History of e-mailed Newsletters from Musical Missions

Text of E-mails sent by Cameron and Kristina to Followers of Musical Missions of Peace since November, 2002

Jan 20, 2005

Dear friends of Musical Missions,

From Kristina

Our time here in the Middle East is drawing to a close We have just two more days. There is a bit of sadness in me as I prepare to leave new-found and old friends here. At the close of my fourth trip to the Middle East and after more than six months total in this part of the world, I feel that I am just beginning to understand these people. There are so many subtleties that we foreigners miss. The people of Egypt and other Arabic-speaking countries, (if you allow them in) will bathe you in loving warm energy. Cameron has spoken of how the people here seem telepathic. This telepathy really exists all around us here, although I would venture to guess that most English-speaking visitors don't catch onto it. When our Egyptian friend Ahmad sits beside the taxi driver I notice how they speak as if they were old friends even though they have never before met. This is not an occasional occurance, this is constant. These people are connected to each other in ways that we have no clue about. In "new age" terminology you might say that they have not separated so far from God or from each other. Their individual egos are not as separate as our Westernized egos are.

The traffic and the constant noisy interactions take some getting used to. Many tourists come to Cairo to shop in Khan el Khalili, one of the ancient markets (John Kerry was there last week) and find the tourist hustling to be too much. The other night as I was walking through this market, it took me a while to let go of the annoyance of constantly being asked "come in to my shop" by shopkeeper after shopkeeper. But I could feel the safe and warm and welcoming undercurrent. This warmth keeps the fabric of this society together.

You can see this in the families. They all live together. I've not yet met one college student who lives on their own. They all stay with their families and contribute to the welfare of the whole tribe. Only after they marry do they start their own households and then it is often within walking distance to the family homes. Grandmothers are the primary caregivers of the grandchildren if the mother chooses to work.

Of course I love my friends in America too. So many wonderful people have invited us into their homes as we travel from state to state. We are incredibly blessed to know so many welcoming people. But please be aware that we Americans have created more walls. I urge you to experiment. If you know a native Arabic speaker begin with them. Open up those channels that have cut us off from on another. That connecting energy is the glue that keeps us together. It is called love.

In the last few days we have been interviewed by the biggest newspaper in Egypt, Al Akhbar. The article will appear this next week. We have just done a concert at the South Center for Human Rights. See website: www.southonline.org

We have had other articles written about us in smaller publications here also and will be appearing on Egyptian Television Friday morning January 21st. We are doing everything we can to let the people here know that there are Americans who only wish for "the peace" as the people here say.

The Message of Peace which followers of Musical Missions have supported will soon be published in the major Arab World press.

For the last two weeks we have been travelling south along the Nile through Egypt with my daughter and her friend who are both in their early twenties. It has been a great pleasure to watch them begin to understand the generosity of the Egyptian people. The secret is to refuse all "guide services" until you have escaped from the "tourist trails." Cross the river or go to the other side of town if necessary. Around the corner, after midnight, you will find magic streets with live bands perched on donkey carts. The dancing is infectious and soon you find yourself moving with the dancing villagers. What a treat to watch my daughter and her friend learning new dance moves from the village girls! And again beyond the edges of the tourist trails Egyptian friends by the Red Sea adopted us and kept us busy dancing and singing in their favorite late night restaurants. We had to go back again! It was arranged for us to take our instruments and give a concert the next time. One night with these new friends was not enough.


Soon we will be in Spain and then France where Cameron will have a surgery to correct his heart arythmia, which from time to time totally incapacitates him. He is on medication for this but the medication has side effects which are not desirable. This procedure is $15,000 in France and $60,000 in America. So guess why we picked France? We had to let go of his health insurance in the US when it hit $1,000 a month a few years ago.This operation will put us in debt. So of course if you can afford to donate to help with the cost of this procedure you can do so at http://www.musicalmissions.com or send a personal check to Musical Missions, 2090 Grape Avenue, Boulder, Colorado. 80304. Checks made out to "Musical Missions" are tax-deductable for you, of course, as they go through a non-profit corporation.

Thank you, thank you to those who have already contributed for the Message of Peace in the Newspapers, to our expenses and to the operation. And If you cannot afford to donate please just keep Cameron in your prayers for a smooth and successful operation. (Febuary 7th).

March will find us back in America, where we will again continue to bring the magic of the Arab world and messages of peace to your home towns. Let us know if you would like us to do a presentation in your area. There is so much misunderstanding between our cultures and we seem to be able to help heal this.

Salaamu aleykum (Peace be with you) Kristina

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Jan 5, 2005

From Cameron and Kristina:

Living in the spirit-body of the world there seems to be no place that we cannot call "home."

We have just returned to our Egyptian home from our Syrian, Lebanese and Jordanian homes.

We play in the uproariously gregarious energy of the Cairo streets. Throngs of teenagers adopt us so that our photos can all be taken together. It's two o'clock in the morning and we are winding our way back from a concert of Nubian music. We cross the Nile. The sky is clear tonight over Cairo thanks to a gentle but persistant breeze. Two young American ladies have joined us to share adventures for the next two weeks. We continue to announce that we are Americans who represent the compassionate wishes toward the Arab-speaking world felt by many of our countrymen/women.

Only two nights ago we were looking into the eyes of Iraqi friends in Jordan. Like us, they carry an oud and a violin. Friendship with this family goes back 30 years! Our eyes exchange delight with seeing each other and our smiles contain all our eagerness! The war news is too horrendous to report. War news remains unfathomable unless you were there in the streets with the tanks.

Soft Palestinian eyes welcome us into Beirut, Lebanon. Knowing from the internet who we are, we are welcomed by a young Muslim Palestinian woman who is a singer... and a schoolteacher. She hands us a cassette tape of her band... if we want to stay and play, here is the invitation! Organizations are being set up to help bring musical training into the poverty of the camps and we are invited to participate... we feel at home.

We cross two snow-covered mountain ranges into Damascus, back in Syria. The sounds of my oud and Kristina's drum and our voices soon permeate the textile market in the ancient souq, or marketplace... We feel at home...

The journey to the south to Amman takes us across another strange colonial border into Jordan. We feel immediately at home as we are welcomed by Jordanian and Iraqi friends alike. Jordanian friends are the first to throw a party for us. It is Christmas... Our Muslim friends all kindly wish us Merry Christmas. Islam has included Christianity and Judaism since its inception. We sing late into the night...

Plunging into two households of Iraqi friends: their recent attempts to live and work in Baghdad have had to be abandoned. Too impossible... But one son is there now... They worry... Again, the incomprehensible descriptions of loved ones' flesh and blood being torn...

Sitting beside us on the plane back to Egypt is a soft-eyed black American man, journeying out of Iraq for the first time in sixteen months of "Department of Defense" duty. He has been trying to train Iraqi police recruits to stand in line.

He hasn't yet had an opportunity to taste Iraqi food. But he was given one day of training in Iraqi culture.

He was fascinated to hear of our ability to enter Iraq on the wings of a song and enjoy friendship with people on the streets. Something like this seemed unimaginable to him but he understood its value as a way to build friendship.

We teach him the first three words of a popular Iraqi song and wish him luck.

There are many details which would take too long to try and share in these e-mails. But financial subscribers to Musical Missions of Peace do receive more detailed periodic updates. Financial subscriptions are now being offered for as little as $5 per month. Go to http://www.musicalmissions.com and follow the "Financial Subscriptions and Donations" link to sign up.

We have composed the following message in Arabic: "To the People of Iraq and other Native Arabic-speaking Peoples: Our Songs, Hearts, Thoughts and Prayers are with you. We look forward to the day when respect for all people of all the nations shines throughout the world once again!

--Your Friends in America"

We will publish this in Arab-world newspapers with circulation of more than two million daily readers, including Iraqis, by the end of January. Please send your donations so we can make this ad as large as possible. Do this by going to http://www.musicalmissions.com and clicking on the "financial subscriptions and donations" link. Credit cards can be used (click on the "Make a Contribution to have your Messages of Compassion Delivered Directly through Display Ads in Mainstream Arab-World Newspapers" Button) or checks can be mailed to: Musical Missions, 2090 Grape Ave, Boulder, CO, 80304. Donations can be tax deductable.

Here is a list of many of the places we have been welcomed during the last two years and made to feel at home: (please e-mail us and let us know if you would like us to come to your town and do a presentation)

Baghdad, Iraq; Cairo, Egypt; Damascus, Syria; Beirut, Lebanon, Amman, Jordan; Aleppo, Syria; Lattakia, Syria, Ramallah, West Bank; Aqaba, Jordan; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Sandia Park, NM; Long Beach, CA; Monterey, CA; Santa Cruz, CA; Ashland, OR; Bolinas, CA; Santa Barbara, CA; Denver, CO; Wolcott, CO; Westminster, CO; Golden, CO; Albuquerque, NM; Grand Junction, CO; Abiquiu, NM; Santa Fe, NM; Fort Worth, TX; Denton, TX; Fayetteville, AR; Lacombe, LA; New Orleans, LA; Slidell, LA; Mobile, AL; Columbus, GA; Durham, NC; Chattanooga, TN; Summertown, TN; Cookeville, TN; Nashville, TN; Estes Park, CO; Lafayette, CO; Dillon, CO; Frisco, CO; Avon, CO; Hillsboro, OR; Klamath Falls, OR; Corvallis, OR; Berkeley, CA; Oakland, CA; Laguna Beach, CA; Costa Mesa, CA; Mission Viejo, CA; Sonora, CA; Eugene, OR; Grants Pass, OR; Milwaukie, OR; Port Angeles, WA; Chelan, WA; Yakima, WA; Pocatello, ID; Idaho Falls, ID; Ft. Collins, CO; Lakewood, CO; Northglenn, CO; Del Norte, CO; Crestone, CO; Basalt, CO; Kansas City, KS; Rolla, MO; Terre Haute, IN; Bean Blossom, IN; Allentown, PA; Jonestown, PA; Flint, MI; Cincinnati, OH; Brattleboro, VT; Pottersville, NJ; Farmingdale, NY; Edinboro, PA; Racine, WI; Peoria, IL; Rockford, IL; West Lafayette, IN; Mankato, MN; Des Moines, IA; and, of course, Boulder, CO.

Ignore the fences of fear! Learn another song! Fly like a bird!



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Dec 19, 2004

To the followers of Musical Missions of Peace:

On the Streets of Aleppo, in nothern Syria:

"Welcome," we hear again and again as we walk down the streets of this ancient city which, like Damascus, has been continuously inhabited for at least 5000 years now. I look at the eyes and the faces and realize that I am in the presence of an indigenous people who have been here since the dawn of recorded history. The eyes are soft and invite friendship.

We call Ibrahim on our cell phone. He remembers us from the last time we were here and comes to pick us up in his little pickup truck. The three of us jam into the front seat and drive to the musical instrument factory where fifteen men are busily assembling traditional Arab-world instruments: ouds, qanuns, buzuks. It's cold. It's December. We huddle around a tiny wood-stove and begin to pass an oud around. Ibrahim introduces us to Bashir, "the best oud player in Aleppo!" Our knowledge of each other's languages is similar: limited to pretty basic phrases. But we all speak music!

We sing popular Syrian, Iraqi, Lebanese and Egyptian songs together, some familiar to us and others not. The qanun-maker gives us a tour of his part of the 5-room factory and we see the bare bones of the instruments in various states of shaping before assembly into the multi-stringed plucked zither which they they will become. He asks where we are from...

"America," we reply...

"Why Bush?" he asks. "Why do you pick a man so hated by everyone in the Arab world?"

"I don't really understand it," I reply.

He shakes his head, obviously dumbfounded that a nation could make such a choice and then resumes showing us the pieces of wood, the kinds of glue and the pieces of fish skin used in the manufacture of the qanuns.

After four hours of music it is late and we prepare to go back to the center of town. We have bonded deeply, admiring each of our techniques and songs and, of course, Kristina's voice and improvisations.

There is a religion of love. We all belong to it. It doesn't promise salvation for some while leaving others out in the cold. It doesn't say which wise men we must listen to and which ones to ignore. It doesn't invoke God as an excuse to move onto someone else's land. It lives in all of us, has the sensitive ears of an angel and gazes in adoration at all beings present in this moment.

I don't know exactly where the "Holy Land" begins and ends. We rode the train down from Aleppo to Lattakia, Syria, on the eastern edge of the Mediterranean shores and we were greeted by our friend, Mohammad. He's been following our Musical Missions and sending us messages such as this when we arrived in Cairo: "Ahlan wa Sahlan ..welcome back Cameron, Kristina.. nice to hear such a good news that the musical mission is now in the Arab world.. you are best people to represent America than any other American ambassadors ..and your tools are better to spread peace and rebuilt the bridges between us and America than your officials' weapons.. so we need you now for 4 more years ..hoping that you will not need to learn singing in Farsi (Iranian language) after then.. ...so Cameron and Kristina..al hamdillah ala alsalameh (thanks God for arriving safely) to Cairo."

Mohammad has a great desire to see people assembled around us now that we are actually here in Lattakia and he has good instincts about where we should go to accomplish this.

Following his invitation, we began to sing in the lobby of a hotel in which many Iraqis are staying. Lattakia is a seaport and many material goods are shepharded through here bound for Iraq. The tiredness in some of these Iraqi men's eyes was thick and they weren't certain at first whom these two Americans singing popular Arabic music might be. They peered at us from within their red and white checkered keffeya.

Gradually, as we moved through seven or eight songs, their eyes began to shine. They allowed the religion of love to begin to shine back at us and our breathing and singing became a flock of shy birds in the room. Mohammad is, in some ways, a shy man himself, but his instincts had guided us to the right place.

He then led us with our voices and our oud and drum to a nearby restaurant where he had arranged for us to do a concert. An elegant setting... The owners, managers and musicians welcomed us with impeccable generosity and set up two chairs and three microphones for us.

Mohammad introduced us to the hundred or so who were assembled and we began, again, to sing Egyptian, Lebanese, Syrian, Iraqi songs to the mixed Christian and Muslim crowd. Amused at our accents and delighted with the songs, they clapped and sang along with us.

Kristina, the "Little Fairuz," as they call her here, sang like a bird. Mohammad announced to the crowd the basic messages of peace which we carry and new friends, eager to stay in touch, came up and introduced themselves. The kind, elderly musician who had graciously relinquished his space for us, resumed playing and singing while Kristina and Bashar, a new friend, danced.

On our way home in the wee hours, we passed Mohammad's father on the streets. He has an impressive dignity and a warm smile. Something seemed right with the world here in this ancient holy land.

The next day we were invited to dine at Mohammad's home. Kristina had spent the afternoon with two young Syrian women recording their conversation about differences between American and Syrian womens' lifestyles. When she returned from this we walked to Mohammad's home. His mother prepared the delicious food and we sang with a dozen or so female members of his family whose names all begin with "R.": Raneem, Rahaf, Rama, Ruba... And a couple of uncles were there: one serious and one "crazy"...

We now have, thanks to new Iraqi friends in Syria, knowledge about how to publish our messages of good will and peace in mainstream newspapers available in Baghdad as well as in the rest of the Arab-speaking world. We have announced this project in the last two e-mails.

The translated message reads: To the People of Iraq and other Native Arabic-speaking Peoples: Our Songs, Hearts, Thoughts and Prayers are with you. We look forward to the day when your ancient wisdom can shine throughout the world once again!

--Your Friends in America

As more donations come in from you all, we will be able to purchase advertising space and publish this. Please consider making a donation or better yet, become a financial subscriber by going to our website: http://www.musicalmissions.com and clicking on the "financial subscriptions and donations" link. Credit cards can be used or checks can be mailed to: Musical Missions, 2090 Grape Ave, Boulder, CO, 80304. Donations can be tax deductable.

We continue doing this work to build bridges of musical friendship at a grass-roots level between the Arab world and America. We sing and walk in peace and in freedom and try and help others to see that this is a possible path. If you enjoy receiving our updates, please help us stay afloat financially,if you can.

Yesterday we met a Lebanese man who offered to give us a ride into Lebanon. Late last night at an internet cafe here in Beirut, I was befriended by some teen-age boys and girls. The girls couldn't stop dancing.

"All we want to do in life is to dance," they announced.

I told them I was a musician from America. We began singing some Lebanese songs together while the girls danced. They wanted me to bring my oud but the hour was already close to 2:00 am...

More soon, Cameron and Kristina

Contact us:

cameron@rmi.net

kristinasophia@yahoo.com

We will begin touring America with our presentations about the Arab world again this spring. Please contact us if you are interested in producing us in your area! We bring the music, the slides, the video clips, the stories and, as those of you who have seen one of the 150 presentations we did last year in America know, audiences find it an uplifting and heart and eye-opening experience.

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Dec 12, 2004

Hello from Cameron and Kristina -- Musical Missions of Peace

Here in Egypt:

Dissoving into the ancient NOW of Egypt. Life here can't really be contained by word-bags: "joys, frustrations, welcomes, poverty, ecstasy, traffic, singing, eyes and smiles..."

Ten thousand moments tinged with Arabic ways of being enter our Indo-European English essence.

Excited by the intensity: our new journalist friends translate ancient Arabic desert poetry and Modern Messages of Peace all in the same breath. An Egyptian woman is ululating (making high-pitched vocal sounds perhaps in celebration of a wedding) in the distance... Children laugh and play next door...

Square pegs fit snugly into round holes.

We are left with the sound of the poetic syllables in Arabic.

Opening new soul-balloons inside ourselves we drink in the ancient messages and we translate our modern American Heart-Lust for Peace and Brother/Sister-hood. We shape and forge this message endorsed by American Musical Missions for Peace into Arabic until we smile uncontrollably! Ahmad, blessed with the gift of divine laughter carries us into some hilarious place we don't even need to "understand." Trust us: this is good! This is way more than just trying to fight our way through the hawkers who surround the pyramids!

Musical Missions:

Singing with the waiters...Singing with the pedestrians... Singing with the taxi-drivers... Singing with the musicians... Singing with the instrument-makers...

Kristina on drums and vocals... Cameron on flute... Omar on oud...

We line the busy city walls with a filligree of Arabic Music...

Satisfied with musical missions into the NOW we break out in smiles all around... We will always come back for more.

Politics:

Funny how war and politics never even come up; those subjects don't really even have a place here (somewhere, left unspoken in our Egyptian and American hearts, we keep wishing the strange forces of colonial occupations would somehow someday just go away...)

The more of us there are who choose to live in the music and the love, the fewer there will be who remain in the fear and the greed and the other black/white realities...

Message to Arab World:

This message we are forging from many American people who have seen us present "Singing in Baghdad"...it is saying what needs to be said...

Rate cards are coming in through the journalists: we can reach a quarter of a million Arab-language readers for $84 per column/centimeter/day in Saudi, UAE, Oman, Yemen, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Tunisia, Morocco as well as Arab ex-pats in America and Europe... not sure yet about Iraq or Syria... working on that...

We leave for Syria day after tomorrow... Aleppo, Latakkia, Beirut, Damascus, Amman...

Contributions are beginning to come in from Americans: individuals and congregations to help us publish this message which now reads: "To the Iraqi People and all other Native Arabic-speaking People from your Friends in America: We are making a prayer that soon the day will come when your light, like the sun, can shine again for all to see! We are a voice of support for you and for your ways of acheiving peace."

Travelling with Cameron and Kristina:

Several people are coming over to join us in Egypt in January. We have room for more of you if you want to come. So many places we can go: Cairo, Luxor, Valley of the Kings, The Nile, The Oases and The Bedouin, Alexandria, Sharm el Sheik, the Mediterranean, The Red Sea... Pyramids and People and Musical Missions every day... we walk in connection with some divine rhythm which remains un-nameable... Remember just one thing: nothing is ever as it seems... it's always much better... all that is required is the dissolving: mine and yours...

We are also inviting you to be with us on the West coast of Mexico during May, 2005.

More Presentations in America Coming Soon; Please Book:

We will do "Singing in Baghdad and Beyond" presentations in the Colorado area from February 23, 2005 until March 23, 2005. After that we will do our presentations in Texas and Louisiana and other Southern states during April. Please let us know if you are interested in having us come to your group or congregation.

Spain and France:

We will stop in Spain and France in late January and for the first half of February. I need to have a medical procedure done in France to fix a cardiac arhythmia (atrial fibrillation). It is much cheaper in France than in the US (only 25% of cost in US). (No, don't imagine that musicians like us could ever begin to afford health insurance...) So we have to go into debt about $15,000 for this one. (Donations appreciated...) But if anyone knows of a friend in Madrid with whom we can perhaps leave some stuff while we are in France, that would be great!

Making Contributions:

Go to our website, http://www.musicalmissions.com and click on the "financial subscriptions and donations" link and use a credit card to help support us. We thank you in advance for doing that. Of course, checks made out to "Musical Missions" can also be mailed at any time to Musical Missions, 2090 Grape Ave, Boulder, CO 80304. Donations of $50 or more are tax-deductable through our non-profit 501c3 corporation.

We will be keeping you updated on our progress!

You can reach us by simply replying to this message.

Contact Cameron by e-mail: cameron@rmi.net

Contact Kristina by e-mail: kristinasophia@yahoo.com

Thanks, Cameron and Kristina

Please encourage your friends who may be interested to go to our website and enter their e-mail addresses at the top of the home web page (see link to musical missions immediately above) and become subscribers so that they, too, will get our updates.

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Dec 2. 2004

Cameron and Kristina to Carry Messages from the Compassionate Hearts of American Citizens and Congregations Directly to People in the Arab World

Now is the time to make certain that our voices of compassion are not silent. Political shifts are happening rapidly and it is easy to buy into the temptation to think in black and white. We must remember that all people are trying to move forward in the best possible ways from their own points of view. Voices which can be heard in the Arab world from American people during this time will be remembered as history unfolds! And voices from the Arab world which can be heard here in America will be remembered! It may seem like a time of confusion, but there is no confusion about the compassion in our hearts which extends from ordinary people to ordinary people!

Cameron and Kristina fly back to the Arab world on December 2nd, 2004. Cameron and Kristina... that's us.

We will be moving, God Willing, through Egypt and through three or four other Arab-world countries carrying the Compassionate Heart of America personally by joining with people in song -- popular Arabic music, as you know, is a strong vehicle! "Hey, these two Americans have put out the effort to learn this respectful way to resonate with us! We will listen to them!"

People may not trust the politicians. But they trust Us and they can trust You!

And....

Now we are suggesting that you help us place Display Ads in Arabic (we can get the translating done) in widely-read Arab-language newspapers in as many Arab-world countries as possible so that your Voices of Compassion can be heard! This is an extremely effective way to reach Millions of Ordinary Arabic-Speaking People! We can do the legwork, as we travel through the Arab world again this winter, to make this happen.

As people who have seen our presentation, "Singing in Baghdad," know, the vast majority of Arabic-speaking people hold peace and friendship in their hearts for us!

We were able to present "Singing in Baghdad" for more than 10,000 Americans in more than half of the 50 American states.

We encourage you to Compose Your Own Messages and Send Them To Us.

Contact Cameron by e-mail: cameron@rmi.net

Contact Kristina by e-mail: kristinasophia@yahoo.com

We will get them out to the folks over there!

If you can make donations (see instructions below) sufficient to pay for the publication of these messages and cover our expenses in the Arab world to have them translated and placed in mainstream Arab-language newspapers you can reach the most people!

We will, of course, try and send you copies of the ads as they appear. You will be able to hang a copy of your message printed in the Arabic language on the wall in the entrance to your sanctuary or office!

As far as I know, we, Cameron and Kristina, are the only ones currently offering this people-to-people service. As you know, supporting our mission to carry your messages to the Arab world simultaneously supports our on-going Musical Mission: to honor indiginous peoples, wherever they are, by taking the time and putting in effort to learn their popular music so that we can go and sing with them! This opens the doors of communication and we all can learn from these peoples' ancient wisdom. We carry the compassion of so many Americans with us. And so many of you have told us, many with tears in your eyes: "Please don't stop doing what you are doing!"

