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October 12, 2009

Straight from the Peace Cycle


Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 07:59:46 -0400
Subject: [ThePeaceCycle] TPC Cyclists Update: Day One

Day One
Saturday 11 October

Today the cycling starts! We headed out of Amman in convoy with a police escort, and down a busy main road through the dry and dusty landscape. It was a gentle start, and a good way to get mechanical teething problems sorted out!

Once everything was running smoothly, we pedaled in the sunshine with brown soil and occasional fields of olive and walnut trees by the road.

25km out of Amman is the Madaba camp, home to 30,000 of the 750,000 palestinians who still live in refugee camps more than 60 years since the Nakba (the creation of the Israeli state in 1948). We were met in the Alvada club; a three story building that provides sports and recreational facilities especially for young people. This didn’t seem significant at first, but then we realised there is nowhere else in the camp where activities can be put on for young people. It is badly short of money.

The president of the camp warmly greeted us, and told us about the camp before we had some lovely door and were shown around the camp itself. Because it started as a tent camp and the current breezeblock houses are built on the same sites, it is badly overcrowded and often dangerously built. But there was a fun and friendly feeling to it, with children everywhere and a market atmosphere.

The Jordanian government has provided basic facilities, but the 50-year old school is a UN one with 1,400 children taught in two shifts. The two teachers we met were from the camp – both hold M.A. Degrees and both are incredibly dedicated. They recently were unpaid for 6 months, and there have been no new textbooks or notebooks because of the UN financial crisis.

We were invited impromtu to the presidents house (a very modest building) to drink very sweet mint tea and talk to his mother. She and her family had fled Palestine at gunpoint in 1948 when she was 8 years old. An Israeli settlement has now been built illegally over that house and land. This seemed particularly poignant as among our group is Alexandra Darby, who happens to be 8 years old. She is Middle East Envoy Tony Blair’s niece. It is probably impossible for her to comprehend the story of this elderly lady, who at the same young age lost her home and everything she owned, and also lost part of her childhood.

We boarded a bus back to Amman, but stopped off at the Nebo mountain where apparently God showed Moses the promised land. Today, I wonder who thinks they were promised what and by whom?

The Peace Cycle 2009 is cycling from Amman to Jerusalem to call for justice and peace in Israel and Palestine.
For more information see

Mike’s Blog #1: ‘Pilots on Food Stamps’

This week, the new ‘Mike & Friends Blog’ section will be added to In additional to my blog, I have asked a few people, like Rep. Marcy Kaptur (the Democrat from Toledo who has deservedly become the star of my movie!) and Leah Fried (who helped organize the sit-down strike at Republic Windows and Doors in Chicago), to blog here on my site. Here’s a sneak peek of my first blog post. Enjoy! — MM

Pilots on Food Stamps
By Michael Moore

We’re on the descent from 20,000 feet in the air when the flight attendant leans over the elderly woman next to me and taps me on the shoulder.

“I’m listening to Lady Gaga,” I say as I remove just one of the ear buds. I know not this Lady Gaga, but her performance last week on SNL was fascinating.

“The pilots would like to see you in the cockpit when we land,” she says with a southern drawl.

“Did I do something wrong?”

“No. They have something to show you.” (The last time an employee of an airline wanted to show me something it was her written reprimand for eating an in-flight meal without paying for it. “Yes,” she said, “we have to pay for our own meals on board now.”)

full article

Afghans Trained by Blackwater Defect to Taliban

October 15, 2008 (republished on October 12,2009)
Remember when Sarah Palin said that “the surge principles that have worked in Iraq need to be implemented in Afghanistan.” Well…as Ms. Palin would say, many Afghans working for the Afghan security forces are now switching sides and are now defecting to the Taliban.

Guess who trained many of them? Blackwater!

An Aljazeera producer was able to interview some of those defectors who were unafraid to reveal their identities and were not bashful about their Blackwater issued IDs.

Afghanistan is not Iraq. The surge methods will not work in Afghanistan. Hamid Karzai’s government is on the verge of collapse and it will be hard paying off the Taliban not to attack its forces.

This video is pretty revealing.

Read more at:

see video

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