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MONDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2009, 05:24 PM

My name. Your space.

Well, it’s been a long time coming, but we’re up and running now.I hope you enjoy the new look and feel of www.queenrania.jo.

It might have my name on it, but this is your space too. It’s a place where you can contact me directly…give me feedback… post photos… blog back…debate ideas…be part of a global campaign…suggest things for me to do and see…learn more about education…exchange information…and take action on issues we both care about it.

C’mon! What have you got to say for yourselves?

Have a look at My 5 for some inspiration…

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CraigMead
Wednesday, June 9, 2010

LOVE BETWEEN NEIGHBORS - like laughter and tears, rain and sunshine, pain and bliss - without dark how can there be white? In America elderly blacks rarely enjoy "a white dude" in their hood. I know - I work with kids - white, black, asian, arab, persian, hispanic - kids are just kids to me. I can put a "label" on them as black or white, but usually when you're face to face with them that label is gone and labels like HAPPY or SAD, FRUSTRATED or DELIGHTE are much more accurate and useful. But if I go home with a kid (they often drag me home with "You gotta try some of my momma's cooking - she's been asking me to bring you home") and I get there - I get along great with the kids there too...and usually momma since I can cook and don't mind helping out with the dishes (mom's of all colors, religions and nationalities usually like a guest who can cook and do dishes), but sometimes the dad's are a little harder to deal with. Perhaps they were "abused" by a white guy/group and vice versa. Blacks or hispanics aren't the only one's who bring "prejudice" to the table; its certainly not an "Arab/Jew/Christian/Middle East/China/U.S." thing - it happens all over the world. The entire Bush era with the Patriot Act was so inflammatory it increased global prejudices 10 fold if not 1000 fold or more - some people might say it was moronic - but I think the Dixie Chicks said it best on stage in London with "We are embarrassed our President is from Texas." Most Americans and global citizens who have few prejudices were embarrassed Bush was even from planet Earth. But the elders often have this ingrained view of "others", perhaps taught by their parents or their own experiences.

HOW REFRESHING, DELIGHTFUL, ECSTATIC, HEAVENLY...it is when you are from another culture or another land and you walk into a foreign place and the people are shoving food on your plate (always a good place to start)...or a hug at the door and above all else laughter among all family members at your crummy jokes after dinner in their home. A Russian Govt. Agent once said to me as I was leaving Russia "Craig could be captured by Cannibals and before the pot of water was boiling, he'd have them all sitting in it with him like a jacuzzi, every one of them converted to vegetarian." (roughly translated to me by an English speaking member of the farewell group).

Life would be grand indeed if we all had such power to persuade haters to love, prejudice to leave the home, the church, the city and the nation, and if elders (and children) abused by another culture or neighborhood group, fearful and full of revenge, could heal, love, embrace and laugh with old enemies. It happens a lot with Vietnam Vets I know who have returned to Vietnam and can happen with Israeli's and Palestinians WHEN that war is over. The problem is not that Israeli kids can't dine with, laugh with and learn with Palestinian kids - it might take a little work and a few camping trips, but kids bond fast and heal fast.

Sadly, the problem often lies with the elders and people in power, whether its a nation or just a community; i.e. Irish vs Italians, Jews vs Muslims, or even Chinese vs Japanese - two cultures with a lasting, centuries old mistrust and disdain for each other. As each young generation ages and becomes the elders of the next generation, their PROGRESS towards embracing all humanity is greatly influenced by the "politics of the day"; is there a lasting strife that aggravates the healing process? If so, then there is little progress and the same number or percentage of elders that were prejudiced in the prior generation are likely to exist in the next. Is there a healing process going on (two sided)? If so, then it is likely that less elders in the coming generation will fear or hate the culture, government or people their parents hated.

Are schools, families, bloodlines, neighborhoods and national boundaries easily crossed, allowing for a free flow mix of culture, food, religion, language, dialogue - and of course team building among the kids? If so then the healing process is greatly accelerated and prejudices, though they may exist in a low percentage of people (there are still plenty of Whites and Latinos in America who love to belittle African Americans even thought we finally have a black President), but the percentage is so much lower after 40 years of "government enforced" integration.