Making Contributions:

While we are outside of America we depend on you to go to our website, http://www.musicalmissions.com and click on the "financial subscriptions and donations" link and use a credit card to help support us and contribute toward the publication of your messages. We thank you in advance for doing that. (Paypal does not require anyone to "become a member" in order to transfer funds to us, so the process is safe and easy.) Of course, checks made out to "Musical Missions" can also be mailed at any time to Musical Missions, 2090 Grape Ave, Boulder, CO 80304.

Our voices, unless we speak out loud and directly through a mainstream channel, are muffled.

How much does it cost to send a message with us?

We want you to be able to participate at any level!

Small donations will go toward the publishing of the following simple message:

To the People of Iraq and other Native Arabic-speaking Peoples:

Our Songs, Hearts, Thoughts and Prayers are with you.

We look forward to the day when your ancient wisdom can shine throughout the world once again!

--Your Friends in America

We are much more excited about seeing you Compose Your Own Messages, however.

Contributions of $400 would help us get those messages published in some newspapers.

Contributions of $more would help us get those messages published in more newspapers in larger display ads that would be noticed and read by more people.

And remember, your contributions will simultaneously support our carrying your compassionate energy personally and delivering it through our musical interactions!

We will, at your request, add the names of individuals or congregations to our website and acknowledge receipt of a message there. We can also display the message itself on our website if you like.

We can also, at your request, add the names of individuals or congregations to pamphlets listing our "sponsors" which can be distributed to people as we travel.

Some of you may wish to remain anonymous, which is also fine.

We are already living in an age of global democracy. We must participate to make it more of a reality. We must make our voices directly heard. We can't rely on the most wealthy 2% to do all the communicating and decision-making for us.

We will be keeping you updated on our progress! Please encourage your friends who may be interested to go to our website and enter their e-mail addresses at the top of the home web page http://www.musicalmissions.com and become subscribers (free) so that they, too, will get our updates. We need to reach as many people as possible.

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Nov 18, 2004

Dear Friends,

Once again it is up to us people to personally carry the message of universal compassion from America to the Arab world. We will be leaving for Egypt and other places in the Arab world on December 2nd and we will carry a message of compassion from all of you! We know the true compassionate nature of the American people, democrats and republicans alike!

We are suggesting that individual congregations compose messages of prayer and sympathy and empower us to publish them in mainstream Arab-world newspapers so that your voices can be heard in the Arab world. This is a way that people can talk directly to people! Let us know if you are interested in literally extending your compassion in this way!

Again we read escalating body counts of slain US soldiers in Iraq.

And again we read escalating body counts of slain Iraqis in Iraq.

We believe that before God's eye every being is valued equally.

We grieve all of these deaths and maimings with the same passion and with the same compassion.

To turn a blind eye toward the current tragedy unfolding in Iraq would be to ignore a not-so-beautiful, but genuine, aspect of being human.

These young men and women, whether members of America's armed services or of Iraqi citizenry fighting against a perceived invasion, are all being caught in a giant situation not of their own making.

Very few of those doing the dying are in any way responsible for the war. The Iraqi people and the American people do not represent a threat to each other, yet they are being forced to enter a hell on earth.

If "the people" were truly in control of the governments on this planet, would this war have been elected?

With the latest election behind us, we American people are left feeling very divided. Regardless of who may have "actually won," those of us who feel that "Iraq was the wrong war at the wrong time," are left with no significant voice in our government. Yet we are certainly close to being half the American people!

As you know, we, Cameron and Kristina, carried musical messages of peace to Baghdad, Cairo and many other places in the Arab world on three pilgrimages during 2002 and 2003. ( See www.musicalmissions.com )

Our feeling at the time was that the voices of compassion inside America were not being expressed through our government and that it was up to us, personally, to carry this voice. Those of you who have followed us know that we did succeed in fulfilling this mission to a large extent.

During 2004, when we finished our recent tour of America, driving 35,000 miles and doing 150 presentations about the Arab world in more than half of the nation's fifty states, many of the more than ten thousand people who attended told us: "Don't stop doing what you are doing! I want Cameron and Kristina to represent me in the Arab world!" We heard this request from Democrats and Republicans alike and we know that most Americans, whether habitually voting for one party or the other, hold hopes for an eventual global "just and lasting peace" close to their hearts!

Americans are shakers and movers who walk our talk and who show up when people are in need. I don't think many Americans feel personally responsible for what is unfolding in Iraq. We are left scratching our heads when it comes down to a truly soul-searching answer to why our forces are there.

What does seem to still be clear is that the ideals of democracy are not being realized. We hope to "make the whole world safe for democracy" but we certainly don't want to cause Iraqis to sacrifice the beautiful wisdom which is contained in their ancient ways of being! Nor do we want to unfairly steal their resources.

We would rather be offered a chance to exchange with and to learn from others while simultaneously honoring their freedom.

Arab-world people, we have found, are eager and ready to return a personal "people-to-people" compassion toward ordinary American citizens. As those of you who have seen our presentation, "Singing in Baghdad," know, not once in five months of travel in 5 different Arab-world countries did we have a rude comment directed at us!

So we shall heed the pleas we have heard so many times during our travels through the American heartlands and we shall not stop doing what we are doing!

Of course, as always, we need your financial assistance to continue our work. The only income we make while we are in the Arab world is from donations. Please help us keep going.

Send your contributions to Musical Missions of Peace, 2090 Grape Ave., Boulder, CO 80304.

Or go to our website http://www.musicalmissions.com and use a credit card to become a monthly financial subscriber or to make a one-time donation.

Accumulated annual amounts over $50 can be channelled through the 501c3 non-profit organization "Musical Missions of Peace" and you can deduct the contributed amount at tax time!

Some day, God willing, our dollars will adapt to become better vehicles for the heart energies as well as for the material energies and all this will flow more easily!

And reply to this e-mail with your thoughts and your wishes so that we can continue to represent you!

I know that many of you have recently received our announcements of upcoming workshops and tours in Egypt, Greece, Morocco and Mexico.

Whether you feel yourselves ready to be wandering "musical missionaries" or you just need a little toe-hold in some place outside of America, we will try and meet your needs!

Please continue to respond and let us know as your own plans evolve!

Anyone wishing to join us in the Arab world during December or January should let us know!

-------------

Nov 13, 2004

Workshops and Tours offered by Musical Missions of Peace.

Where? In Mexico, Egypt, Morocco and Greece!

What? The Wisdom of Ancient Civilizations and You! See more below.

You may be associated with one of the dozens of church congregations for whom Cameron and Kristina, of Musical Missions, presented "Singing in Baghdad" during the last year and a half. Or you may be associated with another congregation whose members have been following Cameron and Kristina's peacework through the Arab world and through America.

Who are Cameron and Kristina?

Cameron spent eight years exploring South America's Andean world and guiding other Americans through remote Inca villages before beginning explorations of Mexican, Greek, Turkish and Arabic countries, music, languages and lifestyles.

He and Kristina felt comfortable on the streets of Baghdad in April of 2003 because they were global soul-citizens with 100% respect for all ancient civilizations and for the wisdom carried by the people and their music. ( see www.musicalmissions.com )

Their "Musical Mission of Peace" was to sing popular Iraqi music with ordinary Iraqi citizens in the streets of Baghdad.

Iraqis could then see that there are American citizens who love Iraqi culture and who are willing to travel there for no other reason than to say "hi" and sing a song. Cameron has studied and performed Arabic music for twenty-five years.

Their presence there carried a simple message: "We do not come in fear; we come in love!"

"We need to see more people like you!" they were passionately told.

They have been welcomed recently through Syria, Jordan, Egypt and the West Bank.

Tens of thousands of Egyptians sang popular Egyptian music along with them in the Cairo Stadium to celebrate common humanity and raise funds for a children's cancer hospital.

They delivered the compassionate prayers from tens of thousands of Americans to ordinary citizens in Iraq and the Arab world during the last two years.

They drove 35,000 miles through America delivering 150 presentations about the Arab world to Americans who turned out in more than half of the 50 states curious to see images and hear stories and music not available through the mainstream media.

They have been covered by dozens of newspapers, TV and radio programs.

"Whatever you do, don't stop!" they are continually told by fellow Americans. "I want you to represent me in the Arab world!"

They just returned from Puerto Vallarta, on the west coast of Mexico, where they received more positive reviews for their recent presentations in Mexico and where they laid the groundwork for upcoming "Gateways to Humanity" workshops there.

Are you or is someone you know possibly interested in traveling with or doing workshops with Cameron and Kristina?

Are you interested in getting out of the box?

They are currently designing workshops and tours in Egypt, Morocco, Greece and Mexico and need your input.

Now, more than ever, it is time for us Americans to connect in healthy ways with the rest of the world.

It is up to us as individuals to break down the walls that separate us from the rest of humanity and start living in a world of peace and cooperation.

"Maybe some day you will join us and the world will live as one!" (sound familiar?) The time is now.

More information will be coming soon!

Let us know if this may be of interest to you!

Table of Contents from Cameron's soon-to-be-released new book:

(International workshops and tours will promote focus on soul-growth potentials in line with these topics.)

A) We are all right from our own points of view

1) "Everyone is always right from his or her own point of view"

2) Everyone in the whole world is right, in every language

3) Do we speak language or does language speak us?

4) Exercise: "Seeing People on the Street"

B) Dealing with Fear

1) Reflections of Fear

2) Overcoming Fear: You are SAFER over There!

3) Fear or Excitement -- a quick Leap called Courage:

4) Learning Languages: Can We Do It?

C) Feeling Good

1) Sensuality and Music -- you have to feel GOOD inside...

2) Sacred Flirtation

3) Musical Enlightenment and Ecstasy.

D) Personal Mental Growth

1) Working against our own Arrogance -- sorry, it’s not so easy...

2) 'Civilization' -- Whose?

3) Why even working for Peace is Not Enough -- Whose Peace is it anyway?

E) Personal Soul Growth

1) Gain a New Soul by Entering a New Culture.

2) Enlightenment and Inner Peace -- in these times?

3) No Humor at the Expense of Others -- This creates a way of thinking which eventually becomes an obstacle.

4) Becoming the Prayer: No Fear

5) Worshipping the Feminine in the Middle East and elsewhere -- How does it work? aka Being able to see the Garden when you are in it

6) Study of Exotic Music: Middle Eastern Music as an Example

7) Becoming a Musical Ambassador

8) Learning to Become Responsible Global Citizens.

9) Do we really want to waste this Precious Lifetime?

Check out www.musicalmissions.com

e-mails: cameron@rmi.net or kristinasophia@yahoo.com

The meek have already inherited the earth. Let's go and walk with them.

-----------------

Nov 8, 2004

Dear MusicalMissions.com Fans,

Are you interested in traveling with Cameron and Kristina?

Are you interested in getting out of the box?

We are currently designing workshops and tours in Egypt, Morocco, Greece and Mexico and we need your input.

Now, more than ever, it is time for us Americans to connect in healthy ways with the rest of the world.

It is up to us as individuals to break down the walls that separate us from the rest of humanity and start living in a world of peace and cooperation.

"Maybe some day you will join us and the world will live as one!" (sound familiar?) The time is now.

More information will be coming soon!

Let us know if this may be of interest to you!

In case you don't remember or know who we are:

Cameron spent eight years exploring South America's Andean world and guiding other Americans through remote Inca villages before beginning explorations of Mexican, Greek, Turkish and Arabic countries, music, languages and lifestyles.

He and Kristina felt comfortable in Baghdad in April of 2003 because they were global soul-citizens with 100% respect for all ancient civilizations and for the wisdom carried by the people and their music.

Their "Musical Mission of Peace" was to sing popular Iraqi music with ordinary Iraqi citizens in the streets of Baghdad.

Iraqis could then see that there are American citizens who love Iraqi culture and who are willing to travel there for no other reason than to say "hi" and sing a song. Cameron has studied and performed Arabic music for twenty-five years.

Their presence there carried a simple message: "We do not come in fear; we come in love!"

"We need to see more people like you!" they were passionately told.

They have been welcomed recently through Syria, Jordan, Egypt and the West Bank.

Tens of thousands of Egyptians sang popular Egyptian music along with them in the Cairo Stadium to celebrate common humanity and raise funds for a children's cancer hospital.

They delivered the compassionate prayers from tens of thousands of Americans to ordinary citizens in Iraq and the Arab world during the last two years.

They drove 35,000 miles through America delivering 150 presentations about the Arab world to Americans who turned out in more than half of the 50 states curious to see images and hear stories and music not available through the mainstream media.

They have been covered by dozens of newspapers, TV and radio programs.

"Whatever you do, don't stop!" they are continually told by fellow Americans. "I want you to represent me in the Arab world!"

They just returned from Puerto Vallarta, on the west coast of Mexico, where they received more positive reviews for their recent presentations in Mexico and where they laid the groundwork for upcoming "Gateways to Humanity" workshops.

Check out www.musicalmissions.com

e-mails: cameron@rmi.net or kristinasophia@yahoo.com

The meek have already inherited the earth. Let's go and walk with them.

----------------

Oct 30, 2004

Hello from Cameron and Kristina!

Here is a chance for people from the Colorado Front Range area to see "Singing in Baghdad."

Tuesday, Nov 9, 2004, 7-9pm

"Singing in Baghdad" Presentation

University Village Center in Ft. Collins

(on the 1600 Block of Plum Street just west of Colorado State University campus)

Price: Free

Sponsor: Apartment Life at Colorado State University

Fort Collins, CO

More Info: Julie Rozek 491-3270 or jrozek@lamar.colostate.edu

Directions: Heading north on Hwy 287 (college ave.) you will turn LEFT onto Prospect.

Take Prospect to Shields St and take a RIGHT.

Take a LEFT onto Plum St.

Continue for several blocks...go straight at the stop sign at the intersection of City Park.

After that intersection turn RIGHT at the THIRD parking lot entrance.

This is the University Village parking lot (feel free to park anywhere in the lot)

The Univ. Village Center will be on the left hand side after entering the lot.

And a chance for people in the region around Salida, Colorado:

Thurs, Nov 11, 2004 7-9 pm

"Singing in Baghdad" Presentation

Salida, CO

More Info: clark roberts

I've (Cameron) been working to finish my next book. This will give examples of the kinds of "soul growth" which can happen as a result of living the Musical Missionary in Reverse lifestyle. So much glowing human energy! So much ancient wisdom to drink from!

We'll be in Colorado for November, so anyone who would like to arrange for us to come and do a presentation or workshop will have that opportunity.

Then we will travel back to the Arab world: more adventures to come!

Then we will begin more tours of America to share the fruits of our explorations. Sometimes we will be travelling together and sometimes separately.

Now is the time to begin booking our presentations and workshops.

"Arab-World People: Who are they really and what are they thinking?"

"Soul Growth for Americans: becoming reverse missionaries and learning from the wisdom of the ancient civilizations.

"What Women in the Western World can learn from our Sisters in the Middle East."

Sound Healing work with Kristina: "Breaking the Sound Barrier!"

"Waking up your Soul with Music."

We will be in the Colorado and New Mexico region for November of 2004 and parts of, April, July and August of 2005.

December thru late February: back to the Arab world

March and early April, 2005: Tour through the Southern states

May thru June, 2005: Tour of West Coast

September thru October, 2005: Tour of Midwest and East Coast

Now is the time to live in a world that supports cooperation and communication between people of all nations and artistic exchanges between diverse cultural traditions.

Now is the time to delve into the ancient wisdom traditions of the world and learn from those who have carried these traditions for centuries.

It is now the time to honestly look at our selves and remove the blinders that have seperated us from the rest of the world. The time for being afraid is over, it's up to us, here and now.

We, the American people, must regain control of how our government conducts foreign policy. We must overcome our fears and re-establish contact with other ordinary people on the planet. True democracy depends on us.

And special thanks again to all of you who have helped produce one of our presentations or workshops! Please stay in touch and please feel free to reply to this message!

Check out our website: www.musicalmissions.com

A non-profit 501c3 organization has been kindly created to help support Cameron and Kristina's "reverse missionary" work. Now we need help applying for funding. Anyone with expertise in this realm would be welcome.

During these months when we are out of the country we must rely on contributions made either with credit cards through our website or by sending checks to: Musical Missions, 2090 Grape Ave, Boulder, CO 80304

Thanks! Cameron and Kristina

e-mails: cameron@rmi.net or kristinasophia@yahoo.com

--------------

Sept 21, 2004

Here is a chance for people from the Colorado Front Range area to see "Singing in Baghdad."

Saturday, October 2, 2004, 7:30 to 9:30 pm

"Singing in Baghdad" by Cameron and Kristina, Musical Missions of Peace

Multimedia Presentation: Music, Projected Photo Images, Stories

Boulder Mennonite Church - 3910 Table Mesa Drive

(1 block east of Broadway on Table Mesa Drive)

Boulder, CO

$12 suggested donation -- but no one turned away for lack of funds

For information contact Steve: 303-499-2692

This will be our 150th presentation in America based on our experiences during the last two years in the Arab world.

We have sung and represented the compassionate hearts of the American people in Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and the West Bank.

We have driven more than 35,000 miles all over America living in our travel trailer and done our presentations and workshops before 10,000 people here in America in more than half of the fifty states for many different church congregations, synagogues, peace groups, schools, and lovers of world music and dance.

We have also, as you know, performed for 60,000 Egyptians in the Cairo Stadium. We hope we have inspired Americans to contribute to the construction of the new Children's Cancer Hospital being built in Cairo.

Do a search for "hospital 57357 egypt" to find out more about this project.

Go to www.musicalmissions.com to find out more about Cameron and Kristina.

A non-profit 501c3 organization has been kindly created to help support Cameron and Kristina's "reverse missionary" work. Now we need help applying for funding. Anyone with expertise in this realm would be welcome.

Hope to see you on October 2nd!

---------------

Aug 31, 2004

New workshop series by Cameron and Kristina:

Soul Growth for Americans: becoming reverse missionaries and learning from the wisdom of the ancient civilizations.

Our presentation, "Singing in Baghdad," has been on the road here in America for more than a year now. We have driven more than 35,000 miles all over this country living in our travel trailer. We have done our presentations and workshops before 10,000 people here in America in more than 140 different events in more than half of the fifty states. We have also, as you know, performed for 60,000 Egyptians in the Cairo Stadium. We hope we have inspired Americans to contribute to the construction of the new Children's Cancer Hospital being built in Cairo.

Upcoming Schedule for Cameron and Kristina:

Sept 9th: return to Colorado. We will be in the Colorado and New Mexico region for parts of September, October and November of 2004 and parts of January, April, July and August of 2005.

December thru early January: back to the Arab world

February thru March, 2005: Tour through the Southern states

May thru June, 2005: Tour of West Coast

September thru October, 2005: Tour of Midwest and East Coast

"Don't stop what you are doing!" is something we hear again and again as we travel across America and across the Arab world. We won't stop and we will diversify our efforts to combine our presentations about the Arab world with a wider range of more-in-depth workshops covering topics such as these:

Do we speak language or does language speak us?

How is the Arab mind different from the American mind?

Overcoming Fear: Discover the amazing truth about how to travel safely!

Sensuality and Music -- you have to feel good inside...

Musical Enlightenment and Ecstasy

Working against our own Arrogance -- sorry, it’s not so easy...

'Civilization' -- whose?

Why even working for Peace is not enough -- Whose Peace is it anyway?

Gain a New Soul by Entering a New Culture

Enlightenment and Inner Peace -- in these times?

No Humor at the Expense of Others

Becoming the Prayer

Worshipping the Feminine in the Middle East and in America -- How does it work?

Study of Exotic Music: Middle Eastern Music as an example

Ancient musical rythmns and channeling sacred chants

Becoming a Musical Ambassador

Learning to Become Responsible Global Citizens before it's too late!

Do we really want to waste this precious lifetime?

We are all "right" from our own points of view

Everyone in the whole world is "right", in every language!

Thanks, Cameron and Kristina

And special thanks again to all of you who have helped produce one of our presentations or workshops! Please stay in touch and please feel free to reply to this message!

Check out our website: www.musicalmissions.com

----------------

Aug 1, 2004

"Singing in Baghdad" has been on the road here in America for a year now. We have driven more than 30,000 miles all over this country. We have done our presentations and workshops before more than 120 different audiences, democrats and republicans alike, trying to reach as many Americans as possible. That's an average of one presentation every 3 days for the last year. We are now in Flint, Michigan. We have just finished presentations in Kansas, Missouri, Indiana and Pennsylvania and are headed for Ohio, Vermont, New York, and points beyond. Audience sizes have ranged from 10 to 800. Something like 10,000 people have now seen our images and music and heard our personal accounts of what it's like to be welcomed into of one of the beautiful ancient civilizations on planet earth: the Arab-speaking world. We trust that those who have come to personally witness "Singing in Baghdad," will have a greater perspective when they vote in our upcoming elections this November. Soon, God willing, we will be carrying the positive energy of tens of thousands of Americans back to the ordinary Arabic-speaking citizens who live in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Jordan, Egypt, and other Arab-world countries where we act in our role as Peoples' Musical Ambassadors.

Financially, we are surviving on a break-even path, thanks to those of you who are financial subscribers or who have sent donations. When we are outside of America we have no income from our presentations. If you have been following our work and cheering us on, please consider becoming a financial subscriber. Think of the value you receive from all those other monthly bills you pay and then think of how much it is worth to you to have us out here representing you in the Arab World and working to bring people-to-people education to Americans. It helps us so much when you go to our website and become a financial subscriber. This guarantees us, as long as you choose not to cancel your subscription, a monthly income which can keep us going and pay our expenses. We have just worn out one van and have had to purchase another. And financial subscribers do receive extra information from us in addition to what the non-financial subscribers receive. If you go to our website you can easily use a credit card to become a financial subscriber. No one else is out here doing this work in this way. We encourage others to do it, but since we are out here and we have the musical tools, please send us your support. Thank you!

Link to our website: http://www.musicalmissions.com

Amazing things can happen and will, no doubt, continue to happen: last October in Egypt we were honored to sing before an audience of 60,000. Not only were we the only Americans selected to help raise money for a children's cancer hospital being built in Cairo, but our mission of bringing the compassion of many many thousands of Americans was understood and promoted not only to the 60,000 in the audience, but to millions of other Egyptians as well through the high-profile TV coverage we received. Viewers could, at last, view the results of our efforts and say to themselves something positive about Americans! And, as you know, it was at the encouragement of ordinary citizens in Jordan that we made our journey to sing popular Iraqi music on the streets of Bagdad with ordinary Iraqi citizens. Again, it was possible for ordinary Iraqi citizens to think and feel and say something positive about Americans. It is our belief that the official channels of communication between America and the Arab-speaking world are clogged with blind spots and unconscious prejudice and are not carrying the true messages of sanity and good will which ordinary people in both worlds desparately want to express and hear. So very many of you have told us "please don't stop what you are doing!"

Thank you for your support. Donations made can, at your request, be tax-deductable.

Also: all those who become financial subscribers at the minimum $25 per month level will receive all four of our music cd's for free if you request them and provide a mailing address.

Thanks, Cameron and Kristina

And special thanks again to all of you who have helped produce one of our presentations or workshops!

Please feel free to reply to this message.

---------------

July 1, 2004

A Suggested Presentation for your Congregation

Kristina and I have now driven more than 25,000 miles inside America and done more than 100 presentations of "Singing in Baghdad" across the country as well as dozens of our "From the American Dream to the Global Dream" workshops. We are still on the road and will do many more presentations and workshops in the coming months. To see some of the reviews we have received go to: http://www.musicalmissions.com/reviews.html

As most of you know, a year ago we personally represented the compassionate heart of America to Iraqi people on the streets of Baghdad. How did we do this? By showing up 9 days after the entrance of the US Marines into the city. We sang popular Iraqi love songs with crowds of appreciative Iraqi people. They could see that there are Americans who are happy to reach out and honor their music and support their ways of living. "We need to see more people like you!" we were told on the streets.

