a bit too much like Big Brother. But still, I bet they won’t have to search very far. I’ve been on some weird hyper-Zionist’s radar a lot lately and he’s been threatening to use his influence in Israel to get me banned there. Apparently Israel is a democratic country — just as long as you don’t practice free speech. But maybe he’s Netanyahu-The-Hater’s new BFF? If so, I’m screwed.

At that point, however, this really nice young woman and this really nice young man popped up from out of nowhere and started to lead me off into the bowels of the office’s inner sanctum, a warren of small interrogation rooms in the back. “This is bound to end badly,” I thought to myself, seriously considering grabbing onto a door frame, shouting “Attica!” and refusing to move. But I didn’t.

“Leave your purse and computer bag in this cupboard,” said the really nice young man. Yeah, right.

“How do I know they’ll be safe?”

“We’ll keep an eye on them.” I just bet that you will. But the really nice young man appeared to be non-threatening, friendly and having only my best interests at heart — plus did I really have any other choice?

Next they herded me into one of their many interrogation rooms where a friendly-looking detective-type was seated at a computer — maybe like that guy on CSI? And he started asking me questions. “Are you here to be in a demonstration?” Er, no.

“I’m here to go to Bethlehem and have a nice chit-chat with Jesus.”

“Have you ever been in any demonstrations before?” Well, sure. I’m from freaking Berkeley. What do you think. MLK, Vietnam, 1960s stuff. Homelessness, ICE, that illegal Syria invasion, neo-Nazi White supremacists, modern stuff.

“Do you know about ISM?” The International Solidarity Movement, Rachael Corrie’s group? If I say yes, will they run me over with a bulldozer too?

“Yes, I do,” I replied. “And I also know about AIPAC.” Couldn’t resist throwing that in. But then I noticed a tiny video camera on the desk that was pointed straight at me. Oh goodie! Now I’m gonna star in a IDF training film? Gave it a little finger-wave.

“Give us the names of any Palestinians you know.” Hmmm. Let’s see. There’s that guy who owned a grocery store back in Berkeley. I used to buy sandwiches there….

“What do you do for a living?” Now I was really starting to feel intimidated.

“What is this all about?” answering a question with a question. “Can I have my passport back so I can get to Bethlehem before dark? Know any cheap hotels in Bethlehem?”

“Why do you want to come to Israel? Do you know any Lefties here?” Hell, I myself am a freaking Lefty. “And I also know Righties too. Trump is a Righty. Netanyahu is a Righty. And he dresses funny too.”

“Give us some names of people you know.”

“My parents were Righties. That’s why I became a Lefty. And speaking of family, did my children put you up to this?” Then I told him the whole sad story about how my kids owed me money and then how I had worked as an actor in student films and how nobody loves me and my knees hurt and I was hungry and….

It was like pouring one’s heart out to a shrink. But the good part was that after a couple of hours spent grilling me, they did bring me lunch.

“Now. How many Palestinians do you know.” Asked and answered. “Can we see your Facebook page?” Sure. Who wouldn’t want Mossad to look at their FB page?

“There are some things that I really like about Israel — but I really do hate the neo-colonialism of its rulers,” I babbled on. The guy was a good listener. I’ll give him that.

Then he started telling me about my previous trip to Israel ten years ago — and that’s when I realized that he already knew everything about me already.

“Well, thanks for the lunch and everything but I really gotta get going. If you would just give me my passport back?” He smiled. I smiled. The really nice young woman smiled. The really nice young man smiled. We were all totally Kumbaya. “I’ll be sure to say hello to Jesus for you when I get to Bethlehem,” I said after gathering up my stuff. We practically kissed each other goodbye. It was definitely a moment.

But apparently they let an underling do their dirty work. “Sign here, please.” What’s this? “You have been denied entrance to Israel.” On what grounds? “You are a security risk.” And sure enough. “Entry Denied” had been stamped on my passport. Eight hours of my life that I will never get back.

Guess the moral of this story is “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

But if they had actually let me go on to Bethlehem, I would have been totally won over by them and maybe even re-thought my currently-low opinion of Israeli war-mongering, human-rights violating, bullying, neo-colonialism and general tyrannical behavior. Plus I would have helped grow their economy by spending money in Bethlehem too. As it was, however, they had just managed to piss me off.

They could have just ASKED me if I was a security risk instead of playing all those childish cat-and-mouse games. Or they could have just looked at me. Me, a 100-pound grandmother? A security risk to Israel? Did I in any way fit the profile? Not even close.

And now I’m going to go spend all my tourist dollars (such as they are) in Petra instead. Humph. I’ve already been to Bethlehem anyway. Jesus already knows how I stand on truth, justice and “do unto others.” But the trip wasn’t actually a total waste. I still had the remains of my lunch and ate them for dinner when I finally got back to Amman.