And so these trends may play out in the Middle East as well and perhaps someday traditional, orthodox Muslims, and Arabs in general will embrace Persians, (many do here), and Persians may embrace Jews and perhaps someday the children of Israel will embrace Palestinians as more than brothers and sisters, but also as husband and wife, teacher and student, political ruler and citizen.

The future is clearly unknown. What we can PREDICT is that if Israel continues to use force on Palestinians, destroying their culture and architecture, families and economy, the healing process will not begin no matter how much dialogue is vented, or great stories are printed in the newspaper. Those few moments when something charitable happens across cultural boundaries - i.e. a Jew and a Palestinian sail around the world together and "break a record" - those moments become touching and memorable for many people and offer HOPE for all. The more frequent they become, the sooner that mess will be over.

Sadly - to me - despite all the tragedy of the strife between those nations and people - to me it is like two brothers who cannot tolerate sharing the same bedroom with each other, with one brother clearly bigger and acting like a bully, and the smaller one resorting to guerrilla tactics to either strike back with revenge, or press some issue of law in a bedroom that is completely upside down - an ongoing disaster of broken furniture and screaming humans and a heart-wrenching example of how vulgar both sides can be.

And to me - while these brothers fight, and the world watches, we may be missing a huge lesson for all of humanity:
WHILE THOSE BROTHERS FIGHT OVER THAT BEDROOM, their house (the Earth) IS ON FIRE. All the resources being poured into stopping that fight SHOULD be focused on saving our planet. Those two kids should work together as a team to help put out the fire that is Earth. The human species, civilization, industry and even third-world rural activities, like mining gold in Ghana or the Amazon jungle, are putting mercury in the rivers and oceans, deforesting the Amazon to create another Sahara desert, eliminating the snow capped mountains that used to provide fresh water for growing urban centers, and are now quickly drying up.

At a time in human history when we need to get along so that we, as a species, can heal a planet and save our species from a rapidly approaching cataclysmic future, we can't even settle a simple land dispute because of "religious and cultural difference" that have existed for milleniums. People who wish to state that "The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is not simple - it is complex" are blind to the fact that loving someone or forgiving someone or lowering a rifle is a lot easier and far simpler than making war and they are blind to the fact that the war that exists there today, or that exists between Morocco and the Polisario who lay claim to the Western Sahara, are both extremely simple solutions compared to the complex problems of saving a planet and our species - topics where all of our talent and intelligent thought SHOULD be focused now.

If the sun was exploding and our species was facing extinction in 1 - 5 years, would the Israeli's and Palestinians still argue with each other over land that will be 800 degrees celcius in a short time? If the amount of water, fuel and food humans all over the world enjoy today, was trended to be reduced on a per capita basis, to levels insufficient to support life as we know it now, would there be any point in arguing over desert sands when an intelligent group of old enemies, now turned partners in an earnest game of survival, would be developing canals and farms together as quickly as possible - as a team. Would the Captain of a ship release a prisoner held down below, to come and help the crew bail a sinking boat? If he was smart he would - in an instant.

If Israel was attacked by some other nation, and Palestinians were also being killed by the invader, could they band together to repel the invading force? Often an attack from outside causes this to happen - IF - the wounds of the two internal cultures are healing - and if those wounds are not healing, then often one culture takes advantage of the attack and sides with the incoming force and assists them with the destruction of an old enemy - their brother who shared the room in a burning house.

And after one has vanquished the other and finally secured their peace in that bedroom, they still have nothing but a house in ashes because they forgot about the bigger picture. They failed to prioritize their long-term objectives, or failed to see that the house was on fire. Hatred blinds people to many things.

So...I apologize if I have belittled the Israeli/Palestinian conflict; certainly children, women, men and elders of both sides suffer. Certainly prejudice and hatred exists on both sides. Certainly one side is clearly a bully and the other is clearly prone to guerrilla tactics. It is ugly no matter who you wish to side with - except the kids - who even if peace was made tomorrow, are left with a planet that may not be able to support their children in the coming generation.