Last October, before an audience of 60,000 Egyptians, who sang popular Arabic music along with us, in the Cairo stadium, we again represented American decency and helped inspire contributions for a new Children's Cancer Hospital.

In November and December of 2002, we represented the good neighborly spirit of America in Jordan. Tens of thousands of American citizens cheered our efforts by e-mail. To see some of these comment go to: http://www.musicalmissions.com/jordantripcomments.html

Our work is oriented towards a time when all people on earth may be part of an egalitarian global society. There are many unconscious barriers to achieving this state of affairs: many styles of fear, ignorance and arrogance. We work to hold open communication between the Arab-speaking world and America so that we Americans can savour the ancient wisdom so abundant in the peoples of the Fertile Crescent and the Nile and Jordan river valleys and so that Arab-speaking people can know that there is a huge well of compassion in American people ready to flow forth and help mend the terrible destruction of war. And we work to enable people-to-people contact so that fear, ignorance and arrogance can dissapate and we can all learn to breathe as one.

You might want to consider inviting us to include a presentation before your congregation in our travels across America. Feel free to contact any of the church-based or peacework-based references listed below. What we present is a very uplifting reminder of the universal radiance of humanity. It is essential in these times to deal in more healthy ways with the fears which have rocked our nation in the wake of 9/11. It is important to be able to distinguish between the miniscule numbers of violently inclined people and the overwhelming majority of humanity, who desparately hope for peace and have no plans to harm anyone.

As "Musical Missionaries" we carry the tradition of "good neighborliness" which I learned as a child in rural Missouri into the international arena.

As "Musical Missionaries" we become vehicles for basic love, respect and kindness without having to pretend that we are in some way "superior" to those whom we visit. You might say that we are "missionaries in reverse" because we simply offer those whom we visit our hearts and our heart-felt willingness to learn from them. What do we learn? We learn their favorite love songs so that we can share the energy of music with them in their own styles. And we learn about and absorb aspects of their own ancient wisdoms so that we can bring that back to our audiences here in America.

I have spent years doing this work in Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Greece, the West Bank, Syria, Morocco, Spain, Peru, Bolivia and Mexico. Kristina has been accompanying me during the last few years and adds her nightingale voice and her female insights to our presentations.

To see our current schedule go to our website: http://www.musicalmissions.com and click on the "current calendar" link or scroll down to the bottom of this message.

We have now been booked across America by Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopalian, United Church of Christ, Unity, Congregational, Unitarian, Religious Science, Lutheran, as well as other church congregations, synogogues and peace organizations. Many churches have generously given us either the entire or a large portion of their Sunday morning service in which to present "Singing in Baghdad." This works well because that is the time when a large percentage of their congregation is already assembled.

Cameron and Kristina

---------------

June 30, 2004

Hello from Cameron & Kristina,

Beginning of Midwestern and East Coast Tour!

Now we are setting out to bring "Singing in Baghdad" presentations and our "From the American Dream to the Global Dream" workshops to the American Midwest and East Coast. From July to September we will do our best to cover these areas.

We have now done more than 120 of these events through the Southern and Western parts of the country.

There are still some dates available for additional presentations in the Northeastern part of the country.

Reviews and References are included below in case you would like to consider involving yourself with scheduling and producing one of our presentations.

We find that wherever we go there are so many Americans who express deep gratitude that we were personally representing the compassionate heart of America in Baghdad, Cairo, Damascus and many other Arab-world places during the last two years.

---------------

May 27, 2004

Hello from Cameron & Kristina!

Since our last e-mail to you a month ago we have finished Musical Missions of Peace presentations on the West Coast in Berkeley, Oakland, Laguna Beach, Costa Mesa, Mission Viejo, Sonora, Eugene, Grants Pass, Portland... and here we go to Port Angeles, Chelan, Yakima, Missoula, Idaho Falls, Pocatello... then back to Colorado and points East...

Yes, the summer months will see us doing dozens more presentations of "Singing in Baghdad" and "From the American Dream to the Global Dream" workshops as well as more concerts of Arabic music...

As you know, we completed our tour through the South during January and February...

Maybe it's time to re-emphasize the following:

We find the American people to be eager to find a way to communicate, personally, with people in the Arabic-speaking world. We offer that opportunity, by being the musical ambassadors that we are. More and more frequently we see eyes brimming with tears of relief and gratitude after people see our presentations and workshops...

Hearts are feeling pain from recent revelations about the realities of the American occupation of Iraq and compassion is powerfully flowing.

Please go to http://www.musicalmissions.com/reviews.html to see reviews we have been receiving. Some are from democrats, some from republicans, some from peace activists, some from members of the military...

Subscribers, donators are highly appreciated (go to www.musicalmissions.com). It looks like we are going to have to upgrade our van which pulls our trailer. Repair bills have been mounting.

Check "current calendar" on our website to see when we might be coming through your area.

------------------

April 22, 2004

Hello from Cameron & Kristina

Check our website at http://www.musicalmissions.com for more information.

We are working our way down the West Coast now, doing 3 or 4 of our "Singing in Baghdad" presentations each week. We love doing our workshops, "From the American Dream to the Global Dream," when invited to do so as a follow-up to the presentation.

This Thursday evening, April 22, we will be in Oakland at the Box Theater presenting "Singing in Baghdad"... See below for calendar of upcoming events through September, 2004.

It is still possible for us to squeeze a few more events into the West Coast schedule and there are quite a few open dates during the summer Mid-Western and East Coast tour.

We are hearing from some of you that you might like to accompany us on part of our next musical mission to the Arab world. Please e-mail us and let us know if that is the case: cameron@rmi.net or kristinasophia@yahoo.com

"History" in the Middle East is being painfully written and re-written by out-of-control forces as we proceed.

Remembering that societies are composed of individual sacred souls becomes more and more important as the headlines engrave stereotyped battle lines into our collective consciousness. It's more important than ever to be opening our minds and hearts to meet each and every person as a unique individual who in their deepest essence is eager to find ways to express his or her own personal form of compassion.

Here are some of the comments we have recently received about the ninty-plus presentations and workshops we have now done across America, and following is a list of references.

Reviews of "Singing in Baghdad" presentation and "From the American Dream to the Global Dream" workshop:

------------

I want you to know about two wonderful people with a musical and personal message of peace.

Cameron and Kristina applied to provide our service and a follow-up workshop to our UU Fellowship in Klamath Falls; so I took the leap of faith to invite them here - and what a blessing they were to all who attended.

Cameron and Kristina have traveled extensively through the middle east, including Cairo, Amman, Baghdad, Morocco, and Syria, playing the Oud and tabla, and singing together with the people on the streets in Arabic, Turkish, Greek (not to mention Mexico, singing in Spanish and South America singing in the language of the Incas!).

They refer to themselves as missionaries in reverse, learning the local ways and returning with the universal message of peace. No one told them to go home! They gained access to Baghdad, nine days after the U.S. marines entered the city, with the only credentials they had, the oud and their beautiful voices, and the songs of the people.

Their experiences and listening have filled them with a message for all of us to learn better the ways of love and peace, dispelling fear.

Please invite them to come and be the program for a service and do a workshop.

Love and Peace,

Mark London, UU Fellowship in Klamath Falls

--------------

Dear Cameron & Kristina,

The board met last evening and I want to share the comments of those who attended the "Singing in Baghdad."

It was said that this was one of the most wonderful experiences that many of us have ever had--to see what living as love can create.

It was said that you greatly undersold yourselves; that you should be marketing yourselves in a much greater way as who you are and how you are interacting in the world is the EXAMPLE we all need.

The music and singing were exceptional in quality and uniqueness, as was the information you each shared. The variety of experiences you have given yourselves in your life is magnificent and courageous.

Each of you were such dynamic and warm individuals, it was a joy to be in your presence.

I know you each and your mission will be richly blessed as you are divinity in action. Let us know when you will be in the area again. A big soft hug to each of you.

Love, Nancy & Bill Waldron

----------------

I truly loved meeting Cameron and Kristina on Friday and learning of their adventures. Talk about people who have faith and trust and have their hearts wide open.

Peter Farwell, U.S. Marines

------------

Dear Cameron and Kristina,

I attended your concert last night at Lord of the Mountains church in Dillon. Thank you so much for an incredible experience and sharing with us your wonderful talent!! I purchased 2 of your CD's which I have listened to and love and one of the beautiful scarves....thank you!

Thank you again! And PLEASE come and perform here again!!!

Sincerely,

Bonnie Norling Wakeman

------------

Cameron and Kristina:

People are RAVING about your program. Thank you SO MUCH for coming and bringing such a wonderful perspective on our world.All of our best wises and joys and hopes for the future go with you as you continue your mission and ministry!

Sue Robbins, Chair, Sunday Celebrations, High Country UU Fellowship

-------------------

Dear Cameron and Kristina,

We LOVED you guys!! And I have been telling lots of people about you. My brother told a friend who was feeling depressed about the world problems-- what you said about 99.9% of the world's population is loving, etc, and he said it made them immediately see things differently. In A Course In Miracles we would call this shift in perception a miracle. Thought you would enjoy hearing about this ripple effect from your work! Thanks again for coming to us. Love and an embrace from me, Harrel Lawrence in Avon, Co.

Oh, and I am smoothing your eyebrows from afar too!! That was so funny!

-----------------

Thank you both for sharing your music and your experiences with the folks at First Presbyterian Church Friday night as well as at the International dinner at Tenn. Tech. Univ. on Sat. night. We really enjoyed meeting you and seeing what miracles can be done if people just open their hearts. Travis Jarrell was right when she said how wonderful you all are!

God bless you on your journeys.

Marge Rios

Cookeville, TN

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Review by Weld County Public Libraries:

Cameron and Kristina,

Thank you both for the excellent presentations you gave at our two library branches. You both are such wonderful musicians and really brought a touch of the Middle Eastern culture to us. It made us realize that they are people just like us and gave us a clearer understanding of that region of the world.

We hope you will continue with your work to bring understanding to both sides. I believe it is your mission to show that all mankind is in this together and you gently brought that message to all of us.

Thank you once again for two wonderful programs. those who attended were very impressed.

Sincerely,

Pat Libera

Chair, Adult Programming Committee

Weld Library District

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My wife Batyah and I enjoyed your music very much and purchased your CD Baghdad and Beyond at the event. I recently found your CDs and booklet on maqams at maqam.com and I am enjoying them very much. I see now that I could have obtained them directly from you at musicalmissions.com but I didn't know that at the time of ordering. Your booklet is very good, I like the way you have classified the maqams and listed the scales for each.

Yehoram Weiler

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Hi Cameron and Kristina,

Thank you so much for your wonderful voices and mission. I hope you can come back to The Farm some day in the not too distant future. Bless you in your travels and what you are teaching across the country leading to understanding and peace and such beautiful music. love, Eliz

The Farm

Summertown, Tennesee

----------------

Cameron & Kristina,

The gifts of heaven are on you. The art of reaching out and giving your message is a vital part of everyone on this Earth. Every time we open our mouths we have the opportunity to allow God to speak. Every whisper, every shout, has a message. Yet every word not spoken out because of fear are messages too.

Cameron, I really miss seeing your smile as you visited us at Unity in Fayetteville, AR. Your voice carries much love and I am thankful for meeting you.

Kristina, Your beauty is on the inside as well as the out. I remember your laughter and joy and was greatly touched by your ability to sing songs with such feelings that seem to touch so many lives.

It was a blessing and honor to meet both of you and with one last word, Thank you for being you.

Unity Church member in Fayetteville, Arkansas

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Cameron & Kristina,

There is a section of my mind that I've set aside to always send you emotional support, even when I'm asleep. I talk to my friends in the various drum circles I attend about what you are doing and we drum the heartbeat for you, sending you energy from that very special primal place. I believe in and support what you're doing beyond any words that I could possibly say. Having said that, I make sure you're not far enough up in my Ivory Tower to have a bad fall if you fell out... : -)

I was really inspired by the workshop I attended in Estes. I've been having some great times learning Spanish from the native speakers here in Denver. It's turned into one of my daily rituals. More often than not it absolutely blows people's minds that I'm learning Spanish this way.

To me the eyes tell it all. As they are teaching me my word for the day I get an incredible range of looks. It seems that so many of these folks are so absolutely beaten down by American attitudes toward them that the very idea that an American would honor both their culture and them enough to want to learn some Spanish from them totally blows their minds. They are flattered that I asked them, they are grateful to be able to do it, they are impressed that I'd try, and many of them send me Big Love with their eyes. It really is a beautiful thing. I have yet to have any of them tell me to "stop bothering them...". Not only that, I see some of them on a fairly regular basis and I slowly seem to be accumulating a whole new set of friends. I'm even actually learning Spanish!!!

Tony Davis

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April 4, 2004

Dear Friends of Musical Missions of Peace and of Cameron & Kristina:

We're on the road to the Pacific Northwest and the West Coast! We have new front end parts to re-stabilize our van and are looking forward to meeting more of you! This, like the last tour through the South, will carry us another 7000 miles through America...

We are carrying the greetings of tens of thousands of Iraqis, Egyptians, Jordanians, Syrians and Palestinians into America and we are gathering the greetings from tens of thousands of Americans to carry back to the Arab-speaking world. (Add "Bridge-Menders Anonymous" as a subtitle to "Musical Missions of Peace.")

We just completed four presentations in the Colorado Rockies in the last three days... pant pant pant...

What a joy to have hundreds of Coloradans turn out to attend our "Singing in Baghdad" presentations and our "From the American Dream to the Global Dream" workshops. We have now completed more than 80 of these here in America in the last 9 months... And we have completed 3 journeys to the Arab-speaking world in the last 16 months...

Just received this morning:

"People are RAVING about your program. Thank you SO MUCH for coming and bringing such a wonderful perspective on our world. All of our best wishes and joys and hopes for the future go with you as you continue your mission and ministry!"--Sue Robbins, Chair, High Country Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

Thank you and thanks to so many others for inviting us!

As always, Kristina's first-hand information about what it's like to be a female traveller in the Arab-speaking world is a fascinating part of our presentations...

Please refer to the calendar below to discover where we can insert a visit to your congregation or group in the next few weeks and months!

Basically, April and May will be spent on the West Coast and July and August in the Midwest and on the East Coast.

We love doing our presentations for Churches, Synagogues, Libraries, Universities, Speakers' Forums, Music and Dance-oriented Groups, Peace-oriented Groups, Clubs: Any-group-at-all that is interested!

We wish to thank the many Newspaper, Television and Radio reporters and producers for such excellent recent coverage! In the last two weeks alone there have been six major features about our work. We will put additional samples of this coverage up on our website, as soon as possible.

As we mentioned in the last e-mail, the IRS has given its final approval of the Colorado 501(c)3 Non-Profit Corporation "Musical Missions of Peace."

Anyone with experience in fundraising through foundations who has ideas for how to put this new tool to work, please let us know.

We hope to see contributions and funding provide more support so that additional Musical Missionaries can do this work of making personal connections with others across national and cultural boundaries. See our website for more information.

To contact us, simply reply to this e-mail or use:

Cameron's e-mail address: cameron@rmi.net

Kristina's e-mail address: kristinasophia@yahoo.com

Phone: 303-898-6125

To add another e-mail address to the 14,000 who have already joined this list, please just go to the top of the home page on our website.

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March 17, 2004

Dear Home State Friends,

We are here in Boulder for another couple of weeks and will be doing a few presentations of "Singing in Baghdad" and one of our workshops "From the American Dream to the Global Dream" while we are still here.

Then we go back on tour to the Pacific Northwest and the West Coast... We just had a marvelous time doing 28 of our presentations through Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee!

Wonderful people everywhere!

The Schedule is Below.

Come if you can!

E-mail us for more info.

Thanks!

Cameron & Kristina

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Feb 27, 2004

Dear Friends of Musical Missions of Peace and of Cameron & Kristina:

We have been bringing the images, adventure tales and popular music from the Arabic world streets to American consciousness as fast as we can! And the thousands of Americans we have recently met seem to be hungry for our honest reporting from our musicians' angle. This makes us very happy!

We have finished our "Singing in Baghdad" tour through the South and are headed back to Colorado and then toward the Pacific Northwest.

Then we will proceed down the West coast as far as L.A. Then we retrace our steps back up through the Pacific Northwest to Colorado.

A month later we head through the Midwest toward the East Coast and New England. Then we will return through the northern Midwest back to Colorado by September.

See the precise list of bookings down below and contact us to arrange a stop in your community.

We have had wonderful audiences in Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas and Texas and have been featured on some local evening TV news programs and have been given good local radio and newspaper coverage.

We have given our presentations at Universities in Tennessee and Georgia where students are writing papers based on our information about the Arab world.

The Presbyterian and United Church of Christ congregations have been welcoming us along with those of Unitarian and Unity church affiliation.

We continue to receive great encouragement for our Musical Missions and we love to watch eyes open and energy rise as we give our presentations in front of each audience.

We have given our presentation now to 75 different audiences.

We have also given our workshops "From the American Dream to the Global Dream" at many locations as a follow-up to our presentation and this has been absolutely magical for us and for those attending. There seems to be such a crying need for this kind of growth!

Kristina and I are having a wonderful time living in this kaleidoscope of new faces and personalities. The people we meet are the prime movers in their communities and we feel honored to get to know them. Plans are already being drawn up for our return, hopefully next year, to some of these Southern communities. We extend our deepest thanks to all of those who have helped produce our presentations across America!

People keep asking us when we're going to be on Oprah. If enough people write to her show about us maybe it'll happen!

We were, after all, on the equivalent Egyptian program.

We love doing our presentations for Churches, Synagogues, Libraries, Speakers' Forums, Music and Dance-oriented Groups, Peace-oriented Groups, Clubs, Any-group-at-all that is interested. We learn something ourselves from each interaction!

If you have considered helping support us by becoming a monthly subscriber but still haven't done it, please go to the "make a donation" link on our website, http://www.musicalmissions.com, and become a subscriber. You will then also receive more frequent updates about our adventures from the inside point of view. Yes, we are really out here doing this work 24/7, 365 days/year.

The IRS has given its final approval of the Colorado 501(c)3 Non-Profit Corporation "Musical Missions of Peace." Anyone with experience in fundraising through foundations who has ideas for how to put this new tool to work, please let us know!

We hope to see contributions and funding provide enough $$$ to create legions of Musical Missionaries fanning out across the planet making personal connections with others across national and cultural boundaries. See our website for more information.

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Jan 16, 2004

Cameron & Kristina: Musical Missions of Peace

American presentation tour schedule for the first half of 2004:

Cameron & Kristina's Photographic and Musical Presentation, "Singing in Baghdad," forever changes the way Americans see the Arab world. And it uplifts the spirit.

It contains everything people need to know to reduce the bubble of fear in which America has been living!

Cameron & Kristina are now on the road with their Presentations, Workshops and Concerts through the Southern American states; then the Pacific Northwest, the West Coast, the Midwest and the East Coast!

They will be near your location at some point and would be happy to do a presentation for you and your church, club or group.

They spent 4 out of the last 12 months in Baghdad, Cairo, Amman, Damascus, Ram Allah and other Arab world cities.

They were Singing on the streets of Baghdad with grateful Iraqi citizens. "We need to see more people like you!" they were told after they sang a favorite popular Iraqi song.

They were invited by the Egyptians to perform before an audience of 60,000 in Cairo to help raise funds for a new Children's Cancer Hospital. They were the only non-Egyptian performers there.

They have just visited one of the large Palestinian refugee camps just south of Damascus, Syria. They were welcomed there to sing popular Arabic music on the streets and in local homes.

They are building a people-to-people bridge between America and the Arab-speaking world because they don't see enough people or agencies fostering the kind of mutually respectful relations that need to exist.

They are now bringing the projected photographic images, the popular Arabic music and the commentary about what life on the streets of the Arab world is really like to the American people. They have already done more than 50 shows across America and have already scheduled nearly as many more.

Here's their presentation tour schedule for the first half of 2004:

January & February: Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida and nearby areas with a return toward Colorado through the same areas;

March: Colorado & New Mexico and nearby areas;

April & May: Pacific Northwest and then south down the West Coast to Arizona and nearby areas with a return toward Colorado through same areas;

June: Colorado & New Mexico and nearby areas;

July & August: Central Midwest to East Coast to New England and then back toward Colorado through Northern Midwest and same areas;

September or October or November: back to the Arab world!

Let them know if a presentation in your region might fit into this schedule.

They will make their route as flexible as possible.

The presentation, "Singing in Baghdad," is generally 2 hours of commentary and music with images from their travels through the Arab world projected from their laptop through their LCD projector. The audience is continually invited to ask questions or make comments.

Audiences respond very favorably as they realize the power of the presentation. It reveals the beautiful reality of a highly civilized and generous and sensitive world of people that has been hidden behind the never-ending fear-driven distortions presented by the mainstream media. Even for audiences who have known for a long time that the true pictures are not getting through, this presentation gives substance to that knowledge.

They also teach a workshop called "From the American Dream to the Global Dream" which generally lasts 2 hours (although they have many more hours of material to share in this format.) They can do workshops that last for several days. But a 2-hour workshop is a good beginning for those interested in seriously making personal changes to become active partners in a new emerging global community.

Their workshops are not about forms of government. They are about methods of personal growth based on learning from the ancient and wise civilizations which are resources for those who choose to explore them.

They would recommend that you consider having them not only do their presentation, but a workshop as well.

They love doing their presentations for Churches, Synagogues, Libraries, Speakers' Forums, Music and Dance-oriented Groups, Peace-oriented Groups, Clubs, Any-group-at-all that is interested. They learn something themselves from each interaction!

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Jan 3, 2004

Dear Friends of Musical Missions of Peace and of Cameron & Kristina:

We've been singing our way through the Arab world during the last year: Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, the West Bank... We sang Arabic music for 60,000 Egyptians in the Cairo Stadium and tens of thousands of Egyptians sang along with us... We stood on the streets of Baghdad and sang Iraqi songs and many Iraqi citizens sang along with us...

We've also done more than 50 presentations here in America about our adventures in the Arab world and we are continuing to tour America.

People in this country need to know what the Arab world really looks like!

We have encountered Americans who have said things like:

"I thought Arabs would slit people's throats that tried to visit!"

"I thought Arabs just didn't value human life the way we do!"

These kinds of stereotypes abound in our society.

"Singing in Baghdad" will change forever the way you see the world and it will uplift your spirits.

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Dec 16, 2003

A Suggested Presentation for your Group:

April 18th, 2003: Cameron & Kristina were on the streets of Baghdad singing popular Arabic music with ordinary Iraqi people. The city was in flames around them. This was 9 days after the first wave of US Marines had entered the city. Cameron & Kristina were proud to be able to demonstrate that there are Americans who want to come and personally visit Iraqi citizens and open new avenues of communication and friendship with them. Cameron plays an ancient stringed Middle Eastern Lute that provides instrumental backup for their singing. Amazingly, the music provides an instant shelter of peace even as military actions are occurring nearby. An Iraqi man lovingly adjusts Cameron's bushy eyebrows for him as they sing together. "We need to see more people like you!" another Iraqi man exclaims.

October 17th, 2003: Cameron and Kristina performed in the Cairo stadium in front of 60,000 Egyptians along with dozens of Egyptian super-stars. They helped support fundraising for the construction of a new Children's Cancer Hospital being built in Cairo. They were singing popular Egyptian and Lebanese music for the enthusiastic crowd who sang along with each song.

