Archive for June, 2006

Financing the World’s Wars

Search Results – THOMAS (Library of Congress)
If you ever get the change to look through our government’s file cabinets, you’ll be surprised to know how much money YOU are spending on the development of “advanced weapon systems” in Israel… (yes that’s billions a year)
We all must ask why and look every now and then at where our tax dollars are going. Don’t be afraid to contact your representatives with your newfound knowledge.



For expenses necessary for grants to enable the President to carry out the provisions of section 23 of the Arms Export Control Act, $4,442,300,000: Provided, That of the funds appropriated under this heading, not less than $2,280,000,000 shall be available for grants only for Israel, and not less than $1,300,000,000 shall be made available for grants only for Egypt: Provided further, That the funds appropriated by this paragraph for Israel shall be disbursed within 30 days of the enactment of this Act: Provided further, That to the extent that the Government of Israel requests that funds be used for such purposes, grants made available for Israel by this paragraph shall, as agreed by Israel and the United States, be available for advanced weapons systems, of which not less than $595,000,000 shall be available for the procurement in Israel of defense articles and defense services, including research and development: Provided further, That of the funds appropriated by this paragraph, $206,000,000 should be made available for assistance for Jordan: Provided further, That funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this paragraph shall be nonrepayable notwithstanding any requirement in section 23 of the Arms Export Control Act: Provided further, That funds made available under this paragraph shall be obligated upon apportionment in accordance with paragraph (5)(C) of title 31, United States Code, section 1501(a).”

Beauty of Spontaneity

There are photographers, or people in general, who live by a plan. “Failing to plan is planning to fail,” a friend sends all his emails with this quote as a signature.
Planning can be important at times, but for me the best moments in life are the unplanned, the spontaneous.
When I predict the images I will see, or hope for an outcome, I’m always disappointed by what transpires. By expecting something that may never happen, I open myself up for disappointment. For this reason I often battle with the idea of a plan.
After the sun dropped towards California, I strolled along the perimeter of the Wall around Ramallah. Hisham’s horse, Husan, a beautiful pregnant mare, was feeding on some grass in a field just beside the unsightly cement barrier. The scene made me think about how important it is to show the beauty in life when trying to understand the troubles.

Native Rights

Palestine. Who knows what will become of the people native to this land. These boys, and their fathers and mothers who surround them in Menara Circle of Ramallah, call for a “Right of Return.”

Giving Life

What was the best gift you’ve ever got? Maybe it was a stereo? I remember really wanting a snowboard when I was young and my parents getting me a beauty for Christmas.
It’s hard to conjure up your favorite gift when so many are material goods with little meaning attached.
What if someone gave you life? Wrapped in a small package was a longer stay on this fine planet. You can’t hold it, but every time you breathe you remember the gift.
Today I drove to Gaza Refugee Camp (called this because all the Palestinians here originate from Gaza strip) outside Jerash, Jordan. Mara traveled with us back to Amman for her routine checkup.
A new Gift of Life branch in Amman, Jordan, donated the funds required to pay for her heart surgery. She will need two more operations due to her complicated case.
With out-of-pocket donations, this organization raised enough to give Mara life. Surprisingly, the Gift of Life has found a few more children in the area who need similar operations, and they are having trouble raising the less than $8000 needed per child.
It’s so hard to think the amount of money I paid for my car in the US could pay for half of someone’s life.
I know the people in Amman looking for donations if anyone is interested.

Romance of the Sand

Heat. It surrounds you like a wool blanket. It almost itches, a warm rash without a moment’s relief. You hide in the shadows of a rock only to watch as the shade grows smaller and moves towards your feet like lava, until finally the relentless sun envelopes you.
The desert brings romantic thoughts to most people’s minds. Often it can be romantic, but the reality of it is that its temperatures test human endurance and its flies one’s sanity.
After a week of stress I escaped the chaotic life of Amman and made for the southern desert region of Wadi Rum for meditation.