And since they already had a whole dossier on me, the interrogators surely must know that I am a writer — and that they have just handed me a great story. I coulda written about the wonders of Bethlehem as planned — but instead I’m gonna write about some dreary back-room interrogation of an American citizen in some dreary no-man’s-land border crossing at the Jordan/Palestine border.

Humph. I didn’t want to spend time with Israeli haters anyway. If I had actually wanted to spend time with haters, I coulda just stayed back home in America.


September 1, 2017

Middle East travel: S-o-o-o frustrating!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 10:10 pm

Here I am in Amman, Jordan — staying at a cheap hotel that only costs $21 a night. But it’s safe and has functioning plumbing, a bed, a card table, several electrical outlets, free breakfasts and an owner who is totally nice — plus the guy in the room next door appears to have a fabulous sex life.

And there are no bedbugs.

But being in Amman is also extremely frustrating from a tourist’s point of view. Why? I’ll tell you why. The ancient Roman city of Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that will totally knock your socks off, is only a three-hour car ride away.


The Syrian border is only 45 minutes away by car — but it might as well be on the moon thanks to ISIS and its BFFs in America, Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

And the border between Jordan and Palestine is only 45 minutes away too — and once on the West Bank, it should only be an hour’s drive to Bethlehem or to Jenin, Ramallah, Jericho or wherever. Jerusalem itself is practically right around the corner from Amman as the crow flies. Hell, even Gaza is not all that far away from where I sit in my hotel room right now. It’s probably even closer than Petra.


But by the time one crosses a very stern border and goes through tons of checkpoints and deals with Israel’s all-pervasive Occupation bureaucracy and the IDF’s whole super-militarized tap dance, one coulda just hired an Uber and driven to Petra three times over — and with 87% less aggravation and at one-tenth the price.

Plus right over from Jordan in the other direction lies Iraq. There’s even a big green sign on the freeway from the airport that reads “Next Exit: Saudi Arabia and Iraq”. And Yemen isn’t that much farther away either. Even Lebanon and the Golan Heights are within driving range of my hotel.


The whole heart of the entire freaking Middle East is not much bigger than the greater San Francisco Bay Area, and it sometimes seems like the only real difference between the two is that the Bay Area doesn’t have colonialism, imperialism and the CIA to tie everything all up in knots. Yet.

PS: I’m still wallowing in the miry swamp of jet lag. Haven’t slept more than six hours in the past four days. Oh well. “Sleep when you’re dead”. Plus once I got past a certain tipping point, I don’t appear to need any sleep at all. But then neither do zombies. But I digress.

PPS: Yesterday I visited The Citadel, Amman’s most famous ruin. And located there, right next to each other, were ancient Neolithic ruins, ancient Roman ruins, ancient Byzantine Christian ruins and ancient Islamic ruins — all in one place.

The moral here? Apparently we humans have all gotta be in ruins before we can finally learn to get along.


August 30, 2017

No body, never mind: 40 hours without sleep

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 1:28 am

We long-distance airplane travelers exist in a whole different world all of our own. Airplanes and airports become our new reality — a new city, a new state, a new nation that is only rooted within the parameters and perspectives of airplanes and airports.

There are completely different rules within this alternate-universe kingdom of air travel than there are for us in real life.

– Eat what is placed in front of you.

– Your flight attendant is boss.

– Make it from one terminal to the next as best you can.

– The passenger in the seat next to you becomes your sudden new family, your instant BFF.

And, most important of all, your body suddenly has more priority than your mind.

My mind races. I’ve gone 40 hours without sleep. I’m starting to feel like a victim of Hurricane Harvey. It all gets down to the basics. Ignore all that blather that your mind is telling you. Keep the body functioning at all costs.

Your family back home has betrayed you? Your country is ruled by greedy war-mongering egotists, bullies, bastards and fools? You hate your neighbor across the street because she hated you first? There is painful injustice in the world that you can’t seem to do anything about?

All that mental agitation pales when you travel by air — and the really important things stand out instead. Can you find room in the overhead bin for your rather large carry-on bag? Will you get enough legroom? Can you score an aisle seat?

After living in my alternative air-travel world for the past two days and after going for 40 hours without sleep (after all, who can sleep on an airplane?), I’ve started to move my priorities around like Legos — and preserving my body just became a whole lot more important to me than listening to whatever random thoughts that my brain can dig up.

PS: I finally arrived in Amman, Jordan, a city that appears to be very much like Los Angeles — sprawling, populous, with lots of freeways, one that really requires a car.

I’m going to sleep like a brick tonight and then tomorrow I’m going to go explore Annan’s wide wide world of public transportation (fingers crossed that it actually exists!)

Next stop after Amman? Hopefully Bethlehem — if the Israeli Defense Force doesn’t screw it all up.


« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

Powered by WordPress