October 28th, 2003: Cameron and Kristina were singing Lebanese line-dance music on the streets of a huge Palestinian refugee camp just south of Damascus, Syria. This camp has been there since 1948. Dozens of Palestinian school children sang along with them, amazed to realize that these Americans would take the trouble to learn their music and come to visit with them. Cameron and Kristina were invited into the local homes and treated to traditional Arab-world hospitality.

Since November of 2002, Cameron and Kristina have spent 4 months in the Arab World: in Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and the West Bank, working to build bridges of understanding between Americans and Arabs. An Israeli Jewish singer has been inspired by them to begin learning Arabic music so that she can sing with Palestinian people. This is something she was able to actually do a few months ago, thanks in part to Cameron & Kristina's inspiration.

And, since January of 2003, they have given more than 50 presentations in California, Oregon, New Mexico and Colorado about their adventures in the Arab world. They are now designing tours that will cover the rest of America.

They project photographic images showing what actually happens on the streets of these Arab countries when they sing. They tell of their adventures visiting people in their homes and they sing some of the popular Arabic music that they have learned. They have been giving these presentations in churches, theaters, libraries, private homes, universities and coffee shops: wherever groups wish to assemble. They also give powerful workshops about overcoming fear. And they present concerts featuring the music alone.

"For years I've been trying to figure out what to do and now I know!"

This is what someone ecstatically exclaimed from the back of the room after seeing Cameron & Kristina's presentation "Singing in Baghdad" at the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center convention in southern Colorado a few weeks ago.

Cameron and Kristina believe it is essential for Americans to know what ordinary Arab people are saying and thinking and feeling. There is a terrible mis-representation occurring in mainstream media. The presence of so many millions of peace-loving human beings on both sides is being overlooked or ignored.

Tony Davis helped promote one of their presentations at the Jefferson Unitarian Church in Golden, Colorado. He wrote:

"I've seen Cameron and Kristina's magnificent show. I give it a 15 out of a possible 10. Being a musician myself and actively building bridges of understanding, their message really hit home with me. Knowing the power of music, hearing Cameron and Kristina's stories brought tears of joy to my eyes. They are really using music for what it needs to be used for. Not only are they active and articulate musical ambassadors between America and the Middle East, in my mind they are National Heroes!! Tell everyone you know who may not have seen them that this is a must see!!!"

Now Cameron & Kristina are designing additional tours throughout America.

If your group has an interest in their first-hand accounts of their own hands-on peace building work, let them know so that they can include you in their upcoming national tours.

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Dec 14, 2003

To the Churches of America

Cameron & Kristina were recently on the streets of Baghdad singing popular

Arabic music with ordinary Iraqi people. They were just singing for an audience

of 60,000 Egyptians in Cairo to help raise funds for a hospital. They were just

singing with Palestinian school-children in a refugee camp in Syria.

Cameron &

Kristina are the founders of Musical Missions of Peace, a non-profit

organization. They have frequently been called "Musical Ambassadors to the

Middle East."

They represent the America:

that believes all people are created equal;

that believes in justice for all men

and women of all nationalities and races.

What is this gift of song that they have been delivering all over the Arab

world? What is it worth?

Imagine... you were born and raised in a village in Egypt near the city of

Cairo. The pyramids have been part of your landscape for thousands of years.

Every day the tourist buses zoom past. Eyes peer out of the moving windows. They

look at you but they don't see you. You feel like a fish in an aquarium. Who are

these people anyway? They have money from somewhere. What do they care about? Do

they value friendship? They come and they go. It's hard to tell who they really

are...

Imagine... suddenly out of the sea of faces in the crowd appear two Americans

singing one of your favorite songs... in your language!

Unbelievable!

Suddenly you know the truth: there are people in America, the

wealthiest country in the world, the only surviving superpower, who care enough

about you to learn your favorite songs!

On a typical day in the Middle East Cameron and Kristina sit down in a city

park and take out their instruments and begin to sing popular Arabic music in

the Arabic language. The events that follow are sometimes captured on film. (See

www.musicalmissions.com)

"Please come to my house for dinner! I want you to meet my family!" is the most

common response.

They accept invitations from Arabs and visit them in their homes.

Cameron and Kristina spent several months before, during and after the recent

attack on Iraq traveling, not just in Iraq, but also through other areas of the

Arab world creating this alternative diplomacy. Thousands in Egypt, Jordan, the

West Bank and Syria welcomed them.

"We need to see more people like you!" they were told with passion on the

streets of Baghdad...

Cameron and Kristina believe it is essential for Arabs to know what ordinary

American people are saying and thinking and feeling. We are not their enemy and

we are not the enemy of Islam.

Thousands of Americans have empowered Cameron and Kristina to become Cultural

Ambassadors during these confusing times.

And Cameron and Kristina believe it is essential for Americans to know what

ordinary Arab people are saying and thinking and feeling.

There is a terrible mis-representation occurring in mainstream media. The

presence of so many millions of peace-loving human beings on both sides is being

overlooked or ignored.

Cameron and Kristina have just finished a tour of the West Coast.

They just gave more than 40 presentations in California, Oregon, New Mexico and

Colorado.

During their presentation they project photographic images showing what happens

on the streets of the Arab world when they sing. Cameron and Kristina tell of

their adventures and sing the songs that they perform in the Middle East. They

have been giving these presentations in churches, theaters, libraries, private

homes and universities.

Tony Davis helped with promoting their morning service presentation at the

Jefferson Unitarian Church in Golden, Colorado. He wrote:

"I've seen Cameron and Kristina's magnificent show. I give it a 15 out of a

possible 10. Being a musician myself and actively building bridges of

understanding, their message really hit home with me. Knowing the power of

music, hearing Cameron and Kristina's stories brought tears of joy to my eyes.

They are really using music for what it needs to be used for.

Not only are they active and articulate musical ambassadors between America and

the Middle East, in my mind they are National Heroes!! Tell everyone you know

who may not have seen them that this is a must see!!!"

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Dec 2, 2003

Musical Missions Update

Cameron and Kristina will be on public radio tomorrow, Tuesday evening, Dec 2, 2003 to sing Arabic music and tell stories about their recent trips to Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and the West Bank. See below for details.

Upcoming tours across America will begin this winter in the Southern States and be followed in the early spring by tours through the Pacific Northwest, The West Coast, The Midwest and the East Coast. If you have an idea for helping to produce a "Singing in Baghdad" presentation of Arabic Music together with images and stories from Cameron & Kristina's recent Arab-World travels, please reply to this e-mail.

Musical Missions is devoted to discovering paths of the heart. Our minds are magnificent tools for supporting our heart-felt decisions.

Turn that around and we have endless recipes for disaster: when our minds rule our hearts, we cannot escape endless categorizations of experience into "good vs evil."

This is the dualism that must be transcended for humankind to take the next collective step into an "immediate yes" to all of existence.

Sharing a song with new friends creates a path for the heart. Because the mind is quieted by the act of singing... yes, singing... not just listening... an opportunity unfolds for the heart to leap forward into the "big yes..."

When you are feeling grief and anger over all the injustice and pain presented by the media, just stop for a moment and reflect: if you wish to feel part of what's "really going on" just go back to Living Your Life. And remember that by doing this you are spiritually bonding with 99.9% of the rest of earth's humanity!

There is an emerging Global Consciousness that knows how to distinguish between life based on compassion vs life based on fear. You are part of it.

We do not need to be deer frozen in the headlights of the headlines.

We can Sing.

We can Dance.

We can Fall in Love.

We can Raise our Children and we can Visit our Neighbors.

How can we properly Raise our Children without taking them on Visits to our Neighbors so that they know what kind of world we actually live in?

Nowadays the world is close at hand. There is no place on earth that is too distant to be called "neighbor..."

You owe it to yourself to make a personal exploration of planet earth and its peoples...

Cameron and Kristina, sponsored artists of Musical Missions of Peace, are planning to lead a Musical Mission for other Americans who would like to pay a visit to our neighbors in the Arab-speaking world. No musical qualifications are necessary but many musical moments will be included. Anyone could join them. Please let them know by replying to this e-mail or by giving one of them a call if you think you might be interested.

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Nov 23, 2003

The plane lifts off from the Egyptian runway and soon soars over the Mediterranean... the North Atlantic... the Greenland icecap... the far Canadian North... finally touching down in Denver... November 6th....

A day of shuffling and we depart for Albuquerque, New Mexico, our internal clocks still 9 hours accelerated... when the sun rises here, it is already setting in Cairo...

We gave our presentations in Albuquerque and Santa Fe on Saturday and Sunday... Monday: back to Boulder, Colorado. We pull our little house on wheels behind our van... home is wherever we happen to be...

Three days pass in Boulder and we pull our trailer over to the Western Slope of Colorado: Grand Junction. We conduct TV, Radio and Newspaper Interviews and then, over a period of three days, give our presentation, a workshop and a musical offering through the local Religious Science Spiritual Center... Everywhere we go feels more and more like home... We will feel at home when we come to your neck of the woods too...

Our Multi-Media Presentations, Workshops and Concerts each offer a unique window into the Arab-speaking world.

Americans now seem hungry for these straightforward, unbiased, people to people communications and we have currently been invited to more than 30 American churches and synagogues as well as to other types of groups and venues.

On November 17th and we park beside the Colorado River somewhere in Western Colorado for the night... We took a walk beside the red rock cliffs before sunset... light snow above... light rain on the river... feels like home...

Thank you from the depths of our hearts to all of you who helped to produce our events! And to all those of you who attended! We know that many of you have voiced a desire to see our presentations repeated in your communities or in other communities. We will, of course, be glad to hear from you all again...

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Oct 30, 2003

Kristina Writes:

One thing I have noticed about the Arab world is the respect the teenagers have

for the elders. I'm reminded of Margret Mead's observations in "Coming of Age in

Samoa". I've yet to see a teenager make an angry or critical remark about his or

her parent. It probably happens occasionally but I've yet to witness it.

The other day in Lattakia, Syria I was "kidnapped" by two young girls, probably

about 16 and 17 years old, and taken up to their apartment. The young sisters

Rana and Hessin were eager to introduce me to their mother who obviously was

loved dearly. Three aunts were there visiting along with several cousins of all

ages and an uncle or two. The house was full of people all smiling and using

whatever English they could come up with to communicate with me. They kept

asking me to sing to them either the Lebanese "dabke" song "An Nada" or a Fairuz

song "Atini Nay" or "Nassam Alaina." When a new person came in I would have to

sing another line. They would all smile and giggle. They couldn't believe an

American knew their music. Rana and Hessin and their mother would all say from

time to time "I love you Kristina!" I felt so welcomed I honestly felt like

crying, they were so sweet. At some point Hessin and I laid down on her bed with

her English book and I helped her with her pronunciation. And she helped me with

some Arabic words. She told me that she wished very much to learn English but

that she did not have a good teacher. At this point I was fantasizing about

staying here and making a living as an English teacher. I think if I were to

stay I would have a network of hundreds of female friends within weeks. I can't

help but notice the contrasts in our cultures. I think the Arab ways are usually

misunderstood by Americans. The women travel in different circles than those of

the men. The men are more on the streets. The women travel more between the

houses, but they seem to have a lot of power. In Egypt, our Canadian friend Pat

who has lived and worked in Cairo for six years claims the women are the ones

who are in control. She tells us, for instance, that most women and their

families insist that the husband-to-be buy and completely furnish an apartment

before he can marry. A new bride almost always steps into a marriage with a new

home, and a few thousand dollars worth of gold jewelery (which is hers to keep

if the marriage fails).

more later....Kristina

Cameron Writes about the latest Musical Adventures:

A phone call to Julian led to the reference to Ibrahim... Julian, the resident

local French/Swiss qanun (middle-eastern zither-like instrument) player, had

been playing music all night with some Greeks so he went back to sleep after my

call... "call me later and tell me what happened," he said...

Here is what happened:

Ibrahim came to pick us up an hour later in his little covered Suzuki mini-truck

and carried us, along with a friend of his, into the outskirts of Aleppo...

somewhere... we sang improvisations... mawals... along the way to Ibrahim's oud

factory.

Four young craftsmen were working together in the workshop, manufacturing the

instruments. Several of Ibrahim's 6 children scooted about. The oldest is

eleven, the youngest is 3 months: four boys and two girls. The second youngest

boy climbed over us like a little monkey. Kristina couldn't believe how strong

his wiry little arms had become. Ibrahim grinned at him, picked him up and

treated him to an acrobatic flight up over and around his head and shoulders.

We tuned and played four different types of ouds and I was impressed that we had

found a high-quality factory here in Syria. Ibrahim, who is a highly skilled oud

player as well as maker, spent an hour trading melodies with me and showing me

the fine points of microtonal note pitches deep in the land of maqamat (ancient

Arabic musical modes and decorations)... He complimented me by telling me that

my playing already sounded Arabic, which he conceded was very difficult, and

added that if I were to spend only a week working with a local master teacher, I

would put the details together on another level in my own playing. Regardless of

where I may be in my progress as an oud player, I found myself hypnotized by his

musical energy.

I watched his face depart from the business at hand and become the pure

expression of very ancient purely Arabic tradition. During these times he seemed

to forget that my Arabic is only that of a two-year-old and spontaneously

launched into in-depth explanations using the fine points of Arabic musical

terminology. I nodded as if I understood, not wishing to interrupt his flow of

words and music. Somewhere inside of me a whole new arena for learning was being

created.

After an hour or two of oud playing, the moment of sunset was approaching.

Ibrahim invited us upstairs to his home where his wife had been preparing the

first meal of the day: to be eaten immediately after the sunset call-to-prayer.

We took one oud with us upstairs. Ibrahim spoke English better than I spoke

Arabic, but not by a whole lot. We would gently nudge meanings this way and that

with a mixture of words from both languages. After we discussed the world

situation briefly, Ibrahim laughed, picked the oud back up, and said: "...the

only things you and I will ever be able to change in this world will be the

music!"

The meal was served to us by the children. They were a smoothly functioning

adjunct to the flow of work. They also took turns caring for the 3-month-old,

who also seemed quite content. We never saw any of these children exhibiting

anything but playfulness, love and caring for each other. We just can't help

noticing the contrast with family life in America where children reach their

limits of compassion for each other so quickly and seem always so eager to make

their contributions to the family work-load as short as possible. This family

seemed to have boundless mutual energy for generosity with each other. All I can

do is tell what we see... That doesn't mean that conflicts don't arise... But we

just didn't see them...

Kristina took her turn holding the baby and then was invited by the children to

go and hang out with Ibrahim's wife.

This mother of six had been preparing the meal, but the children did all the

serving. Things here are obviously worked out according to some ancient formula

that still works.

Ibrahim told me proudly that he had succeeded in purchasing a home for each of

his children. He volunteered the prices of these homes: equivalent to $16,000 US

dollars each. The boys flowed constantly around him, watching and listening and

learning. They were never demanding or interfering in any way. The daughters

flowed equally smoothly through his loving energy. They spent more time helping

their mother... or so I am told by Kristina who was spending time in another

room with the women and girls...

Could it be that these ancient social structures are based on responsible family

behaviour with an expectation of guidance from the wisdom of the elders? Could

it be that the children are integrated into this structure and perform useful

functions within it from such early ages that their pride in their own

contributions replaces the opportunities for rebellious behavior? The constant

pushing to "test the limits of parental authority" which is so embedded in our

American children's way of life seemed completely absent. Is that why the life

on the streets even late at night is so safe here?

One of the young sons fell asleep in the middle of the floor. Freeform

nap-taking apparently replaces any firm concept of "bedtime." People are out and

about all day and all night. Several two-hour naps here can replace our

eight-hour rest period, which we so cherish in the West.

Syrians are a little more introverted than Egyptians. They think perhaps twice

instead of just once. We Americans seem to need to think ourselves into

exhaustion. Maybe that's why we need more sleep. Perhaps that underlies our

habit of experiencing constant stress.

It's certainly not that you could ever find more horn-honking and tightly

interwoven traffic patterns than we find here... Yet the workmen on their

ladders still seem relaxed in their faith that the automobiles whizzing past

only a foot away from their legs will always maintain the necessary magical

cushion of safe space.


Much later the same evening we entered a restaurant back in the center of town

(for lunch at midnight) and recognized the oud-player's instrument as a product

of Ibrahim's craftsmanship.

Yusef, the oud player, soon deciphered our familiarity with Arabic music and

began "talking to us" with his oud-playing and with his eyes... This is a deeply

ancient Arabic way of communicating and Aleppo is the place where this is still

happening. We laughed and smiled as the "messages" entered our souls. He

switched from one musical mode to another... and then another... artfully... to

make his musical points.

Soon we were invited to sing and play a song. One thing led to another. We met a

rare breed: another American. We laughed about the silly misconceptions which

lead Americans to always congratulate us upon returning "safely" from Syria or

other places in the Arab world. He, like us, tries to explain to the Americans

back home that it's much safer in Syria than in the States. He is an

Arabic-music-loving gentleman who works for the Environmental Protection Agency

in Washington DC.

We also met Bachir, a co-owner of the restaurant in which we had just been

playing and singing. He laughed with us about the idea that Westerners have

about safety here. He said that even Europeans now are sometimes arriving filled

with the American and British propoganda and inquire if it's safe for them to go

out of their hotel rooms. He told us about real estate transactions commonly

conducted on the streets where citizens are busy counting hundreds of thousands

of dollars worth of cash in public places with no fear of robbery. He gave us

our midnight "lunch" for free in exchange for our music and our friendship.

He told us more about the incredible melting pot of Middle Eastern cultures

here: Armenians, Greeks, Turkoman, Kurds, Azerbaijanis, Uzbeks, Russians, Syrian

Arabs, Jews (we met a couple of them), Palestinians... etc etc... But no

McDonalds, Coca Cola, Kentucky Fried Chicken or American automobile dealers...

It's kind of like living inside an exotic history book... but with modern sexy

Lebanese music videos dancing lively on the TV sets... and women's clothing

stores filled with risque outfits while a mix of conservatively dressed and more

modernly dressed females walk the narrow labyrinthine ancient cobblestone

streets...

Bachir took us down the stairs under the restaurant into a furnished cave with

ventilation holes carved up through the ceiling... "We can guess that this cave

has been inhabited for 5000 years now... we don't really know..."

Archeological diggings are showing that Aleppo may actually have been

continuously inhabited now for 8000 years...

--------------

Oct 24, 2003

Musical Missions of Peace -- Cameron and Kristina now in Syria:

Walking in the huge "Muhayim Filastini" -- Palestinian refugee camp -- south of

Damascus, Syria, I was accompanied by my three strongest allies: my singer, my

oud and my familiarity with the streets of the Arab world.

Kristina is my singer, my oud is my oud and my familiarity comes from a lifelong

curiosity to be with every kind of person in every kind of way so that I can

find out WHO WE ALL ARE!????

It was just a short time before a Palestinian man pointed toward my oud case and

asked for a song.

Warning: don't carry an oud with you in the Arab world unless you are prepared

to sing. You will tire yourself out from the effort of declining invitations.

I sat in a little plastic chair in front of a tiny grocery store and withdrew my

oud from it's case. Kristina and I began to sing Egyptian, Syrian and Lebanese

songs as the crowd grew around us.

A group of grade-school age children in their blue school uniforms gathered

around close. Their favorite of the styles I could offer turned out to be

Lebanese line-dance music. We returned to sing "An Nadda" over and over again at

their insistence.

One of the men who had initially invited us from in front of his store had

assembled a plate of appetizers for us to snack on, but the singing would not

stop. The children screamed for more and more until the crowd grew to such a

size that unpredictable crushing waves of appreciative onlookers could have

accidentally squashed me and my oud and my singer.

Eating the offered appetizers was not possible in this situation, so we accepted

an invitation to climb the stairs across the street to enter a bare room wherein

we met and drank tea with six brothers, one sister and their mother.

The 14-year-old sister was the only one in the family who spoke any English. But

it didn't seem that her English was really any better than our Arabic. They were

uproariously enthusiastic about the idea that Americans would show up on their

streets singing Arabic music.

There are several of these Palestinian refugee camps surrounding Damascus: Kabr

Essit, Jaramana, Khan Dannoun, Khan Ashieh, Sbeineh and Yarmouk are among them.

They were created in 1948. Several hundred thousand Palestinians are living in

these camps hoping for the day when they, or, as they explain hopefully, at

least their children, can return to the towns from which they fled.

Returning to the streets, we made our way back toward the "old town" in the

center of Damascus. Late that night I found myself playing another musician's

oud and singing in the Umayid Palace Restaurant in the old traditional musical

style with a Syrian audience appreciatively singing along as the qanun player

and I discovered melodies familiar to both of us.

We stopped for two nights in Latakia on our way to Aleppo. The hotel owners'

family of 25 or so people gathered on one of the balconies of the hotel where

Kristina and I and one of the uncles took turns leading the singing. Later that

night the women took Kristina back into their rooms and kept her laughing for

two hours while they played with each other and the children.

I went with a few of the men to inspect ouds at a local workshop. The father had

been making ouds there for the last 40 years and now the son is taking over the

work.

The following night we went to watch the young men and women dance "dabke" at a

large seaside restaurant. Every day we are amazed at the glimpses we get into

this Arab world. I don't think I have ever seen young men have as much

uproarious fun as these guys did doing these highly improvisational but also

traditional line dances.

What can I say... you had to be there...

And sometimes you just can't bring yourself to drag out the camera and poke it

into the situation...

Now we are in Aleppo... this is a place which has been continuously inhabited

for at least 5000 years... some suggest 8000... It is the home of one of the

most highly prized musical traditions in the Arab world: "qadoult arabiya."

Ramadan began today. We stayed in the room to catch up on much needed sleep. We

had breakfast with everyone else immediately after the sun set... We entered a

restaurant about half and hour before this time so that we would be certain to

find a seat... We sat at a large group table with a Syrian couple...

An oud player and a singer appeared just before sunset. The singer sang the call

to prayer for us in the restaurant and we began to break our day-long fast by

eating dates...

-------------

Oct 18, 2003

To All of You Who Follow our Musical Missions:

We received overflowing

appreciation from this beautiful Egyptian audience of approximately 60,000 here

in Cairo last night. We could hear the crowd singing along with us at many

times. And during our improvision there were moments of ecstatic appreciation.

Our energy is now reverberating in ways that can help the fundraising for this

Children's Cancer Hospital being constructed here.

And our energy is now reverberating in ways that can help Americans understand

how we, as a nation, could be reaching further out toward the vast majority of

Middle Easterners who work toward the common good.

We will do everything we can to help other Americans overcome the fears about

the Arab-speaking peoples which have become so exaggerated.

We met so many dedicated people who are working literally day and night toward

the completion of this hospital. The structure of the hospital is completed. Now

the equipment must be purchased and installed. We are honored to have been

included and we will continue to try and support this project.To learn more go

to http://www.57357.com/


We wish to thank Ayman, a new Egyptian friend, who jumped in with us to play the

drum for our performances.

We wish to thank the Egyptian TV crews for their coverage of the event and for

inviting us to so many interviews after our performances.


We wish to thank all the coordinators here at this marvelous festival for their

endless support in working out the ever-elusive last-minute details.


Egyptians live in a constant upswell of positive energy which somehow makes

things come together at the last minute. Much of the work seems to happen on

some telepathic level. They do not think or work linearly. Everything happens at

once. They swim in a constant flow of powerful energetic currents. Beatifically

smiling faces pop us everywhere. Anger rises when there are bottlenecks in the

flow. Westerners find it exhausting yet somehow magical. All I can say is that I

feel honored.


The last few days have been an amazing whirlwind. We are only now beginning to

adjust our internal clocks to the 8-hour time change from Colorado. We are

night-owls by nature, but being awake every night until the sun rises has been

ridiculous. The night before the festival gave Kristina less than one hour of

total sleep. Being hailed by an adoring Egyptian audience as the "beautiful Miss

America" buoyed her spirits, however... to say the least.

