Friday, October 20, 2017


Toronto, Canada: The new melting pot

     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. https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Syria-US-and-UK-Illegally-Supplied-Chemical-Weapons-to-Proxies-20170818-0006.html

      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.  http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48026.htm

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.
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Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world.   And while you're at it, please buy my books.  https://www.amazon.com/Jane-Stillwater/e/B00IW6O1RM 

Thursday, October 12, 2017


Disaster victim? Need help? Too bad for ya!

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.  www.workers.org/2017/10/10/why-u-s-and-saudi-arabia-back-rohingya-in-myanmar/

     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.
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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.  https://www.amazon.com/Jane-Stillwater/e/B00IW6O1RM


     Plus my latest book, a thrilling murder mystery entitled "Road Trip to Damascus" is now available!  https://www.amazon.com/Road-Trip-Damascus-Jane-Stillwater/dp/1548204730/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1506708458&sr=1-1 

Friday, October 06, 2017


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

     "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. 


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.  http://bouchercon2017.com/

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

     How in the world can we expect a relatively na├»ve (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.
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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.  https://www.amazon.com/Jane-Stillwater/e/B00IW6O1RM


     Plus my latest book, a thrilling murder mystery entitled "Road Trip to Damascus" is now available!  https://www.amazon.com/Road-Trip-Damascus-Jane-Stillwater/dp/1548204730/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1506708458&sr=1-1 

Monday, October 02, 2017


Saudi Arabia: House Arab or field Arab?

    "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.  http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/46084-we-should-have-seen-trump-coming

     And also, do Arab lives in the Middle East matter either?  Clearly not.  https://consortiumnews.com/2017/08/21/covering-up-the-massacre-of-mosul/

      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.   https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-end-of-empire/


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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.  http://straitwellbooks.blogspot.com/2016/04/our-top-best-seller-right-now-is-bring.html 


     Plus my latest book, a thrilling murder mystery entitled "Road Trip to Damascus" is now available!  https://www.amazon.com/Road-Trip-Damascus-Jane-Stillwater/dp/1548204730/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1506708458&sr=1-1 

Friday, September 29, 2017


Israel: From the "You gotta be kidding me" department....

     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!  https://www.yahoo.com/news/israel-going-war-syria-fight-163719157.html

     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!  https://occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/sabra-shatilla-massacre/

     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!  https://static01.nyt.com/images/2017/09/03/arts/03VIETNAMJP1/03VIETNAMJP1-master675.jpg

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

__________________________________________________________

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.  http://straitwellbooks.blogspot.com/2016/04/our-top-best-seller-right-now-is-bring.html 


     Plus my latest book, a thrilling murder mystery entitled "Road Trip to Damascus" is now available!  https://www.amazon.com/Road-Trip-Damascus-Jane-Stillwater/dp/1548204730/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1506708458&sr=1-1 

Monday, September 25, 2017


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

     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. 
https://www.rt.com/news/404365-us-special-forces-isis/

     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?  https://thesaker.is/the-history-of-the-neocon-takeover-of-the-usa-a-4-part-analysis/ 

    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?  https://journal-neo.org/2017/09/18/why-is-the-usa-in-afghanistan-an-answer-to-the-big-question/

     "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.  http://thesaker.is/russian-special-forces-repel-a-us-commanded-attack-in-syria-denounce-the-usa-and-issue-a-stark-warning/

     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.  https://consortiumnews.com/2017/09/25/wpost-pushes-more-dubious-russia-bashing/

     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.

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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.  http://straitwellbooks.blogspot.com/2016/04/our-top-best-seller-right-now-is-bring.html 

Friday, September 15, 2017


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

      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.

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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.  http://straitwellbooks.blogspot.com/2016/04/our-top-best-seller-right-now-is-bring.html