Some people in America have said "Let em all kill each other and get it over with." I have heard this also spoken about American gangs who go into alleys at night to fight. Often the peaceful wish the violent would all get together in some distant location and finish the fight once and for all. But that does not solve the problem of the lack of enlightenment among both the violent and the peaceful. Only education and teamwork can encourage that healing process and while it should start with the government, or healing is difficult, when the governments are too stupid or stubborn to create an enlightened example, the only hope lies with the people themselves. When Israeli teens REFUSE to sign up for the military, there is hope. When Palestinian teens REFUSE to support guerrilla tactics, there is hope. When Moroccan's REFUSE to support the government position, and when the people of Morocco INSIST that the Saharawi come from desolation to the shores of Western Africa - loved like long-lost family members - then those wounds can begin to heal also. When we ignore the brutal policies of our governments, and even IGNORE BRUTAL LAWS and protest using love and peace, reaching out across borders, then the governments, who only exist because people allow them to exist, will either change their tune, or soon be replaced.

And so I agree with you DW - the Phil Collins song was pretty good - two sides to the story - but there may be a third or a fourth - like mine that ignore the strife, and suggests we all focus on the planet and our food and water issues instead. In the Phil video two children sit on the stairs and say to each other "Looks like its just you and me from here on" - and to me, they are like the children of Israel and Palestine who see their parents hatred.

Perhaps the solution to the problem would be to take all the children of both sides away from their parents, and raise them in a well integrated school - for 10 - 25 years - then send them back to each nation to become the leaders of the next generation. I doubt that conflict, that has gone on for 1000s of years, would last another day after that.

Humans live on a sinking ship and if we don't all chip in, our days of "6.7 billion people and growing" are limited - indeed.

CraigMead
Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I am not the Queen - or a Judge - or able to bring "Justice" into this world - but I am a human who can forgive injustice because I know all humans make mistakes and we are children - I believe in the eyes of both God and wise men and women everywhere

DW Duke
Monday, June 7, 2010

Concerning disputes between people and nations I have often thought that Uncle Phil said it best.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSgUMPY-T6A

DW Duke
Monday, June 7, 2010

Dear Queen Rania,
I read your article in The Independent and I could sense the frustration and pain in your words. I also know that your roots are in Palestine. I ask you, please don't give up on Israel. You are in a unique position and you have the ability to bring about change in this region.

There is no question that the hardliners and the religious extremists on both sides will be reluctant to listen to you but if you demonstrate objectivity and fairness in this issue you can have a major impact on the people of both Israel and Gaza. I know that many Israelis love you and many Palestinians love you. You can use this devotion to present a message of fairness and understanding to both sides. Please consider this.

ritab_alkhouri
Monday, June 7, 2010

Dear Queen Rania,
I was very proud when I read your noble speach at WEF Global Redesign Summit in Doha. I loved your quote "let us listen to our conscience, let us return justice to humanity and restore human value". These words mean too much and I hope people should not just listen to them but also should try to apply them in there daily lives.
My question to Queen Rania is if one feels that he is treated in an unjust way, how could he provide justice to others?
I would love to send you a letter, just to read and give me your sincere openion about fairness and justice. I do not think that is the right place to post my letter, is there a private email that I can send it to, please?