We played our first show more or less on time after watching delightful

selections of children's dances and Saidi folkloric music and dance: a girl

dancing with two boys dressed in a horse costume... a troupe of mizmar and

percussion players and a tumbling costume which appears to be two midgets

wrestling but in reality is a costume worn by only one dancer...


Happy with the reception from the crowd during our first show, we began looking

forward even more to our performance on the main stage. After scheduling delays

which, for a while, cast doubts on whether there would even be time for all of

us, we were invited up to the main stage in the center of the Cairo Stadium.

All that was audible through the huge stacks of speakers was our voices and

maybe a tiny taste of Ayman's drum. A traditional acoustic instrument like my

oud could not be heard without unendurable acoustic feedback. But the crowd

erupted with appreciation as they heard our voices... They clapped and sang

along at the climactic moments in the music... We began with "Habibi Aini"... I

sang a vocal taqasim (improvisation) which allowed me to pour full expression

out into the crowd... They screamed with appreciation... We then played "Daret

el Ayam" and Kristina's voice carried the crowd into their deep love for Um

Kolthoum... We could hear thousands of them singing along with us. We finished

with an Amr Diab hit: "Habibi ya Nour el Ayeen"... We sang it too fast and the

guitar, which I had purchased for $60 from my friend Naser on Mohammad Ali

Street only the night before, sounded terribly metallic... But we felt welcome

and we felt appreciated... We wove our path from TV interview to TV interview in

the deafening arena surrounding the stage... We signed autographs and shook

hands in the crowd for the next hour or so...

We finally found a place to rest and, with some of our growing network of

friends, both Egyptian and American, who have been surrounding and supporting

us, eventually enjoyed a bowl of kosheree, one of the delicious spicy vegetarian

Egyptian countryside dishes.Thank you Pat! Thank you Miriamah! Thank you Dr.

Sharrif! Thank you Gamal! Mustafa...!

At the end of the evening, after a long parade of the latest top Egyptian

popular singers, Amr Diab, the most popular singer of them all, was whisked

magically onto the stage and we all enjoyed his energetic performance.


Please send us your comments by replying to this e-mail. Make certain that the

subject line clearly distinguishes it from the tons of spam we all receive.

And I am now beginning to write more extensive accounts of our adventures which

tell the more complete tales of all our ups and downs. These will be sent to

those who support our work at the subscription level. To become a subscriber, go

to www.musicalmissions.com and click on the "make a donation" link. From there

you can become a monthly subscriber at any monetary level and you will begin

receiving this additional, more personal, information.

Cameron <cameron@rmi.net>


From Kristina:

Everyone, just to share a bit with you...I have a theory about

Egyptians: they are on the road to enlightenment, although they would not use

that term.

The most common comment you hear from them is "insha'allah" which means "God

willing" When you say "see you tommorrow" it is always followed by

"insha'allah".Every plan for the future is subject to the will of God, thus in

their minds nothing is set in stone. Everything is always in a state of flux or

change.

Consequently they are alert and awake.They have to be. For example, it

is common for cars to whiz by pedestrians with only 6 inches clearance.

In this part of the world nothing happens as planned but somehow it all works.

For all of you New Agers who are striving to learn how to live in the present

momment, just come to Egypt to live for awhile.You will either get it or you

will turn into a nervous wreck.

It will also be a good place to come if you tend to have a controlling type of

personality. Nothing here will be in your control. It is useless to even try.

It is all placed in the hands of God. Again, you will either get it or you will

soon catch a flight back home.

It is very safe here despite what you may have heard. I highly recommend booking

a flight ASAP.

I would love to hear from you... Thanks for tuning in to our adventures.

Kristina<kristinasophia@yahoo.com>

------------

Oct 14, 2003

We arrived yesterday here in Cairo, Egypt. Today we met with the organizers of

the Children's Cancer Hospital Festival at which we will be singing on Friday.

Amr Diab, one of the top current Egyptian singers, will be the big star at the

end of the evening. We will be playing at three times earlier in the day: at

11:00, at 2:00 and at 6:00. The size of our projected Egyptian audience is now

projected to be 60,000 to 80,000 people.

This evening we met with some young Cairo musicians who will play with us to

support our Egyptian music performance. Our band here will now have, for those

of you who know these instruments, Qanun, Nay, Riq and Tabla. Tomorrow we will

rehearse.

The most exciting event of the day: at ten o'clock this evening we were

interviewed on a popular Cairo talk show. We entered the Egyptian "Hollywood" or

"Media City" to produce a TV show hosted by Selma Es Harm'ana. We explained to a

TV audience of possibly several million Egyptians over the Nile Variety Channel

of Orbit TV that we have been working hard in America and in Baghdad, Cairo,

Amman, Aqaba and Ramallah to construct a bridge of positive communication

between America and the Arab world. And then we played two short versions of our

Egyptian musical repertoire on my oud (the ancient Middle Eastern Lute) and with

our singing voices to show how we are using music to build a foundation of

sympathy between our different worlds.

We explained that we have done forty presentations back in America since we

returned from our last trip to the Arab world in April. And we explained that

Americans, after seeing one of our presentations, can have a whole new view on

the Arab world; that they will then, hopefully, think twice before making

broadly negative judgements. Tomorrow this same TV show will be aired in Cairo

for a second time.

We are doing what we can to build these bridges of

understanding which we hope will lead to more peaceful choices in the future.

We are not receiving funding for these efforts other than the donations and

subscriptions offered by those of you who are following us. If you have ever

felt like helping support these efforts, now is, of course, a good time to do

it. By going to our website www.musicalmissions.com and clicking on the

subscriptions and donations link you can easily accomplish this. We are a

non-profit foundation so donations are tax-deductable. And we will transfer your

support in the best ways we can toward our mutual vision of what a world at

peace looks and feels like. You can also help us arrange more presentations back

home in America at churches, libraries, private homes, studios and theaters.

I just finished publishing a new book, Singing in Baghdad, which contains the

stories and photographs of our recent trips to Iraq, Jordan, Egypt and the West

Bank. And we just finished pressing a final version of our new CD, Baghdad and

Beyond, on which you will hear some of the music we play here in the Arab world.

Both of these items may be ordered from our website.

As far as we can tell, there are still very few Americans doing this work. We

are the only Americans here to play at this Hospital Fundraiser. We feel it to

be a great honor and are confidently placing one foot in front of the other on

this path.

Eventually it will become common human knowledge that we all are one and the

same. And the idea of one tribe warring on another will some day become

abhorrent to all. We are doing what we can do and are looking forward to hearing

from you. After this concert here in Egypt, our plan is to proceed to some of

the most ancient fountains of musical creativity in the Arab world: Damascus and

Aleppo.

Thank you for your attention. Cameron

---------------

Sept 28, 2003

Cameron and Kristina to play for 60,000 in Cairo!

On October 17th, 2003, Cameron and Kristina, of Musical Missions of Peace, will

be performing their Arabic music repertoire before a projected audience of

60,000 in Cairo, Egypt.

This is a clear way to let 60,000 Egyptians know that there are many Americans

wanting to build bridges of peace and hope across the world and simultaneously

contribute to the construction of the largest Children's Cancer Treatment and

Research Hospital in the Middle East.

The proceeds from ticket sales to this event will be contributed to this new

hospital. Cameron and Kristina's performance contribution to this event will

represent the compassionate heart of America.

Cameron and Kristina believe that we, the people, have to continually re-create

a healthy social fabric. Yes, we have to do it ourselves. Current governments

are failing in this task.

Cameron and Kristina have recently returned from walking the streets of the Arab

world with no agenda except that of the heart. They were accepting invitations

to live with Arab-speaking people in their homes or paying no more than fifteen

dollars a night for rooms in family-run hotels. When Cameron and Kristina sing

popular Arabic songs with hundreds of villagers beside the Nile, Tigris,

Euphrates, and Jordan rivers, they make an impact and are remembered for the

generous American spirit which they represent.

Ninety-eight per cent of humanity wants nothing more nor less than to live in

peace. This seems clear when you actually take the time to walk the streets of

the world. Meanwhile, the farmers, the truck drivers, the teachers and the

waitresses across America just don't have time to go find this out for

themselves. Cameron and Kristina bring back images and messages for us all.

For the first time in the history of the world, the younger generations are

making daily cross-cultural contacts across the internet. The internet cafes all

over the planet are humming night and day with communication. We are part of a

new generation capable of remaking the governments of the world so that we can

begin to live in a world enlightened by an intuitive cosmic consciousness that

we all know exists. This process will take some time, but we are all working on

it.

Since Cameron and Kristina returned from their trip to Baghdad in April, they

have given forty presentations of projected photographic images, Arabic music

and accounts of their recent adventures in the Arab world. They have traveled

through Colorado, New Mexico, California and southern Oregon to help educate

American audiences of all different kinds. They have now been invited to give

their presentation, called "Singing in Baghdad," at thirty more locations,

mostly churches, across the country. These tours will continue when they return

from this next trip to the Middle East. If you would like to see one of their

presentations in your community, get in touch with them.

Meanwhile: Cairo. Any child diagnosed with cancer will receive free treatment at

this new hospital! This may mean a lot, for example, to a new generation of

Iraqis who are suffering from the contamination of their environment during the

recent wars.

Cameron and Kristina were on the streets of the Arab world before, during and

after the recent war representing Americans who would have perhaps chosen

non-violent ways to resolve conflict. They were singing in Baghdad, Amman,

Aqaba, Cairo and Ramallah during those heart-wrenching times. And they were

receiving a growing swell of support from Americans back home.

Television appearances are being arranged for them in Cairo in advance of their

October 17th fundraising performance.

If you feel motivated to support this work, please make a contribution and know

that your money will be put to good use. Cameron and Kristina cannot continue to

do this work without financial support from Americans.

Musical Missions of Peace is a 501c3 non-profit corporation through which your

expressions of support can be sent.

Go to www.musicalmissions.com and study what Cameron and Kristina have been

doing. Their mission is not to remake the Arab world into something it may not

want to be, but rather to honor the beauty that it already manifests. This is

the only possible foundation for trust between our peoples. The fact that

Cameron and Kristina have been invited to represent America at this colossal

event is testimony to the fact that their message is reaching the Arab world.

Checks may be made out to Musical Missions of Peace and mailed to:

Musical Missions

2090 Grape Ave

Boulder, CO 80304

Or you may go to www.musicalmissions.com and click on the "Make a Donation" link

and use Paypal to contribute.

Here is the direct link: http://www.musicalmissions.com/subscriptions.html

If you desire a receipt (available for contributions over $50) with the

Non-Profit Corporation's Federal Employer ID Number on it, please request one to

be sent by either e-mail (preferable) or by regular mail.

And Cameron and Kristina especially wish to thank those of you who have already

become subscribers through the Paypal links on the website and committed a

monthly amount to support this work!

Eventually, with enough support, Musical Missions of Peace can become a

stepping-stone for others who desire to create these musically initiated

people-to-people connections of friendship. There is no end to the types of

constructive projects that can be carried out.

Cameron & Kristina's powerful people-to-people connection has been acknowledged

many times over as carrying more good-will than most official government

programs. This connection does not carry any hidden agendas. Supporting funds

are not mis-spent on bureaucracy. What you see is what you get: simple

heart-to-heart communication.

---------------

Sept 18, 2003

Description of Cameron & Kristina's Musical, Visual and Factual Presentation: "Singing in Baghdad":

Cameron & Kristina were on the streets of Baghdad singing popular Arabic music with ordinary Iraqi people just a few weeks ago.

Cameron & Kristina are the founders of Musical Missions of Peace, a non-profit organization. They have frequently been called "Musical Ambassadors to the Middle East."

They represent the America:

that believes all people are created equal...

that believes in justice for all men and women of all nationalities and races.

What is this gift of song that they have been delivering all over the Arab world? What is it worth?

Imagine... you were born and raised in a village in Egypt near the city of Cairo. The pyramids have been part of your landscape for thousands of years. Every day the tourist buses zoom past. Eyes peer out of the moving windows. They look at you but they don't see you. You feel like a fish in an aquarium. Who are these people anyway? They have money from somewhere. What do they care about? Do they value friendship? They come and they go. It's hard to tell who they really are...

Imagine... suddenly out of the sea of faces in the crowd appear two Americans singing one of your favorite songs... in your language!

Unbelievable!

Suddenly you know the truth: there are people in America, the wealthiest country in the world, the only surviving superpower, who care enough about you to learn your favorite songs!

On a typical day in the Middle East Cameron and Kristina sit down in a city park and take out their instruments and begin to sing popular Arabic music in the Arabic language. The events that follow are sometimes captured on film.

"Please come to my house for dinner! I want you to meet my family!" is the most common response.

They accept invitations from Arabs and visit them in their homes.

Cameron and Kristina spent several months before, during and after the recent attack on Iraq traveling, not just in Iraq, but also through other areas of the Arab world creating this alternative diplomacy. Thousands in Egypt, Jordan and in the West Bank welcomed them.

"We need to see more people like you!" they were told with passion on the streets of Baghdad...

Cameron and Kristina believe it is essential for Arabs to know what ordinary American people are saying and thinking and feeling. We are not their enemy and we are not the enemy of Islam.

Thousands of Americans have empowered Cameron and Kristina to become Cultural Ambassadors during these confusing times.

And Cameron and Kristina believe it is essential for Americans to know what ordinary Arab people are saying and thinking and feeling.

There is a terrible mis-representation occurring in mainstream media. The presence of so many millions of peace-loving human beings on both sides is being overlooked or ignored.

Cameron and Kristina have just finished a tour of the West Coast.

They just gave more than 30 presentations in California, Oregon, New Mexico and Colorado.

During their presentation they project photographic images showing what happens on the streets of the Arab world when they sing. Cameron and Kristina tell of their adventures and sing parts of the songs that they perform in the Middle East. They have been giving these presentations in churches, theaters, libraries, private homes and universities.

-------------

Sept 11, 2003

To the Churches of America

A suggested Presentation for your Congregation:

Cameron & Kristina were on the streets of Baghdad singing popular Arabic music with ordinary Iraqi people just a few weeks ago.

Cameron & Kristina are the founders of Musical Missions of Peace, a non-profit organization. They have frequently been called "Musical Ambassadors to the Middle East."

They represent the America:

that believes all people are created equal...

that believes in justice for all men and women of all nationalities and races.

What is this gift of song that they have been delivering all over the Arab world? What is it worth?

Imagine... you were born and raised in a village in Egypt near the city of Cairo. The pyramids have been part of your landscape for thousands of years. Every day the tourist buses zoom past. Eyes peer out of the moving windows. They look at you but they don't see you. You feel like a fish in an aquarium. Who are these people anyway? They have money from somewhere. What do they care about? Do they value friendship? They come and they go. It's hard to tell who they really are...

Imagine... suddenly out of the sea of faces in the crowd appear two Americans singing one of your favorite songs... in your language!

Unbelievable!

Suddenly you know the truth: there are people in America, the wealthiest country in the world, the only surviving superpower, who care enough about you to learn your favorite songs!

On a typical day in the Middle East Cameron and Kristina sit down in a city park and take out their instruments and begin to sing popular Arabic music in the Arabic language. The events that follow are sometimes captured on film.

"Please come to my house for dinner! I want you to meet my family!" is the most common response.

They accept invitations from Arabs and visit them in their homes.

Cameron and Kristina spent several months before, during and after the recent attack on Iraq traveling, not just in Iraq, but also through other areas of the Arab world creating this alternative diplomacy. Thousands in Egypt, Jordan and in the West Bank welcomed them.

"We need to see more people like you!" they were told with passion on the streets of Baghdad...

Cameron and Kristina believe it is essential for Arabs to know what ordinary American people are saying and thinking and feeling. We are not their enemy and we are not the enemy of Islam.

Thousands of Americans have empowered Cameron and Kristina to become Cultural Ambassadors during these confusing times.

And Cameron and Kristina believe it is essential for Americans to know what ordinary Arab people are saying and thinking and feeling.

There is a terrible mis-representation occurring in mainstream media. The presence of so many millions of peace-loving human beings on both sides is being overlooked or ignored.

Cameron and Kristina have just finished a tour of the West Coast.

They just gave more than 20 presentations in California, Oregon, New Mexico and Colorado.

During their presentation they project photographic images showing what happens on the streets of the Arab world when they sing. Cameron and Kristina tell of their adventures and sing parts of the songs that they perform in the Middle East. They have been giving these presentations in churches, theaters, libraries, private homes and universities.

Tony Davis helped arrange for them to do the morning service at the Jefferson Unitarian Church in Lakewood, Colorado. He wrote:

"I've seen Cameron and Kristina's magnificent show. I give it a 15 out of a possible 10. Being a musician myself and actively building bridges of understanding... their message really hit home with me. Knowing the power of music, hearing Cameron and Kristina's stories brought tears of joy to my eyes. They are really using music for what it needs to be used for.

Not only are they active and articulate musical ambassadors between America and the Middle East, in my mind they are National Heroes!! Tell everyone you know who may not have seen them that this is a must see!!!"

Now Cameron & Kristina are designing additional tours throughout America.

Churches make especially ideal locations for their presentation: Singing in Baghdad. They have been recently invited by churches in Tennessee, Colorado, Texas, Indiana, Maryland, Louisiana, Washington, Arizona, Michigan, Arkansas, Georgia, Minnesota, Oregon... Invitations from many other states are being received...

Please contact them and see if a presentation for your congregation can be included in one of their tours.

----------

jan 8, 2003

The question comes up: "what's so great about the Middle East?"

We've heard that Islamic Arabs are frightening fundamentalists, terrorists perhaps, who deny equal rights to women.

Having just returned from Jordan and Palestine, and having travelled previously in Egypt and Morocco, I can give you some more positive impressions.

Eyes are a window into the soul. I seldom experience the open channel here in America that I find in the Middle East. Or if the window opens for a moment, we shy away and detach our gaze.

Looking into my Bedouin musician friend Hussein's eyes while he plays a song for me is like drinking sweet nectar seasoned by centuries of gentle wisdom.

Broad-band wide-open soul-level eye contact can continue unbroken for many minutes.

Watching mothers or fathers with their children, no matter what their ages, I see a loving connection so intense that we "westerners" could feel embarassed to allow it. The sweet wet glances of women I pass on the street, even if viewed only through a slit in their veil, tell me that there is a very vibrant being inside.

When I recently left Amman, Jordan, and boarded an airplane staffed by European flight attendants, I immediately felt starved for the eye contact connection which is standard in the Middle East. It made me realize that we "westerners" guard our emotional availability by comparison. Our souls seem shrouded and rather grey because of this guarding.

Women in the Middle East are worshipped for their beauty and wisdom by their husbands and sons and brothers. Most would not trade places with "western" women who have entered the "man's world." To do so would do violence to their softness and femininity. And their husbands would not wish such hardship upon them. Not all Arab women are being forced to dress as they do. The now almost ubiquitous "hijab", or head-scarf, can be a way of showing their pride in their traditional, and now threatened, way of life. Covering themselves allows them to feel softer and more precious, which they are, to their families and close friends.

When I have been befriended and invited into Arab households, I discover that the women soon shed their "street clothes" and they can be naturally very intimate and sensual. They may come and cuddle up next to me even though they really hardly know me. Of course it does help that I can sing a song with them if we reach the limits of my arabic or their english.

Also I notice that woman-to-woman relationships are cultivated in deep soul-sister ways... not gradually, but immediately... It's as if in America we display a lot of externally flirtatious behavior, but when the initial strutting is finished we put up walls and slam oursleves shut. It feels like the Middle Eastern way is to look more deeply into souls through the eyes and then continue to honor that presence. Maintaining psychic contact with someone with sustained eye contactfeels safe. I don't know why this is.

Young men in their 20's walk down the streets holding hands. They find it natural and easy to be close to one another. The women cluster together in public also, frequently out doing some shopping with their children in groups of 7 or 8. It is not so common for men and women to display sensual affection with each other in public. It's almost as if there are two worlds: the marketplace world where men are juicy with other men and women are juicy with other women, and the household world where men and women are juicy with each other. I do not get the impression that Arabic women are ruled by their men. When a woman has her say, she gets her way. Most men seem to regard women with awe as though they were sacred creatures.

The women on the bus, public transportation, may pass their babies to each other whether they know each other or not. They will pass them with equal enthusiasm to "western" women who happen to be on the bus in an effort to extend friendship and include all women in this sisterhood. The babies seem to enjoy this adventure. They don't seem to experience sudden panic related to "being away from mommy."

I have more impressions already written about the Middle East which I will include in the next e-mail. I don't want to make any message too long. Some people feel overwhelmed because they are already reading so much.

It is possible that our visas for Iraq will become available. If so, we will probably go, although I don't want Iraqi friends who show us hospitality to later be in trouble with their own government. It is not easy to travel freely in Iraq right now. My opportunities to play with people on the streets would be restricted and probably prohibited. And journalists are now being charged $200 a day just to be there. If they classified us as journalists for some reason, the cost would be prohibitive. Nevertheless, we may possibly return soon to the Middle East and try again to enter Iraq.

------------

Dec 28, 2002

Here is another sampling of replies we've been receiving from some of you...

Thank you all for your words...

-Cameron & Kristina

----------

I so look forward to every report from you. The spirit of the music will

unite you and it has. Truly language conceptions can be places for us to

stuff our fears but music makes us dance, gives us courage to step out of

time and into a place more transcendent. Be well,

----------------

I am loving hearing from you on your trip. It gives me such hope and

comfort

that the ways of peace are active in the world. Thank you both.

-----------------

Why would anyone stay in the states if they had a chance to get out!

My love and blessings go with you wherever you go.

-----------------

I've loved receiving your emails with news of your awesome goodwill

journey!

-----------------

great, great, GREAT!!!!! way to go !!!!

cheers and love and encouragement and blessings

-----------------

Good photos and text, but I only saw one little girl and no women.

When will the grassroots mvement for women be a cry AGAINST war??

-----------------

Reading your emails and looking at the photos makes me all tear

chokey backey. You guys are putting my hundred bucks to good use as

I expected!

-----------------

HEY, GREAT PHOTOS!!!!! Keep up the good vibes!!!!

LOTS AND LOTS OF LOVE!!!

----------------

Hello Darlings! I am resonating with appreciation for your

courageous and compassionate mission... Every day you both are

smiling and singing in my mind and heart. Thank you so much for

keeping us posted on your adventures- this morning's photos make it

even more real for us. It has been clear to me for some time that

people all over the globe in every country simply want to live and

love and be well. Your mission is that which needs to be happening

to awaken the reality of our oneness. Those who want war are just a

few. It is time for people to join together everywhere in claiming

the right to a peaceful existence. The work-play of your musical

bridge between our cultures is vitally important at this time. Thank

you again for taking it upon yourselves to represent the

consciousness that is the force of peace. I am so grateful to be

your friend.

----------------

Great photos. I enjoy reading the updates. Has Kristina been able to make

contact with any of the women?

----------------

I love that you are there bringing light and love to the world. May there

be

peace on earth and may it begin with me!!!

---------------

Thanks for sharing your trip with me. I've taken the liberty of sharing

one of your emails to the music newsletter, as I'm sure some of your

acquaintances and fans in Puerto Vallarta will love to hear about your trip.

--------------

'Once again we play a song of Um Kolthoum, the Egyptian super-goddess of

the

Arab world...'

Only a super-goddess might hold off the super-power gone berserk.

I think she was there the night you played CU's Old Main.

Best wishes...

--------------

You are doing a fabulous job - keep it up. What you are doing in Amman is

just a prelude, there is much more to be done and you can do it. Keep up

the

hope and the insistance on getting your visas. Your motives & goals are

great, and there is a way to get there.

---------------

I really enjoy your report on the music. You fit the scene and are not shy

to play wherever you like. No ties or bow tie and no problems. Just make

the kids happy and let them see two Americans play Arabic music and they

(the kids) will never forget you both. Maybe they will be inspired and

start learning music. Who knows! Take care and we pray for you.

--------------

Whew!

I've been so moved by the stories that you've been sending out, and then

the

pictures! Wow. They made me cry. I hope more and more people will come to

realize that it's not the people who want to fight, but the governments.

I'm

just awed and inspired by what you two are doing. I'm honored to be your

friend.

Peace and loads of love

---------------

It's amazing getting your e-mails. I truely honor and am impressed by your

undertaking. It must be difficult, glorious, and amazing. I pray that

your wonderous journey continue as long as you both feel inclined to be

there and that when you return, you both have a sense of completion and

satisfaction. It's sad to me that such circumstances even need to exist,

but that's my trip. Anyway, blessings, be safe, have fun, and listen

deeply! Blessings

---------------

You are "bad". Amazing pictures. It could be great for magazine articles

about your trip. The one where you are not looking at the camera is a

fantastic one. Wow, you make these young people happy therefore you deserve

an award. Thanks for sending the picture and keep taking more of them.

---------------

Cameron, the only words that come to mind are 'thank you'. Thank you for

going, thank you for sending back your wonderful chronicles. I find it very

inspiring. Thank you! I look forward to every next installment.

--------------

Kristina, just say the word & I'm here. Prayers work & the world is ripe...

------------

I am enjoying reading your reports from the Middle East. I wish you

the very best and safest travels.

--------------

I wish I could see photos, you paint such a beautiful picture! It is

exciting to me in the amount of love you are puting out on this adventure.

Cameron, you'd be proud, I stayed up till 4 am jammin' with my friends. We

played a chiftitelli and a karshlima and I challenged Rob the Rock Star

guitarist with a 9, a 10 and a 12 rhythm. We played saz and frame drum and

singing bowl and chimes... Ah, what a night.

------------

thanks for the email!...

i'ts coming along, slowly but surely....i mapped out the dobro fret

board in hijaz maqam and am learning my way around.

-----------

Dec 27, 2002

Cameron and Kristina into Ramallah, West Bank, Palestine

At the bridge over the river Jordan, at the border into the West Bank, we

met a Palestinian family waiting for admission to the next bus... We sang a

few bars of familiar popular songs... They said, seeing the little bag of

Lays potato chips I was holding for my pre-breakfast snack: "Now we are

very careful not to buy anything from America... nothing nothing nothing

American... See our two-year-old boy... He's only two and he already says

he wants to die shooting Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem... look at what is

becoming of our children!" Then we sang some more Arabic songs... When in

doubt, sing... It works every time... Big smiles break out...

We cross the bridge in one bus... we wait for another passport check... we

ride in an expensive taxi over tiny back roads away from Jericho, which is

currently closed by the Israeli soldiers, through a couple of checkpoints

to the outskirts of Ramallah... The taxis are not allowed to go into

Ramallah... we walk through a labyrinth of concrete barriers past Israeli

bunkers and past coils of razor wire... The soldiers ask us what we want to

do there... "Just tourists... we are musicians..." we tell them. They look

at us coldly, knowing that we are going to visit with Palestinians in

Ramallah, home of Yasser Arafat...

We walk into the city... eventually take another taxi to city center...

It's 4 or 5 pm and we are ready for breakfast... We enter a place that

advertizes "Mexican Food" (the second we have seen in our wanderings)...

The "tacos" taste distinctly Middle Eastern... but still tasty... we

inquire and find a hotel...

We enter the hotel and bargain with the manager... we sing a few phrases of

Abd 'al Halim... big smiles...

Following our noses and various pieces of advice on the street, we enter

Mataam Ziryab, a coffee shop, art gallery and restaurant, oud in hand...

The Palestinian owner is sitting down with his wife to celebrate their 14th

wedding anniversary... He is a successful international artist... the walls

are covered with his latest work: paintings created with fire on wooden

plaques...

Invited to perform, we bring out the oud and sing 4 or 5 songs... A group

of 5 or 6 young women encourage us: they sing along and ask for more... the

waiters listen in the background... For a couple of hours we get to know

the owners...

The wife tells us of the latest curfews and closings... Only a month or so

ago the town was cut off from electricity and phone lines... Israeli

soldiers surrounded her house a couple of weeks ago because they thought a

plastic toy gun her 10-year-old son was playing with might be real... They

had been watching him play through binoculars from the settlement above

their house... They threatened to destroy the house with bulldozers if it

was not found... Finally the boy, shaking and sobbing, was able to lead the

soldiers to some alley where he had already thrown it away...

"If you ever buy another one, we will kill you and your family!" he is

told...

He is still shaking from this experience and having nightmares...

Our new artist friend, her husband, the owner of Mataam Ziryab, tells us

that just the day before he had met with Jane Fonda, who just returned to

the West Bank in some expression of solidarity with Palestinian people...

"It was an artist to artist meeting," he explains...

Soon he will have a large exhibit in a gallery in Texas...

He gives us three prints of some of his earlier works and talks about the

dream states he enters in order to create... I read the poetry he has

written about his inspiration to paint a series of watercolors about the

exodus of Arabs from Grenada, Spain, back in 1492... I am impressed with

the translation of his poetry... He does bring a thick dream mist into

being with his work...

"And this restaurant," he explains... "I use all kinds of scraps and

recycled materials to decorate the interior."

"And I made the light fixtures from old paper," adds his wife.

"We exhibit the artwork of many different people here and we want people to

be able to sit and be comfortable... drink a coffee... and be surrounded by

the art... it's different from walking through a museum-like gallery..."

They are raising their three children here in Ramallah in spite of the

difficulties of surviving here these days... I wonder how he maintains his

artistic focus in the face of the heavy distraction of being under various

degrees of seige...

We return to the hotel at midnight to find a group of Palestinian men

sitting downstairs in the lobby... They ask me to bring out the oud... Soon

we are busy with song again... It's late at night... It is quiet except for

our singing... We focus on the music and it gets really good... (Funny how

it does that...) We sing and laugh and smile... They help us with better

understanding the lyrics we are singing... (always more progress to be made

here)...

Sometime after 1:00 a.m. we go upstairs to bed.

Rising early (for us musicians) at 9:00 a.m., we leave the hotel and take a

cab to see the remainder of the government buildings in which Yasser Arafat

is being held captive... I guess he is free to leave Palestine to negotiate

on the Palestinians' behalf in other parts of the world if he wants to...

It's just that the Israelis have threatened to not let him ever return if he

leaves. So there he sits, it seems. Only the central building is intact. It

is surrounded by the rubble and twisted metal of several city blocks of what

were once government offices (we are told) and smashed automobiles which

were pulverized under the treads of the tanks...

We take a taxi back to the checkpoint at the entrance to Ramallah; our

packs and oud case are opened and searched... The two Palestinians in line

in front of us are denied passage for some reason and turned back... We

ride in a large "service taxi" back toward Jericho ("Ariha" in Arabic) and

are held up behind a truck hauling a huge Israeli tank... Above us on

various hilltops we see what look like Israeli settlements... We ask the

taxi driver... "Kibutzes," he replies... Confusion and expensive taxi rides

follow as we are guided and misguided through various checkpoints and bus

stations back to the bridge... We pay a large exit fee at the border and

breathe freely to be back on the Jordanian side... And all the visas we

needed for the crossing were placed on separate pieces of paper so our

passports are not jeapordized for future travel... (Several Arab countries

will not allow you to enter if there is evidence in your passport that you

have been to Israel.)

But now we have new friends in Ramallah... And we have invitations, of

course, to return and spend more time... Play more music...

Back here in Amman it is cold and raining... But we can come and go as we

please... this is a nice freedom... I wonder if those large buses filled

with Palestinians we passed near the bridge are still waiting?... or what

percentage of those were turned back for some reason...? Time and time

again we are told, "Yes, I have family on the other side of the border, but

now it is very difficult for us to get in or out..."

Don't forget to go see Zahara, James, Jesse and Meg at the Mercury Cafe

this Sat nite in Denver... $10... 9:00 p.m.

We are still on our way to Baghdad, but more time for processing of our

visas still seems to be needed... We may be able to get in in mid January

with a group of solidarity peace activists... We will see... We must also

pay attention to what the possibilities for war are looking like...

We will probably be back in Colorado for a while in the meantime since we

have airline tickets...

We were photographed and interviewed again yesterday by an Arabic language

newspaper, "Okaz"...

Hopefully some of you saw us on FreeSpeechTV last weekend... We haven't, of

course, seen the piece yet...

---------

Dec 21, 2002

Last night we went over to Jafer's house for dinner... very nice and nice

music... later, driving back in the 'camel' which has now got a working

clutch... hamdilallah... he tells us... "You know I have to confess

something... when we left for the desert and I asked for you to pay for the

cost of the gas only, I put more gas in the tank than I really needed to...

I put in 20 JD and all we really needed was maybe 15... I was thinking to

siphon off the extra five gallons and make 5 JD... I tell you this because

I feel badly that, although I told you that you were family and that we

would go to the desert without your having to pay anything except expenses,

I was still secretly trying to make a little money from you... now I have

told you this truth and I feel better..."

-------------

Dec 20, 2002

Cameron and Kristina in Southern Jordan:

Aqaba, Wadi Rum, Wadi Musa and Petra and back to Aqaba...

Lots of music and new friendships...

...Hussein removes his shoes, washes his feet, and beautifully sings the

call to prayer... it echoes inside the canyon walls... We watch stars

appear...

12/15/2002

Today we wandered through the spice and meat market in Aqaba, beside the

Red Sea... Some boys pointed at my oud case and cleaned some metal stairs

for us to sit... With racks full of skinned goats hanging in the background

we sang 3 or 4 songs for the enthusiastic all-aged, but all male, crowd...

Kristina pointed at my watch to remind me that it was almost time for the

afternoon call to prayer... We stopped our songs when we heard it begin...

This is what people do... they pause what they are doing while the call to

prayer is in the background...

Our songs led to invitations from one of the local butchershop owners for

coffee... We did our best in Arabic to discover that yes, his grandfather

and his father (he made motions of sleeping to indicate that they had

already passed away... I thought maybe he meant that his dad was taking a

nap next door... he repeated the sleeping body language, putting his two

hands beside his cheek but this time adding a throat slicing motion to

indicate that what he meant was that they had passed on to the other

side... I guess it would be natural for professional meat-sellers/butchers

to use that bodylanguage...) ...his grandfather and father had owned the

shops before him...

There were pictures of them on the wall... We climbed up to his maktub, or

office and took some photos of us in various combinations... Kristina

declined sitting on his lap for a photo...

We entered the spice shop next door for more tea and felt the deliciousness

of the smells of the piles of naked powdered and ground spices enter our

noses...

We walk down by the edge of the Gulf of Aqaba here on the Red Sea... we sit

on a low concrete wall... Kristina sings Fairuz... We sing again songs of

Abd 'al Halim, Farid al Atresh, Um Kolthoum by Mohammad Abd 'al Wahab,

Sabah Fakri... More tea is brought... More photos are taken... It is dark

now...

Later:

I checked out the local big hotel singer & keyboard show... too loud...

hard to relate... kind of painful on the ears... but fun to watch the guys

get up and dabke (Lebanese line dance) and dance with each other... the

singer, young female with long flowing bleached blond hair reigned queen...

the boys in the crowd got up when she beckoned them... clapped when she

clapped...

12/16/02

Breakfast... Arabic coffee... A bedoin guy approaches, asks about oud... We

play him songs... We go down beside the Red Sea and sing him another song...

"Ok," he announces, "you are now part of my family... I want to take you to

meet my uncle in Wadi Rum... He plays oud... very good... You not

tourists... no charge... just you pay for gas for the camel..."

We climb into the camel, a vintage Datsun Patrol, held together with the

Bedoin version of duct tape and bailing wire...

We stop for tea with a cousin who is watchman for local highway

construction project... Kristina, especially, likes his cute puppies...

An hour or two north we enter Qoshariya, a Bedouin town...

"My uncle lives in that house," points Jafar... "And my other uncle lives

in that house... and another uncle in that house... another in that

house..."

We putt and sputter, camel grinding its gears because the slave cylinder

which operates the clutch is no longer functioning... We stop at another

cousin's house, go upstairs... meet cousin, wife, children... have tea...

play oud... This cousin, Hussein, plays very good oud... very many styles...

His eyes shine brightly into mine as he plays several songs... I play

several songs back to him... Jafer is very happy with the situation... We

all get in the camel: Jafer, Hussein, wife Zeinab, 6-month old daughter

Taif, 4 and 6 year old sons Sa'ad and Aktam, me and Kristina and we take

many blankets and we stop and buy chicken... We drive off through sand on

'Bedouin Road' into high arid desert... We stop at stone natural bridge and

climb up through rocks... Hussein is a spider on the rocks... he zooms away

up into the rocks... Zeinab and Kristina and I take Taif and two sons and

oud and climb up into the eye of the stone arch... We sing Lebanese

dabke... Zeinab knows the words also...

Jafer takes our picture from down below... The sun is approching the

horizon...

We zoom off across the desert in our sputtering 4WD camel, stopping every

little while to refill and bleed the clutch master cylinder... When the

engine stops, it can only be restarted by connecting the terminals on the

starter moter with a wrench under the hood...

We pull into a small side canyon of one of the many high wind-carved

sandstone mountains and empty out the camel... We gather dry brush for

firewood, make two fires, spread blankets, cook chicken, make tea... At

4:30 and again at 5:00 Hussein removes his shoes, washes his feet, and

beautifully sings the call to prayer... it echoes inside the canyon

walls... We watch stars appear... temperature drops into low 40's... we add

more twigs to the fire and play songs on oud, nay (my Arabic flutes)... we

practice Arabic and sing for 3 more hours and curl up under the blankets

under the stars to find sleep... or let sleep find us... I hear everyone

breathing and snoring around me but I don't fall asleep... I watch the moon

move from 12 o'clock to 3 o'clock across the heavens...

"The stars witness your sleeplessness as you dream of your loved ones,"

Hussein taught me this poem in Arabic and I felt a little piece of Arabic

soul glide into my body...

Jafer, a very strong and efficient 25-year-old, obviously wise way beyond

his years, expounds on the art of balancing work and life... "...not so

much work that you lose yourself and forget who you are... it is the

silence of the desert that makes it so precious to me..."

Morning comes. Jafer is first up with fire and tea for all of us... Hussein

plays more songs on the oud: bedouin, kaliji, omani and yemeni styles...

each has its own rythmic pattern of picking...

We go for a two hour hike and Hussein climbs way to the tops of two

mountains while we climb on the lower parts...

Back to the campsite... Fifteen minutes of pumping and engine cranking and

the camel sputters into life... bleed the clutch, pile in the blankets and

off we go...

We stop at an ancient cistern, obviously carved by hand out of the rock...

"...water is the 'gold' of the desert." Jafer reminds us.

I point at the right front tire, which has lost half of its air...

"It will be ok," says Jafer...

Stopping two or three more times to bleed the clutch brings us to the point

of disaster with the tire... It is flat, shredded and halfway off the

rim... Still we drive through the sand...

Finally reaching a small paved road not far from the village, we stop, jack

up the front end and prepare to put the spare tire... yes, there is one!...

onto the front wheel drum.

One of the lugnuts is stripped and the tire iron is a little too big to

lock onto it... a furious half hour spent fighting it... pounding it and

the wrench with rocks to try and get a purchase on the offending nut... no

good... a passing truck stops... we try with those tools... nothing

works...

We drive through the sand beside the pavement a little further and stop in

front of a house... They bring another wrench... No good... They bring out

the pickup truck and tow the diesel tractor, a relic from 50 years ago,

until it springs to life... the tractor, with its big wheels, drags us to

the edge of the pavement where somehow, we are hoping, a miracle will take

place...

Instead of the miracle we find that the clutch will no longer function and

we cannot drive any further on the shredded tire...

Returning once again with the diesel tractor, they tow us into the yard of

the house... a low concrete block wall contains the sheep, the goats, the

pigeons and several decades worth of discarded fuel cans and tractor

parts... A very elderly bearded grandfather sits on his mat in the sun

beside the repair yard, where two more ancient diesel tractors receive

patching and love... the elder has his shoes parked neatly behind his mat

and has obviously already passed into some kind of afterlife here on earth

wherein the physical work is done by others... his apparent function now is

to pray and to witness...

A very sturdy man appears with welding equipment from the shed... We are

going to torch off the offending lugnut... ...behold! ...one more try with

yet a different size wrench and: the miracle! The nut comes loose...

The tire is changed.

We all sit down for tea...

Myriad flies buzz around us...

Discussion turns to the broken clutch... ...more attention there... more

fluid... more bleeding of air in the lines...

And we're off... Triumphant, we cruise into the yard beside Hussein's

house... Zeinab makes hummus, fuul, olives, tomatoes, bread, potatoes for

breakfast... more tea...

More songs, a few more photos... We call another driver we had met in Aqaba

using the cellphone...(how did the Bedouin get along without them for all

those centuries...?) He appears and we kiss and embrace our Bedouin

friends, who never did ask for money... (I insisted on giving Jafer and

Hussein each a few dollars....) "No," they say... "You are our friends..."

"But it is just a gift." I insist...

We depart for Wadi Musa and Petra...

12/19/02

Today we were tourists... We walked for six hours through the ancient town

of Petra, carved 2000 years ago out of the solid living red and purple

sandstone cliffs in the bottoms of myriad labyrinthine canyons...

...incredible... ...but somehow I still wouldn't trade even one second of

looking into Hussein's smiling eyes while he sings me another song for this

experience in the ruins... I am lucky... I can have both...

12/20/02

We rode the mini-buses back to Aqaba through the town of Ma'an... Army

tanks were stationed here and there in Ma'an because of recent trouble...

several deaths from fighting with the army... According to the Jordanian

Times, some of the folks in Ma'an were revolting because they are angry

about the Jordanian government's unwillingness to take a stand against the

USA regarding upcoming violence against Iraq... But the local folks say

that it's just a local problem resulting from some "bad people..."

Arriving back in Aqaba we are immediately spotted and greeted by Jafer...

After we get settled in our hotel, we go to his house in the Bedouin

suburbs (not the fancy part of town) and eat dinner which he has cooked. He

has invited several neighbors over to listen to us play oud and sing some

of our Arabic reperatoire...

He offers us his house to move into but we prefer the privacy of the hotel

for now... He writes us a poem and gives us a small teapot... We turn down

his other offered gift of a piece of local feathery while coral... "How

could we carry it in our backpacks all the way back home without breaking

it?..."

Everyone focuses on our music as we play and our performance quality climbs

thanks to the appreciation and focus... Of course one of the guests also

plays oud very well... He plays a few songs...

Again walking down the marketplace streets of Aqaba people remember us and

invite us to sit and play oud and sing in their restaurant... "Tomorrow, I

tell them..." We are famous here now on the streets...

Now we are working very hard to exercise our contacts and connections and

speed our permission to gain entrance into Iraq... I was able to get a call

through into Baghdad tonight to one of the main friends there, only to

learn that our visa applications are still being held up...

More soon...

--------------

Dec 18, 2002

Wed. December 18, 2002

My fingers are moving a little slow because they are

cold.We just walked out of the gates of Petra and

have stopped at this internet cafe. Petra is an

ancient city carved out of the rock. It was made by

the Nabateans who lived here around the time of

Christ. Today we were tourists, we rode camels and saw

the sights.

Two nights ago we slept under the stars in a

beadouin camp.Hussain and Cameron took turns playing

oud and Jafr danced.Eariler in the evening Zaneb,

Hussains wife and three of their childern were with

us.We roasted chicken on the fire and played music

non stop into the night.

The dessert is cold at this time

of year.The place we set up camp was a very good

place surrounded by beautiful wind carved cliffs.Out

on the open dessert the wind was blowing hard but our

spot was protected, and our fires kept us warm.

We had

met Jafr in Aquaba, we sat with him and played and

sang.After he heard us he said OK now you are not

tourist anymore now you are family. My cousin he play

oud if you like I take you to meet him no charge just

pay for gas.Jafr makes his living takeing tourists

into Wadi Rum the beautiful dessert area in south

Jordan. Tourism is down everywhere in Jordan now Jafr

and all the other drivers in Aqaba have time on their

hands and very little money.

Turns out the professional

oud playing cousin was in Amman but we got to meet

another cousin, Hussain who played many Bedouin songs.

We will meet the other oud playing cousin next visit.

With 18 uncles Jafr has cousins in every kind of

buisness, we visited a road watchman cousin on our way

to the dessert, Jafr says he dosn't really watch out

for anything he just plays with his dogs.These were

the first dogs we have seen in Jordan. He uses them

for hunting. I made friends with the cute puppies.

Everyone invites you for tea.The road watchman

cousin, the butcher in the market, the taxi driver,

the people who help Jafr fix his flat tire.(The

story of Jafrs 4x4 nissan camel is a good one maybe

Cameron will write about that).

We played in the

Market in Aqba and drew quite a crwowed.I suppose

tomorrow we will return there as it is quite a bit

warmer and hense much more condusive to playing music

in the streets.

Sill waiting for our Iraq visa, any

energetic help you feel like sending our way will be

appreciated.Blessings, Kristina

-------------

Dec 17, 2002

Today we wandered through the spice and meat market in Aqaba, beside the

Red Sea... Some boys pointed at my oud case and cleaned some metal stairs

for us to sit... With racks full of skinned goats hanging in the background

we sang 3 or 4 songs for the enthusiastic all-aged, but all male, crowd...

Kristina pointed at my watch to remind me that it was almost time for the

afternoon call to prayer... We stopped our songs when we heard it begin...

This is what people do... they pause what they are doing while the call to

prayer is in the background...

Our songs led to invitations from one of the local butchershop owners for

coffee... We did our best in Arabic to discover that yes, his grandfather

and his father (he made motions of sleeping to indicate that they had

already passed away... I thought maybe he meant that his dad was taking a

nap next door... he repeated the sleeping bodylanguage, putting his two

hands beside his cheek but this time adding a throat slicing motion to

indicate that what he meant was that they had passed on to the other

side... I guess it would be natural for professional meat-sellers/butchers

to use that bodylanguage...) ...his grandfather and father had owned the

shops before him...

There were pictures of them on the wall... We climbed up to his maktub, or

office and took some photos of us in various combinations... Kristina

declined sitting on his lap for a photo...

We entered the spice shop next door for more tea and felt the deliciousness

of the smells of the piles of naked powdered and ground spices enter our

noses...

We walk down by the edge of the Gulf of Aqaba here on the Red Sea... we sit

on a low concrete wall... Kristina sings Fairuz... We sing again songs of

Abd 'al Halim, Farid al Atresh, Um Kolthoum by Mohammad Abd 'al Wahab,

Sabah Fakri... More tea is brought... More photos are taken... It is dark

now...

Later:

I checked out the local big hotel singer & keyboard show... too loud...

hard to relate... kind of painful on the ears... but fun to watch the guys

get up and dabke (Lebanese line dance) and dance with each other... the

singer, young female with long flowing bleached blond hair reigned queen...

the boys in the crowd got up when she beckoned them... clapped when she

clapped...

12/16/02

Breakfast... Arabic coffee... A bedoin guy approaches, asks about oud... We

play him songs... We go down beside the Red Sea and sing him another song...

"Ok," he announces, "you are now part of my family... I want to take you to

meet my uncle in Wadi Rum... He plays oud... very good... You not

tourists... no charge... just you pay for gas for the camel..."

We climb into the camel, a vintage Datsun Patrol, held together with the

Bedoin version of duct tape and bailing wire...

We stop for tea with a cousin who is watchman for local highway

construction project... Kristina, especially, likes his cute puppies...

An hour or two north we enter Ghamia, a Bedoin town...

"My uncle lives in that house," points Jafar... "And my other uncle lives

in that house... and another uncle in that house... another in that

house..."