CraigMead
Sunday, June 6, 2010

I wanted to share this news here first - but have already told one of our Board Members; therefore your Majesty - I hope you will forgive me for telling an Egyptian (Sarandis) before bringing this to your desk. This morning I was informed by a New York attorney the trust account we required to kick off our project series ($500M USD) has been approved, and funding for both our California wind farm acquisition and project series in New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, Colorado etc. has been secured. This also means we will soon be turning to Jordan to see if our offer: free school, orphanage and library construction, free computers and classes, scholarships, a free water pipeline and transmission system linking the Red Sea (Al'Aqabah) to Amman, as well as power and fuel at cost with no rate rise - ever - and the cement factory(ies) described below, will receive Jordanian Government and citizen support and approval. This also means we will be able to meet our time-lines (water within one year for Amman etc.) as outlined below. Now, the only delay is NOT on our end: it is in the hands of the Royal Family and a Secretary in charge of these types of infrastructure improvements. We have already forwarded formal documentation to everyone involved, outlining plans, proposals and financials, yet we have not received a reply from anyone as of yet. Project descriptions and overall plans have also been forwarded to several members of the "extended" Royal Family, and it is my hope that delays on the part of the Jordanian Government to "accept gifts" that benefit the people (especially the kids) of the region do not cause delays through permit problems, or "questions" as to whether or not a free pipeline of water from Al'Aqabah to Amman would be welcomed. I realize that "prompting" the Jordanian Secretary to respond through her Majesty's web site may not be the proper channel, but every Government Secretary (and in fact, all other entities) in Jordan should know that it is primarily the Queen's focus on kids, education, programs for women and her global outreach program that GPP is focusing our energy and capital on Jordan. If you didn't have the Queen you do, (several in fact, who all bring long histories of enlightenment, intelligence and community involvement), we would go elsewhere in a blink. I want to see Jordan thrive. I hope you all do as well. I look forward to a reply from someone who can make a decision and help us set time tables. Thank you.

DW Duke
Saturday, June 5, 2010

Hi Craig,
Thanks for sharing. That was beautiful. I also wrote about Neda recently in this magazine at page 18. http://riversidecountybar.com/barpubs/0912RL.pdf

I am glad I asked you to say more. :)

CraigMead
Saturday, June 5, 2010

Hi DW - don't know if this helps - but I put up a page that sort of says what I personally "feel" about all of this - http://queenscastlecement.com/friday.html.

CraigMead
Saturday, June 5, 2010

First - Lioness (more personal and more enjoyable) - in between software contracts that have paid $100/hr, I have also worked in shipping earning 1/10th of that - and even writing shipping software...funny thing when working for the Ritz Carlton S/H dept I helped my boss with a great little software package that caused their corporate execs to fly out and see the S/H clerk's wiz-bang software system. They asked if they could add it to Marriott Corporate/Ritz Carlton system - sure - why not. I was fired about a month later for hacking into the front-desk computer, making a map to a full moon light fish fry on the beach (fresh pacific salmon), then hacking the employee database (passwords are useless around me), grabbing 300 email addresses and shotgunning the invitation to the beach party - all done in under 3 minutes including using MS Paint to make the map....when they fired me 7 managers stood up and said "You can't fire this guy - he's the only one in the entire hotel who hustles - the guy's got Ritz in his blood - he opens the doors for the valets - morale has never been higher since he broke the news on that beach party he wants to throw - on and on it went - but the HR department had a problem with that little "hack the Marriott Front Desk system" thingy - oh well. Anyway - do what makes you happy - and if you have time - consider our free PCs for Kids program where kids get a free computer (since 1983) and hopefully someone in Jordan will help me get that going there too - its a blast.
Ok, DW Duke,
I have - like everyone involved or aware or tired of - or ready to continue the strife of - deep, ingrained opinions - some explosive - some very sad - and some with great silver linings around pitch-black thunder clouds - all opinions and hot-air about Israel and Palestine, about Egypt and Morocco, about China and Japan - and nearly every country, culture, level of civilization, economy, kids, seniors, single parents (like Lioness), and Queens, noble, poor, enlightened or just born with good blood - and the moment I tread on my personal opinions in an elegant forum such as this - is the moment I become the flame thrower at a party...and absolutely - of all the forums on Earth - this is NOT the place to begin a flaming war. Perhaps if Queen Rania made a room - SANDBOX - GO AHEAD KIDDIES - FIGHT IT OUT - NO HOLDS BARRED BUT YOU ONLY GET 1000 CHARACTERS PER DAY - USE THEM WISELY - OR NOT - perhaps if she created that sort of Wild West Forum I might say a few things here and there at her invitation. It would be a lot like cage fighting. BUT....upon returning here - to a peaceful, tranquil, thoughtful forum, like all soldiers returning from war, I'd bring prejudices, anger, resentment, enemies - and they would track me here - and soon this would be a place where the Admin was banning 6 out of 10 posts - and that means I (me - bad boy) - took a peaceful, tranquil, enlightened garden and soiled the rose. I'd be shamed and am proud for dancing around that topic without polarizing this place.
TO DO THAT - to discuss and slowly crowbar open wounds of an issue - without polarizing the forum - is difficult. I was a law clerk in my 20s for 2 Judges and I saw tons of cases go by - I got to read em or type em - and long before it went to a jury I knew what happened, who was who and did what - but I kept my mouth shut - sometimes making rather small bets with the girls in the front office. I rarely lost. So I know how to stay neutral. I also teach hard core kids - and some of them have done vile things - and I have to love them and nurture them anyway - no one else will - everyone else fears them...so...I cannot judge what they did - only what they want to become and how hard they are trying to do that. We could turn to Israel - and say "SOME PEOPLE BELIEVE that history has shown that some of your acts were more savage than anything Adolph did to Jews." - this is a true and neutral statement - very true - many people believe it - but it is TNT to a forum - and just because I state the observation of public opinion, does not mean I agree with the statement - or do not - I'm just the law clerk who listens to the various witnesses who say "He said - she said" - the sand box of debates. I could also turn and say to Hammas "Some people believe that the Palestinians would be far better without you - and have a better chance of peace with the Israeli's" - and with that statement the govt. of Hammas is no longer my friend - but all Palestinians who do not have a gun in their sock or a bomb kit in their basement are my friends. Since I work with kids - that means 99.9999999999% of Palestinian kids are my friends - and since I work with hard core kids here in the U.S.- pretty much even the little rats getting involved with making bombs are my friends too - I just gotta help get em straight.
Never forget when I was 10, 12, 15 etc. - I made plenty of bombs - most kids in East L.A. where I grew up did it frequently - the folks in my neighborhood just didn't use them on people - very often - and never for politics - only for turf - and sometimes revenge. What I learned in those violent teenage years is that the best way to respond to violence is a neutral stance. I bet you that it will be at least a year - maybe more - before anyone after me comes to this page and says "I have had a gun - a Colt .45 - shoved in my mouth - on Christmas eve - in front of my mothers - and I was able to crack jokes with the assailant - and even dine with them at a later date - not as enemies - but as neighbors" - it will be a year before anyone writes THAT TYPE OF FORGIVENESS HERE - or - "Even after a man shot at me 3 times with a high power rifle - I was able to get him to a local taco joint and sit down - have dinner - and now he constantly begs me to come to his place and cook and enjoy breakfast with him" - it will probably be 5 years or more before anyone comes here and speaks that level of forgiveness. So (long-winded) no matter what my view is of who has done what to who - that's all ancient history - what is REALITY TODAY - and has POTENTIAL for tomorrow must be based on forgiveness first - and then an understanding of the issues, players, people, politics, demographics and invisible forces at work - and only when you have a grasp on all of that - AND - have a strong, capable ally AND have willing partners on all fronts (or at least most fronts) can you pray everyone can learn to sit at the same table and enjoy dinner and laughter - and breakfast the next day as friends. Sadly that level of enlightenment and desire does not exist with everyone involved. Its easy to hate - it gives us something to be "PART" of - all the people who think like the hater does - some people need that. The violent maniac who shot at me 3 times did so when I sorta knocked him for driving around San Francisco in his big truck with a full size gallows built in the back that had a Bugs Bunny doll wearing a turbine and holding a machine gun hanging from the gallows - right after 9/11 - for months. I told him it was obscene art - and that started a war - his attack - on me - and others here - and still I can dine with that man and laugh today - most people could not. Would you forgive him? Will the mothers of the people who died in the blockade fiasco forgive the Israeli's that pulled triggers? Its hard to do - but a lasting peace without that process is impossible.

DW Duke
Friday, June 4, 2010

Hi Craig,
Thanks for your reply. You laid a foundation for some intriguing thoughts but I have the impression that you stopped short of delivering what you really wanted to say. I am interested if you would like to elaborate.