We putt and sputter, camel grinding its gears because the slave cylinder

which operates the clutch is no longer functioning... We stop at another

uncle's house, go upstairs... meet uncle, wife, children... have tea...

play oud... This uncle, Hussein, plays very good oud... very many styles...

His eyes shine brightly into mine as he plays several songs... I play

several songs back to him... Jafer is very happy with the situation... We

all get in the camel: Jafer, Hussein, wife Zeinab, 6-month old daughter

Taif, 4 and 6 year old sons Sa'ad and Aktam, me and Kristina and we take

many blankets and we stop and buy chicken... We drive off through sand on

'Bedoin Road' into high arid desert... We stop at stone natural bridge and

climb up through rocks... Hussein has rock climbing shoes on and is a

spider on the rocks... he zooms away up into the rocks... Zeinab and

Kristina and I take Taif and two sons and oud and climb up into the eye of

the stone arch... We sing Lebanese dabke... Zeinab knows the words also...

Jafer takes our picture from down below... The sun is approching the

horizon...

We zoom off across the desert in our sputtering 4WD camel, stopping every

little while to refill and bleed the clutch master cylinder... When the

engine stops, it can only be restarted by connecting the terminals on the

starter moter with a wrench under the hood...

We pull into a small side canyon of one of the many high wind-carved

sandstone mountains and empty out the camel... We gather dry brush for

firewood, make two fires, spread blankets, cook chicken, make tea... At

4:30 and again at 5:00 Hussein removes his shoes, washes his feet, and

sings the call to prayer inside the canyon walls... We watch stars

appear... temperature drops into low 40's... we add more twigs to the fire

and play songs on oud, nay (my Arabic flutes)... we practice Arabic and

sing for 3 more hours and curl up under the blankets under the stars to

find sleep... or let sleep find us... I hear everyone breathing and snoring

around me but I don't fall asleep... I watch the moon move from 12 o'clock

to 3 o'clock across the heavens...

"The stars witness your sleeplessness as you dream of your loved ones,"

Hussein taught me this poem in Arabic and I felt a little piece of Arabic

soul glide into my body...

Jafer, a very strong and efficient 25-year-old, obviously wise way beyond

his years, expounds on the art of balancing work and life... "...not so

much work that you lose yourself and forget who you are... it is the

silence of the desert that makes it so precious to me..."

Morning comes. Jafer is first up with fire and tea for all of us... Hussein

plays more songs on the oud: bedouin, kaliji, omani and yemeni styles...

each has its own rythmic pattern of picking...

We go for a two hour hike and Hussein climbs way to the tops of two

mountains while we climb on the lower parts...

Back to the campsite... Fifteen minutes of pumping and engine cranking and

the camel sputters into life... bleed the clutch, pile in the blankets and

off we go...

We stop at an ancient cistern, obviously carved by hand out of the rock...

"...water is the 'gold' of the desert." Jafer reminds us.

I point at the right front tire, which has lost half of its air...

"It will be ok," says Jafer...

Stopping two or three more times to bleed the clutch brings us to the point

of disastesr with the tire... It is flat, shredded and halfway off the

rim... Still we drive through the sand...

Finally reaching a small paved road not far from the village, we stop, jack

up the front end and prepare to put the spare tire... yes, there is one!...

onto the front wheel drum.

One of the lugnuts is stripped and the tire iron is a little too big to

lock onto it... a furious half hour spent fighting it... pounding it and

the wrench with rocks to try and get a purchase on the offending nut... no

good... a passing truck stops... we try with those tools... nothing

works...

We drive through the sand beside the pavement a little further and stop in

front of a house... They bring another wrench... No good... They bring out

the pickup truck and tow the diesel tractor, a relic from 50 years ago,

until it springs to life... the tractor, with its big wheels, drags us to

the edge of the pavement where somehow, we are hoping, a miracle will take

place...

Instead of the miracle we find that the clutch will no longer function and

we cannot drive any further on the shredded tire...

Returning once again with the diesel tractor, they tow us into the yard of

the house... a low concrete block wall contains the sheep, the goats, the

pigeons and several decades worth of discarded fuel cans and tractor

parts... A very elderly bearded grandfathesr sits on his mat in the sun

beside the repair yard, where two more ancient diesel tractors receive

patching and love... the elder has his shoes parked neatly behind his mat

and has obviously already passed into some kind of afterlife here on earth

wherein the physical work is done by others... his apparent function now is

to pray and to witness...

A very sturdy man appears with welding equipment from the shed... We are

going to torch off the offending lugnut... ...behold! f...one more try with

yet a different size wrench and: the miracle! The nut comes loose...

The tire is changed.

We all sit down for tea...

Myriad flies buzz around us...

Discussion turns to the broken clutch... ...more attention there... more

fluid... more bleeding of air in the lines...

And we're off... Triumphant, we cruise into the yard beside Hussein's

house... Zeinab makes hummus, fuul, olives, tomatoes, bread, potatoes for

breakfast... more tea...

More songs, a few more photos... We call another driver we had met in Aqaba

using the cellphone...(how did the Bedouin get along without them for all

those centuries...?) He appears and we kiss and embrace our Bedouin

friends, who never did ask for money... (I insisted on giving Jafer and

Hussein each a few dollars....) "No," they say... "You are our friends..."

"But it is just a gift." I insist...

We depart for Wadi Musa and Petra...

-------------

Dec 16, 2002

Today we wandered through the spice and meat market in Aqaba, beside the

Red Sea... Some boys pointed at my oud case and cleaned some metal stairs

for us to sit... With racks full of skinned goats hanging in the background

we sang 3 or 4 songs for the enthusiastic all-aged, but all male, crowd...

Kristina pointed at my watch to remind me that it was almost time for the

afternoon call to prayer... We stopped our songs when we heard it begin...

This is what people do... they pause what they are doing while the call to

prayer is in the background...

Our songs led to invitations from one of the local butchershop owners for

coffee... We did our best in Arabic to discover that yes, his grandfather

and his father (he made motions of sleeping to indicate that they had

already passed away... I thought maybe he meant that his dad was taking a

nap next door... he repeated the sleeping bodylanguage, putting his two

hands beside his cheek but this time adding a throat slicing motion to

indicate that what he meant was that they had passed on to the other

side... I guess it would be natural for professional meat-sellers/butchers

to use that bodylanguage...) ...his grandfather and father had owned the

shops before him...

There were pictures of them on the wall... We climbed up to his maktub, or

office and took some photos of us in various combinations... Kristina

declined sitting on his lap for a photo...

We entered the spice shop next door for more tea and felt the deliciousness

of the smells of the piles of naked powdered and ground spices enter our

noses...

Before we left the marketplace some other men made us promise to return for

coffee and more songs at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow morning...

A walk down by the edge of the Gulf of Aqaba here on the Red Sea... we sit

on a low concrete wall... Kristina sings Fairuz... We sing again songs of

Abd 'al Halim, Farid al Atresh, Um Kolthoum by Mohammad Abd 'al Wahab,

Sabah Fakri... More tea is brought... More photos are taken... It is dark

now...

------------

Dec 14, 2002

Our Iraqi friend Ali's mother invited us to

dinner yesterday: Plates full of rice wpine nutsnuts

raisinssins, a lamb stew with eggplant, chicken,

salad, coka cola, two or three deserts and of course

tea. Ali assured us that she would have cooked more

but she has recently arrived here in Amman from

Bagdad, and dosn't have all the right things to cook

with.They had trouble finding a pot to cook the rice

in.Ali and his brother H have been living by

themselves and are not noted for their well stocked

kitchen.

Ali's mother is 42 years old, Ali is 29, figure

it out. She was 13 when he was born."We grew up

together" he says " She would put me in a basket and

take me downstairs when she went to play with the

other girls."

Ali's mother S. listened to our music the

oclappedight, she claped and sang along and ran out to

get a pan to use as a drum. She was smiling and

laughing and looking at me with penitrating and

welcoming eyes.

I asked her last night what was it like to

marry when she was twelve and a half years old.Was

she happy to marry or sad? (our Arabic/English

communication is somewhat limited)

"Oh my husband was very handsome he looked like a

movie star.I was very happy."She sEnglishn broken

englEnglish Ali the english expert helps her find the

right words.

"A girl is always asked if she wants to marry or

not" says Ali, "only if the girls family is very poor

and they find her a well to do husometimesuld she

somtimes be forced to marry against her will."

Ali's mother married well.If you remember, they

are descendents.Direct decendents of the prophet.

She was highly prized as a wife.Her husband was a

wealthy civil engeener sixteen years her senior.

marriage

After marrage she lived Kuwaither husband in

Kwait. She ser ventske a queen: servents to cook and

clean for her, boxes full of goljewelery necklaces,

jewerery , clothes of all sorts and silk apartmenthe

had an appartment in London and accompanied her

husband to Switzerland, Germany, India, all over

Europe and Asia and the Middle East. Kuwait home base

was Kwait until Ali was 17. Then the war came.

Ali's father decided it would be bestBaghdadhem

to go back to Bagdad.They had to leave in a hurry.

Many people owed his father thousands of dollars but

they have yet to collect it. Baghdad they returned to

Bagdad comingas no more money comming in.S says " I

take ring and sell to get sugar, flour, tea.I take

necklaces and sell. I take carpets and suntilSell,

sell, sell, untill nothing left.She has no rings on

her fingers now, everything was sold for food.

Ali's father died a year and a half ago.Ali now

is the main provider for his mother and two younger

brothers. The second oldest brings in a bit of money

but it is Ali who holds most of the responsibility and

bringweb pagee paychecksbusinesss webpage designing

buisness.

After dinner S. sits with us on the floor and we

talk."Before war no cancer now my friends five

members of the same family cancer, cancer, cancer they

die.Before war babies born happy,good health now

after war babies born no fingers or no nose or one

eye. My friend she have five babies each baby born

missing arm or head open or heart outside. They live

one, twodays and then dead." deformitiesestures

showingdeformaties."Before war flue maybe two or

three days now it take two, three month to get well"

She looks at Ali for the right word."Immune System,

immune system weak.

I knew what she was talking about.Even the

guide book we bought on Iraq in the Depletedlks about

it.The Depleated Uraninium.Geiger counters

register radio activity in msymptomsces in Iraq. All

the symtoms she listed poisoning in with radiation

posioning.What is so disturbing to me is that it

appears the U.S. is redepleted for this. We used

depleated uranium in the bombs we dropped.I know

that some of you reading this may take issue with me.

But please do your research before responding.

I sit and listen to S I feel so many different

things. There really are no words...just I am so

sorry.

We move onto lighter subjects. Watch a bit of some

singer on TV and then S tells me to come with her.I

follow her into the bedroom, she opens the closet and

takes out a embroideredt dress with gold embrodered

grape leaves on it and urges me to put it on. I do and

then she takes out a black cut velvet scarf and wraps

it around my head. "Beautiful" she remarksThe dress

is cut like all the dresses here, very loose fitting,

down to the floor with long sleeves. I feel very

elegant.I follow her back into the living room and

she introduces me as her good friend from Saudi. We

all laugh and they all remark how I really do look

like I am from Saudi Arabia. What I didn't understand

is that she was giving these things to mesomethingWhen

an Iraqi gives you somthing to wear', says Ali "she is

giving it to you to keep". I don't know what to say,

"Sukran" (thank-you) "Sukran, it is so beautiful".

These people are more than generous. Ali says

what he and hiuntiler have done is nothing just wait

untill you get to Iraq,they will not let you alone

they will treat you very, very well.

I have been longing to connect with some women

here.Most of the people we meet are men.sometimes

the ones out on the street.I somtimes look out the

hotel window at one spot on the sidewalk. I count the

number of men and women who pass by. Usually it is ten

or twenty men for every women.Most of the shop

owners are men, there are a few women here and there.

Quite oftechildrenmen travel in groups with small

childern and babies.

S is the first women I have really gotten to

kArabiclEnglishwe communicate in limited

arabic/english I know that we have a strong

friendship. I think there may be a stronger comraderie

among women here.Like we are all members of the same

club, there seems to be an immediate sense of trust.

Ali and his brothers treat their mother with an

amazing amount of respect. I think Ali would do

anything for her.They put their arms arforeheadr,

take turns kissing her on the forhead, and are

constantly calling her habibi (my love). She does the

same with them. It is hard to say who is in control.

There is much mutual respect.Ali says they argue,

but I think they mostly argue in a kind of playful

way.Who get the final say remains to be seen...My

guess is that it is mom.Kristinal for now, Love &

Blessings, Kritina

---------------

Dec 13, 2002

Today we spent with Iraqi refugee friends Ali and family. Ali's mother and

youngest brother are now out of Iraq into Jordan. This was not so easy to

accomplish, especially for the younger brother. The stories you may have

heard about the decimation of everything Iraqi after the Gulf War are true.

Where people were exposed to the bombing in Baghdad, they break out in

painful skin rashes... little scratches that would have been nothing become

ulcerated sores... the babies born are frequently horrendously deformed...

Ali's mother, who just cooked our dinner for us today, has had these rashes

and sores on her body...

These are the survivors of a once well-to-do family now reduced, through no

fault of their own, to poverty, unstable health and uncertain futures as

refugees... Iraqi refugees joining the vast crowd of Palestinians now

making the best of it in Amman...

Please contribute what you can to us on our website at

www.cameronpowers.com and, if we can succeed in coming close to covering

our own expenses, we will begin helping some of these people...


This morning as I left the hotel I was invited to share tea by a

Palestinian shopkeeper who runs a little repair workshop... I sang him a

piece of Abd 'al Halim's 'Sawah' and he grabbed me and planted kisses all

over my face...

We are getting to know the musicians who play late at night at 'Amasi':

Bassam on oud, Sa'ad on Percussion, Sabah on violin... Bassam let me play

his oud after their performance the other night...

Tonight Ali's mother told stories for hours about the lives of her family

members... brothers and sisters...scattered all over the globe now...

Kristina burst into tears at some point... But Ali maintains optimism and

hope that he, the eldest son and now the sole bread-winner for the family,

can earn enough to rebuild a home somewhere someday... they don't yet know

where... Ali's mother took Kristina by the hand and persuaded her to 'try

on' a beautifully embroidered dress... Then she insisted it was a gift...

"When an Arab family persuades you to just 'try something on,' says Ali,

don't think that it's not a gift..."

It has been raining for three or four days now... This is very good for

planting crops in the fields, but it has temporarily put a stop to our

street concerts... maybe more sunshine tomorrow...

---------------

Dec 11, 2002

Monday, 12/9/2002

Tonight Baghdad came to us... our Iraqi friend Ali was able to welcome his

mother and youngest brother out of Iraq into Jordan... His mother requested

to hear our Arabic singing, so we were able to provide a songfest for them

during the evening... Iraqis in Baghdad are, of course, feeling quite

nervous these days... We are still waiting for visas, as I have repeated in

recent reports... Kristina and I may be "on our way to Baghdad" for some

time to come... It's impossible to predict... So it is good when we perform

for the local Iraqi community here in Amman...

Around noon today we sat in a downtown Amman park... I began to play

the oud... soon a few passersby paused and listened... after another few

minutes people gathered and began to smile... another few minutes and some

began to sing along and clap and dance... ...we are the mysterious but

welcome strangers from America who sing in Arabic...

Sometimes people can't help laughing at our pronunciation but it is

still plenty good enough for them to sing along with...

An hour of music passes... We take a few photos... Families and various

individuals want to have their pictures taken with their arms draped over

the American oud-player's shoulders...

Later we get the film developed... We drop into a smokey coffee shop, drink

some tea and pass the photos around to the men playing backgammon... They

all smile... The one-eyed man with the horrendous scar reaching more than

halfway around his neck and across his face comes and sits down beside me

and extends his hand... "Are you Muslim?" he can't resist asking...

It's time to get our Jordanian visas renewed... we wait outside the local

police station for the four policemen on duty to get finished singing a

favorite popular song of theirs and make our request... "come back

tomorrow," we are told by the smiling officers....

Tomorrow our friend Ali will try and contact our friends in Iraq again to

see

if any progress is being made with our official invitation...

We will see... Perhaps we will go to Egypt for a while...

Tuesday, 12/9/02

Late last night we returned to our favorite late-night spot, "Amasi."

Oud/Vocalist, Violin & Dumbek... all top of the line... not too loud...

good food... they nod in greeting as we enter and come over to our table

during a break to encourage us to return frequently... It is midnight... at

the table next to us we see a family: the dad, the mom, the oldest son and

his sister/cousin/girlfriend????, the youngest daughter (maybe 7 years old

-- she likes to clap in time to the music), some others (I forget)... The

oldest son can't contain himself and rises to dance briefly from time to

time... finally he gets up with his sister/cousin/girlfriend???? who dances

beautifully and sensually as Middle Easterners do...

My oud is stashed under the table hoping for another chance out of its

box...

The music comes to an end shortly before 1:00 am... Oh well... "Come back

tomorrow night," suggests the violinist...

Impressions: Very low crime rate here... no guards required near the public

ATM's nor the numerous Gold Market jewelry stores...

The taxi driver listed all the major world Heads of Government for me last

night and divided them all into good or bad... News comes in many forms

here in Amman and history is told from ten thousand different

perspectives....

Remember: whatever you think is TRUE is, at best, only true, and could

quite possibly be either false or FALSE...

Always always always we must return to the music... Verbal realities are

only doorways into confusion and conflict... We must return to the beauty

of the childrens' faces... the mothers' faces... the fathers' faces...

and... this evening we visited a monkey in a cage in a local pet shop...

very human looking eyes and a low, non-verbal, grunting voice... "see you

later," we told him...

there are many cats living in the streets of Amman... zero dogs...

Question: how do people deal with low hope situations?

Kristina is diving into learning the Arabic writing system to help her with

remembering words and phrases... every spare moment now, she has her books

open or we are quizzing the waiter on how to say or pronounce something...

She's taken to enjoying wandering the city by herself now that we've got a

basic handle on the geography... Lots of Window Shopping is possible when

I'm not along...

As for me, I'm remembering about ten percent of the basic Arabic vocabulary

I will need to be able to use to actually communicate... every day my mind

hungrily scans the dictionaries and the grammar books and gloms onto new

words and phrases... faster than I can find ways to try them out... and

every day my mind scans its inner recesses: 'what was that word,

anyway...!?'

Crunch! My mind is trying too hard! Trying to work too fast! Where did that

habit come from? Talking/Being with Kristina helps me stay in a smoother

pace... Mind actually works a lot better when not frantic... Duh...

By the way, when you reply to me with you e-mails (I always enjoy reading

them), put something very obviously non-spam-like as a subject such as "to

cameron in amman"... Otherwise I might accidentally delete your message

unread... Every day I have to delete 60 or 70 spam...

Love from Cameron

------------

Dec 11, 2002

December 10, 2002

Todayis the international day of peace.I am encouraged by

all of the peace efforts that are going on around the word. Peace

will prevail.

Today it rains in Amman.We will not play music in the park or

in the Roman Theater.Yesterday we did play and a crowd again

gathered around us.A family of eight sat down next to us, Mom and

Dad and six children all under 10 years old.The mother's eyes are

smiling at me as she sends her daughters over to shake my hand and

introduce themselves.They can say hello in english.What I have

noticed when we play is the deep understanding we have without saying

a word. The world may be on the verge of war but these women and me

we know we are friends.Our eyes smile, our hearts connect and the

children are taking it in. I am very blessed to be here.Thank you

again to the friends back home who have helped us with donations.

Tomorrow we will have an interview with a Saudi news reporter. It

is funny how these things work.Cameron woke up this morning

thinking we should contact the local Jordan Times, we had coffee and

walked over to this internet cafe where we have lately spent a lot of

time. A news reporter happens to be there and the owner, who we know,

introduces us to her. She works for the Saudi paper OKAZ. If you read

Arabic check it out on the web.

You might remember the first day we were in town we happened by

a BBC new reporter who interviewed us.These kinds

of "coincidences"give me encouragement, like we're getting the

big "way to go" from the universe. Oh by the way the TV interview we

did before we left on Free Speech TV will air December 21 and 22.

This is a satelite network. Catch it if you can.... All for now, Love

and Blessings, Kristina


------------

Dec 10, 2002

Monday, 12/9/2002

Around noon today we sat down in a downtown Amman park... I began to play

the oud... soon a few passersby pause and listen... after another few

minutes people gather and begin to smile... another few minutes and some

begin to sing along and clap and dance... ...we are the mysterious but

welcome strangers from America who sing in Arabic...

Sometimes people can't help laughing at our pronunciation but it is

certainly good enough to sing along with...

An hour passes... We take a few photos...

Later we get the film developed... We drop into a smokey coffee shop, drink

some tea and pass the photos around to the men playing backgammon... They

all smile...

It's time to get our Jordanian visas renewed... we wait outside the local

police station for the four policemen on duty to get finished singing a

song and make our request... "come back tomorrow," we are told by the

smiling officers....

Today our friend A. will try and contact our friends in Iraq again to see

if any progress is being made with our official invitation...

We will see... Perhaps we will go to Egypt for a while if delays continue

here...

-------------

Dec 9, 2002

Saturday, 12/7/02

While the red, blue and green pigeons circle endlessly overhead...

Cameron and Kristina sit on the ancient stone steps of the Roman Theater

here in the heart of old town downtown Amman...

Once again we play a song of Um Kolthoum, the Egyptian super-goddess of the

Arab world...

Children are playing all around the theater, climbing the steep stairs,

laughing and yelling while parents and older brothers or sisters watch...

We smile at the children as we sing and they gather around... They smile

back with their eyes and their faces...

A little 6-year-old girl snuggles up behind me and offers me sunflower

seeds...

The pigeons overhead have been painted or dyed under their wings by their

owners... They fly in circles around the houses where they were raised from

chickhood...

My Iraqi friend A., has not a great opinion of the bird owners... "I don't

think it is fair to train these pigeons to feel like they are only able to

fly around one house..."

We sing another song, an Iraqi song this time... The children are gathering

in a tighter and tighter group around us... Soon the group is at least one

hundred... They clap and sing along... When we finish a song, they cheer...

Some of the older folks begin to approach and sing with us too...

Suddenly a young boy grabs my oud neck and prevents me from continuing...

The call to prayer has begun in the background from a nearby mosque... We

wait until the call to prayer is completed, then we begin another Egyptian

song... The people all know this one and sing along... I reach the end of

the song and begin a mawal (singing improvisation which follows certain

traditional patterns) in maqam rast: a non-rhythmic vocal style... The

crowd screams with delight...

"Come down into the center so there is more room," suggest some...

"No, this is fine... Stay here!" insist others...

"Where are you from?"

"America..."

"Very good..."

The pigeons are still circling in the afternoon sunlight, glowing in their

brilliant painted colors... The pigeon owners take the young pigeons and

cut their wing just enough so they can't fly too far... They become

accustomed to flying in short distances... just around the house... Then

they let the feathers grow back and the pigeons can fly all day... But they

have been trained now to only fly around the owner's house... They take

them inside at night and paint them in brilliant colors...

Whether this good or bad, I do not know... It certainly is different from

what we do with our pigeons in Colorado...

After a few more songs we agree to meet again tomorrow... inshallah...

We begin to move toward the exit of the Roman theater... a policeman

approaches and says that maybe it could be dangerous to create such a large

crowd... "But," he says, "you are welcome to play your oud and sing here if

you really want to..."

Groups of children gather for Kristina to photograph them... The camera

does and doesn't want to function... Stupid camera... Only half of the time

you push the button does it take a picture... But I think we got a few...

My friend A. says in further disapproval about the pigeon owners, "We don't

trust them because when they sit up on their rooftops, they have an unfair

chance to watch what all the people are doing down on the streets... or in

other houses..."

Meanwhile, the brightly colored birds circle and circle overhead...

After a sip of Turkish coffee and a bit of hummous, tomato-cucumber salad,

some chicken and a bit of bakhlava... we dropped in at Jihad's music

store... we hung out and sung an Um Kolthum piece and a Fairuz piece...

traded in my funky travel oud for a nicer one... couldn't resist buying

another D nay... (flute)...

And we decided to check out some more nightclub stuff... In spite of the

promises, once from a guidebook and once from a taxi driver that we would

find more live music with oud, kanun, nay, violin, dumbek, (the old

favorite accoustic instruments), as we had before... ...only found

piercingly loud "org" (keyboard)... minimal movement go-go/belly dancers

gifted at extracting five dollar bills (yes, for this occasion they traded

their Jordanian currancy for dollars) from crowds of young arab men... the

men try and look uninterested, occasionally giving was to fits of dance or

money throwing (when they just can't stand suppressing the impulse any

longer)... the girls wander through occasionally placing their hands on our

shoulders or touching our arms in friendly ways...

Approached by the "dancer" and a male singer with wireless mic and, for

extra juice, a mobile drummer, cash is thrown on our table apparently to

indicate how much they are hoping we might throw back in the dancer's

direction... we come up with considerably less... and after another half

hour when it is clear that our table is next in line again... we pay the

tab and slip out the door...

We are in a part of town now which has fancy hotels and fancy taxis...

Prices, even for cabs from here, are hard to control... After one more

attempt: "Oh yes," says this high-priced cabbie, "I know where the music

clubs with the old style of Arabic music is played..." We trust him, only

to find ourselves being guided into another keyboard (if you haven't

figured it out by now, synths & keyboards are not our thing) money suction

establishment...

We decline the invitation to sit down and wander until we find another

hummous and falafel restaurant where we can relax and study some more

Arabic...

Our Arabic books and our Arabic song lyric sheets are our constant

companions and every day we plough through new material... Kristina is

fascinated for the moment with learning the writing system while I am

finding that my conversations with the taxi drivers can frequently remain

at least half in Arabic... ...as long as we stick to simply subjects like:

|"turn left at the next corner, please..." but, hey, that's a lot better

than where I was...

Today is the first normal weekday after the 3-day Eid al Fitr holiday after

Ramadan...

Later today we'll check again with A. and see if we're any closer to being

issued Iraqi visas...

It's not so easy right now for us Americans to get into Iraq...

If we were a group of five (minimum) Americans, we could be issued visas

and shepharded as a "tourist group..."

As it is, Kristina and I have been invited by the Iraqi Musicians

Association to come into the country and we can be granted visas because of

that, the time it takes for official paths to be followed can be

considerable... We heard from a young friend, Lisa, whom we met here, that

a friend of hers has been waiting 2 months for his Iraqi visa...

So come on, fellow band members! Fly over and, when we have a band of five,

we should be allowed more rapid access to the country...

Lisa, whom we met by chance at one of the hotels we have stayed at, just

finished living in the West Bank of Palestine as part of an International

Solidarity group who go in and try and help shield Palestinians from the

Israeli soldiers... Perhaps we'll write more about her later as she, of

course, had some interesting stories to tell...

Meanwhile, back to the music...

--------------

Dec 9, 2002

The horns and cars never stop, this is downtown after all. Our Hotel

window looks out on a main throughfare and across to the Roman

Theater: Eighteen hundred year old ruins and still a functional

setting for drama productions. They hold them here in the summer.

Yesterday we played our music here. The children and some adults

swarmed around us delighted with these Americans who sang their

songs. "Hello" says a little girl "what is your name"?

"Kristina", I reply,

"Kristina, My name is Betisim. Goodby" A little bit later she says

the same thing to me and I realize that is the only english she

knows, she fooled me. Her prounciation was perfect. I am taken with

her she is one of those little ones who can capture your heart.

I am growing very fond of Amman, We spend our time connecting

with the locals, playing music when we can and sitting in cafes and

resturants studying Arabic. I can now write my name in Arabic and am

able to slowly sound out some of the words I see on buildings and

street signs. Shwaya shwaya (little by little) I am learning. I

find writing the language is quite fun, kind of like figuring out a

secret code, only here it's not so secret.

When you say anything to the people in their native language

they light up, delighted that an American has taken the time to learn

a little bit of their language. This seems to be true in all of the

few places I've traveled.

I watch the women on the street. Ninty percent of them wear the

hijab: the scarf that covers all of their hair. Many of the young

girls wear jeans and western style sweaters but they still wear the

hijab. The last few days have been very warm but I've yet to see a

woman's arms uncovered. At least on the street, or in the shops.

Night clubs are a different story. We went to one last night. I

was the only women customer, the only other women were the minimumly

dressed waitresses. Extreamly short tight skirts, low cut tops, high

heel boots and gobs of make-up seemed to be the style of the

evening. They were friendly to me and smiled. But no respectable

Islamic women would go into the place. As a westerner and in the

company of Cameron I can get away with it. There was a belly

dancer of sorts, but she couldn't hold a candle to most of the

dancers I know in the states. I know there are some good dancers here

somewhere but we've yet to find them.

We are still waiting for the invitation from the Bagdad

Musicians Association so we can get our visas to Iraq. The

invitation has been written but it needs to be approved by the Iraqi

equivilant of the CIA and various governmental departments. Mrs. N in

Bagdad is overseeing the process and we are told that if she can't

get it for us no one can. We are very fortunate to have the

connectons we do.

Meanwhile I am focusing on peace. Feeling it within myself and

feeling it radiate out to others around me. When I get to Bagdad I

will e-mail you all and ask that you join me, if you wish, at a

specific time to pray for peace to prevail between our countries. All

for now. Love to you all from the Middle East, Kristina

-------------

Dec 9, 2002

Lisa is from Wales... in her 20's... driven by curiosity and

a need to find out some better version of the truth, decided to quit her

corporate job in London and volunteer to teach English in Palestine... she

soon found herself working with a solidarity group in Nablus to try and

help Palestinian families survive the seige they are under...

The Israeli army sends in tanks and bulldozers to destroy homes... it is

one of the most modern well-equipped armies against a civilian population

with very few arms... "ridiculous," says Lisa...

After 3 months in Nablus she is returning to Britain to try and educate

people about the situation...

She lived with various Palestinian families... she would walk out with the

school children to show solidarity in breaking the curfew which prohibited

Palestinian schoolchildren from going to school... the Palestinian parents

say that their children must become educated and refuse to abide the

curfew... Lisa walks out with them in front of the tanks... she receives

curses from the Jewish settlers...

We asked her what it was like being a young blond-haired woman alone in

Palestine... She said that she was proposed to over and over again... But

that she never felt threatened... She learned one day watching a very

beautiful young Palestinian woman who also was being admired and whistled

at by the young men... the young Palestinian woman just wiggled a little

bit to show that she appreciated the admiration... Lisa laughed,

remembering this moment of education... openness is the norm...

Lisa never felt threatened... My impression is still that women are much

safer alone here in the Middle East than they are in many parts of the

Western world...

----------

Dec 5, 2002

Yesterday we wandered into a little city center music shop... lots of ouds

hanging in the window... we are in the center of the old market places...

crowded streets and tiny little shops placed in endless labyrinthine

alleyways...

I asked for an oud and sat down... played a little the shop-owner played a

little... he gave me some suggestions about my right hand technique... he's

right, of course, I've been cultivating some bad habits there for a long

time...

Little by little we sang songs from Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon... then a

song from Greece... tea is ordered and we all settle in to get to know each

other...

Another man with a bright beaming energy in his face arrives and sits down

to begin a chess game set up on the little table... After the game at our

insistance he picks up a violin... Everybody in the shop... there are 5 or

6 of us... is saying: "professional..." about this man... he says he also

writes children's songs... then he plays Yam Sahrni... an Um Kolthoum

piece... very passionate playing... everyone sings along during the vocal

parts...

Kristina and I share that we are hoping to get our visas to enter Iraq so

that America can be known to have sent something musical... "yes, yes! very

wonderful!" they all cheer... "and the Iraqi people are wonderful people...

they will treat you very nice...

I bought a nice nay (middle eastern flute) in the key of F... and we

promised to see them again soon...

Today we passed another music store with ouds hanging in the windows...

Inside we find a Turkoman Turk born in northern Iraq and a Palestinian

woman born in Haifa... I play an Um Kolthoum piece from Egypt and they both

sing along with Kristina... The woman has fairly good English and shows us

pictures of her 2 sons and 4 daughters, "who all sing very well..."

..."one of my sons plays oud like his father did..." she shows us a picture

of her deceased husband playing the oud...

..."we had to leave our house in Haifa in 1947 when the Jews arrived... we

left everything, the furniture... all our possessions... we thought we

would only be gone for a short time... I was just a child... we lived in

Nablus for 3 years but there was not much work so we came here to Amman...

eventually we could afford to have a house... but I went back to Haifa once

to see my house... the Jewish people living in it let me look inside...

they had subdivided it into 4 parts... two apartments each with two

stories... we had had high ceilings so they added another floor halfway

up... I don't know when we will finally get our house back... It's very

beautiful there... close to the sea..."

The Turkish man plays "Never on Sunday" on the oud and I sing along in

Greek... Then he plays "Ushkadara gider iken"... I sing some of the Turkish

words along with him...

We tell them that we are hoping to go into Iraq so that people can see that

there are Americans who love the Middle Eastern music and people...

"Wonderful... yes... a good thing to do... they will treat you very well...

and maybe you can find an Iraqi oud..." ...the Palestinian woman seemed to

know that very fine ouds are made in Iraq...

Our good friend A. has come down with the flu... He sounds very miserable

now when we talk with him over the phone... he is worried that we are no

longer sharing his apartment with him and H.

But it is also good for us to be back out on the streets everyday exploring

these musical moments... I am sorry to have tried to pass on impressions

which cannot really be understood without a greater understanding than we

have... I hope to be forgiven for my limited abilities to comprehend the

incredible complexities of peoples' lives here... I am sorry if I offend

anyone...

And thank all of you who are sending e-mail notes to us... we enjoy them

all although we don't have time to reply to all of them...

The calls to prayer are sounding in the background now... I think tomorrow

is the end of Ramadan feast... 'aid al fitr... then the daytime fasting

will come to an end and a three-day celebration will begin...

I have been hearing that people who didn't receive invitations to join the

yahoo cameronandkristina group for some reason are now unable to join...

forget the group unless you really want to post your own messages to it...

Rest assured that you will receive all of our e-mails which are being

forwarded by Loren, my son... if you really want to join the group let me

know and I will add your name, but I don't see it as necessary...

Thank you for your support and donations and subscriptions... (see

www.cameronpowers.com)... and for your replies...

-Cameron

-----------

Dec 4, 2002

We have learned so much from A. & H. here in Amman...

A. is now 29... H. is younger... They are both looking well... They don't

look stressed out... They are in the hands of their own faith in the will

of God...

A. was in Bagdad when the bombing occurred in the Gulf war...

"We took pride... We would be asked to escort various girls

here and there to help them... It made us feel strong and proud... Somehow,

when you are in the middle of all the explosions, fear disappears... One

night I was awakened by a flash and explosion so big and so bright... so

much bigger than the rest that I thought: that's the nuclear one! I rolled

over and went back to sleep..."

Kristina and I are not here to analyze politics or to take sides...

We are here to be with the people... people of any size shape rank or

color... I am passing on these impressions...

We do get your replies and we enjoy the feedback and the sense of being in

contact...

From an Egyptian friend:

Be safe and, inch Allah, your impact will be greater than you'll ever know.

You are both in my prayers. Thank you for the updates. They are very

interesting. I'm sure you are dispelling myths on both sides of the

Atlantic (and both sides need that bit of tolerance and acceptance of

differences). We'll never agree, share all of the same values or see eye to

eye but we must share the planet well in order to all live well.

From an American friend:

Thanks for the reports. It reminds me so much of when I visited Amman

about 10 years ago, and was overwhelmed with the consistent friendliness,

honesty, generosity, and genuiness of everyone I met.

I've traveled very extensively in most countries in the world, and have

never had such a strikingly positive impression of people.

Good luck on your trip, and keep sending the reports.

And we have been receiving some financial support which will enable us to

keep doing this, inshallah... God willing... Thank you very much and know

that our expenses can be covered if you all continue to contribute... I

don't know any other way to pay for this... Yes, thank you...

If you go to www.cameronpowers.com you can find ways to use credit cards to

transfer funds to us...

More soon...

Cameron and Kristina

------------

Dec 3, 2002

Monday, December 02, 2002 2:27 PM

We have been enjoying the hospitality of an Iraqi musican friend's younger

brothers who moved to Jordan from Iraq 5 years ago... actually, the younger

brother only 2 years ago...

A. & H.... A., the older, taking us into their apartment and under their

wing... every day we fast, along with the entire population here, until

about 5 pm, when the sun sets and it is "eftar" and time to eat again...

A. cooks macaroni (his younger brother's favorite) or we go out and eat

chicken and rice at local restaurants... no eating or drinking allowed from

sunrise until "eftar"... we stay up late at night... men walk thru the

neighborhoods at 2 and 4 a.m. playing large drums loudly to remind us all

to eat the last foods before the sun rises and the next day's fast

begins... we are into the last week of the month of fasting (ramadan) and

the recorded calls to prayer are being lengthened and augmented by other

live singer "readers" they call them... many times a day the neighborhoods

are filled with the songs of these calls to prayer... Islam is very very

present... Ali is very Islamic and has been explaining all the rules and

the beliefs, most of which he seems to share, about men and women, marriage

and divorce and about the sins of blasphemy, thievery, murder, adultery and

drinking alcohol...

meanwhile, A. constantly pushes forward with a mix of boundless hospitality

to us and running his web-page design business... he has numerous large

corporate clients from America, Europe, Saudi Arabia because his designs

are very advanced... tomorrow, their mother and possibly another younger

brother will come from Iraq, perhaps to stay... it's difficult for Ali to

take on supporting the whole family, but he may have to... H. is the second

oldest brother and is much more "laid back"... into artistic sketches of

comic charicatures filling his notebooks.... kind of unemployable but

endlessly loveable... the family favorite... now he is running a small toy

shop which A. has set him up with... "H. will have to quit being lazy when

our mother gets here," says A... "she makes us get up early every

morning..."

We have benefitted from many hours of conversation every day with these

two, especially with A., whose English is excellent...

A.'s uncle, an Iraqi musician friend of mine for 25 years now back in the

USA has provided us with the contacts necessary to be invited into Iraq by

the Musician's Association... Every day A. calls our contacts in Iraq... it

seems that the letter of invitation has been written and is now being

signed and stamped by the appropriate officials... it will be sent to the

Iraqi Embassy here in Amman and we will be granted admission to the

country...

We don't know how long this will take... a few more days, we guess...

Today, since A. & H.'s mother will be arriving tomorrow, we moved into a

small $9/nite hotel in the old center of the city... I like it here... the

sidewalks and streets are filled with shoulder to fender to shoulder folks

scurrying from shop to shop or... whatever it is that humans do in the

center of town...

Now we will practice more of our songs in the hotel room... We have been

singing Iraqi and Egyptian songs for the brothers' uncle, J., who has been

showing up with his new young wife... she is a second wife... the first one

lives in Bagdad and doesn't yet know about the new one... J. is serious and

jolly at the same time... was a military man until he got shot in the war

against Iran... now retired, he comes over to discuss stories and

philosophies about women with his two nephews... Kristina and I throw in

our two cents from time to time... J. is enjoying a renewed youthful vigor

from this second marriage... but A. says it probably won't last because J.

is very responsible toward his first wife and the 10 children they have...

we ask questions: to get married the man must give money to the woman... to

get divorced the man must also give money to the woman... to be married to

more than one woman the man must be able to afford this... if he gives

something to one wife he should give the same to the others... but the

women cannot initiate divorce proceedings the way men can unless the

husband is physically abusive... this is "because women are more passionate

and might make decisions impulsively..." but to guard against impulsive

decision-making by the men it is customary to give the couple 3 chances to

get back together if the man has announced that divorce is necessary... but

only three... if he announces divorce three times then it is prohibited for

them to try to get along any more... ...unless it is arranged for the woman

to marry another man for a brief period of time, wait three months and then

return for a fourth try... ...well it's all somewhat familiar and yet

different... the marriages are arranged... if you like some girl you ask

your parents to approach her parents... in J.'s case it is said that his

father put a gun to his head and said, "you will marry this one..." when J.

was only 17... here he is smiling and giggling away with his new second

wife... obviously enjoying himself immensely in spite of his heavy smoker's

cough...

My arabic is just enough to initiate conversations which don't really go

anywhere... but the basic ideas can be exchanged... so the world of Amman

is our oyster with taxi drivers at our disposal...

No longer residing at A. & H.'s we won't be catching the latest TV news and

Egyptian comedy soap operas... just watching the range of facial

expressions and body language is fascinating... so very very different...

It sounds like the Iraqi economy has been slowly picking up in spite of the

embargo... The inspections are not turning up anything yet... The bombing

in the north and the south continues, supposedly in response to attempts to

shoot down our aircraft...

Everyone we are meeting here in Jordan is friendly... None of the maps here

show anything called Israel in what is labelled Palestine... The day before

yesterday Kristina and I and a Palestinian were interviewed by a roving BBC

reporter: "Who would you side with, Bush or Bin Laden?" she asked... "Well,

neither," we all three responded by turn...

"Are you afraid to come here?" she asked...

"No, not at all... these are very sweet people," we replied...

We explained our musical mission and I reiterated that trusting any of our

governments to solve these problems is something I have given up on... "The

people must reclaim the power from the governments... that's why we are

here now..."

The Palestinian insisted that he had no problems getting along with

people... it's the leaders who create the problems... He asked why the US

government was so concerned about Iraq when Israel obviously was the one

with the nuclear weapons...

"The only country in the world to ever actually use nuclear weaponry was

the USA..." he pointed out...

He had received some education in India...

Look for two pieces to come out over BBC airwaves during the next month

with our voices chiming in...

More soon, Cameron

---------------

Nov 29, 2002

After feasting with new friends last night 'till the wee hours while

listening to a local band... singer, oud, kanun, violin and darabukka... we

arose early to go to the Iraqi embassy and apply for visas... declined for

the moment... Americans in less than groups of 5 must be invited from

inside the country in some official way... our new friends here are helping

us work on that... tomorrow holiday (friday)... My tiny bit of Arabic is

manifesting less today thanks to the English fluency of new Iraqi &

Jordanian friends... But the singing contines... It is what we can most

offer... we sang for the band last night after they finished playing... we

sang for dinner guests tonight after breaking the ramadan fast with them

after sundown... (we seem to be falling into the no-eat during the day

thing...) seems ok... we do some sleeping since we're up all night...

we are getting to know these people fast and furiously... more than I can

write about...

more later... everyone is supportive towards us...

thank you for your responses...

and of course, we still are a long way from covering our expenses... if you

have had any inclination, please go to www.cameronpowers.com and make a

donation or open a subscription...

thanks.... love... trust... beauty of heart and song and soul...

-cameron

-------------

Nov 28, 2002

"You are the first English speaker I have met who speaks any Arabic!"

our taxi driver kept exclaiming last night at 3:00 am as we drove from the

Queen Alia airport to the Nefertiti Hotel...

Truthfully, my Arabic is still very tiny... But we sang parts of Abdul

Halim's Sawah, Umm Kolthoum's Daret el Ayam, Fairuz' Atini Nay in the taxi

cab... the latter featuring Kristina's lovely voice, of course...

The cab driver said, "I sometimes try to learn a little English by

watching the American programs on TV, but all they ever show is bang bang

bang, guns and violence... I like to watch romantic movies, not all that

violent stuff... so I don't watch enough to learn much English!"

He explained how now it's Ramadan... "...we are not drinking liquids,

eating, smoking or admiring the beautiful women... we are fasting now..."

"Ramadan karim!" I said, as my friend, Souhail, had instructed.

At 4:00 am at the hotel, 5 or 6 guys plus the taxi driver hung out

with us and we all sang Sabah Fakri's Fogi Nahel... tonight we will sing

and play more, god willing...

The elder family owner at the hotel exclaimed: "people here love to

sing and enjoy... in fact you could go to Iraq right now and be totally

welcomed with your music..."

"Let's go to Iraq then," I said...

We lay in bed as the sun was first showing light and listened to the

call to prayer broadcast over dozens of loudspeaker outside our hotel

window...

"It's just the same as when I last left an Arabic-speaking country," I

observed to Kristina... These guys are party animals... ready to sing at

any moment... and they all seem to live inside the same telepathic thought

bubble..."

It feels very different from the West where we all think independently

individual thoughts and have to go to greater pains to get on the same

wavelength...

We had spent our 11 hour layover in Frankfurt, Germany wandering

around the Zeil... a kind of Boulder-style pedestrian mall in downtown

Frankfurt... Then back onto the plane again for the last leg to Jordan.

I spent the larger parts of our trans-atlantic crossing with my nose

glued in my Arabic Language books & tapes... It seemed to pay off... I was

as ready to enter into my Arabic conversation with the taxi driver as

possible... And when I didn't understand what he was saying I would just

repeat the syllables he was saying to keep the ball rolling and to teach my

tongue how to make the sounds of the language...

I went to sleep with a big Arabic-speaking smile on my face...

Now I've got a slow jet lagging around in my brain and feel barely

awake... let's see: it's 7:00 p.m. here and 10:00 a.m. back home... I

should still be asleep!

-----------

Nov 11, 2002

Update from Cameron & Kristina:


Well... I guess the next gigs for us will be in some or all of: Jordan, Iraq, Syria, West Bank, Gaza, Egypt...

We bought our tickets and will be leaving from Denver this coming Monday (Nov 25)...

Thanks to so many who came to what turned out to be a very ecstatic fundraising concert last friday night...

Please continue making contributions via www.cameronpowers.com... we've still got a long way to go to cover expenses...

A very nice article about me and Kristina came out today (Nov 21) in the Boulder Weekly... by Pete Miller ...

Check it out either in print from the news-stands or at this website: http://www.boulderweekly.com/buzzlead.html... thanks, Pete!

Here is a poem written right after the concert by my Turkish friend, Korkut Onaran:

THE STORY I HEARD FROM AN OUD

for Cameron Powers


Far away a barren land under the burning sun!

The ground is dry, harsh, cracked. A hand, as dry as the land,

unburies itself from the ground up to its wrist


and palm facing up starts dancing a dance so intense

and so alive that its waves bring up another hand.

They dance together. Their fingers move slowly.


Their moves create music. They touch each other with words

spoken by their postures. Two more hands appear from the ground

and start clapping a rhythm so involving that other hands


keep appearing, unburying themselves up to their wrists.

Before you know the land is covered by hundreds of hands

dancing, clapping, singing, and touching each other with such will!


From distant rivers and hidden wetlands waters rise up

to the sky and clouds gather to an evolving rhythm.

A warm and filling rain starts falling down on the hands.


Rain washes the soil and brings up the people and people

rise up from the ground, amazed to see each other,

for the first time, washed, and truly naked.

Written on November 15, 2002

Boulder



Here are some more comments from various contributors:

I have been so deeply moved by your e-mails and the journey that you’re on... in fact yesterday at movement mass I read your “poetry” to the entire movement mass... I am profoundly moved by what’s coming through you and the place in the circle you are holding for all of us... I trust you’ll send out more e-mails letting us know how things are developing...

I totally and heart-feltedly (is that a word? now it is!) support what you are doing. What is happening in Iraq, in Palestine, in so many places is unconscionable and we as humans have so much more to offer -- thanks for stepping forward and making a stand for peace and humanity. Blessings to you and may Creator watch over you.

Great news from your end!

Go for it man and I wish you great performances and wonderful endeavor in the ME. Just be safe...

...You and Kristina are two courageous musicians and willing to take the risk...

I wish I could buy you your tickets and pay for the trip! Maybe next time Sir.