Note from the Editor

As the barbarian storm that has engulfed many parts of the world reached the US shores with awesome and gruesome precision on September 11, 2001, I was reminded of how prophetic, sadly prophetic, the writing of Milo Clark has been. Clark may not be an easy read but for the past year or so he has repeatedly warned those who would listen that the world was spiraling down toward yet another age of darkness, not in a biblical or apocalyptic sense but in a very tangible and human (should we say inhuman?) fashion. Go back and read his past essays, such as Two Epiphanies or Dirty War.

My initial reaction in respect to Swans was to stay away from the tragic events, let the barrage of "Officialdom" and high emotions abate before bringing our collective perspective. I personally felt the need to focus on the two aphorisms that Milo and I have often mentioned without ever fully explaining them, "The only way not to play a game is to NOT play," and "Attempting to solve problems using the tools, techniques and thoughts which create them is silly." I kept thinking about them again and again as the drama was unfolding.

But I received unsolicited contributions from Milo Clark (Terror Speculations), Aleksandra Priestfield (The Fruits of the Whirlwind), Michael Stowell (For The Asking), Stephen Gowans (Waist Deep In The Big Muddy, And The Big Fool Says To Press On), Jan Baughman (In Search of Peaceful Tracks) and from potentially new contributors (for instance John Blunt in My Patriotism Was Not Offended). I could not ignore their desire to express their perspectives and we are publishing them in the chronological order they were received. I felt, albeit reluctantly, that I had to include my own (The Lost Opportunities of Liberty).

An immediate casualty from this tragedy, among the many yet to come, is that if few people ever cared about the Iraqi Silent Genocide that Jeff Lindemeyer so eloquently exposed, even fewer will care now... I deeply fear that we are embarking upon a path of profound darkness and are abandoning all semblance of reason. This rendition was prepared with great distress and sorrow.

Beside and beyond the World Trade Center catastrophe, Michael Stowell writes about his rewarding work at the Nuclear Weapons Free Zone of Arcata, CA; Stephen Gowans writes a timely essay on the elections in Belarus; Edward Herman imagines a dream of Carla Del Ponte's and Alma Hromic muses on US commercialism and art. Please form your own opinion and let your friends (and foes) know about Swans. It's your voice that makes ours grow.

(Technical Note: In the next week or so Swans is going to be transfered to a new server (including a new IP and DNS). If you are experiencing some difficulties accessing or viewing the site, please do me the favor to let me know by e-mail. Thank you.)


Barbarity's Latest Casualty: The World Trade Center

Milo Clark:  Terror Speculations

To get a donkey's attention, hit him across the nose with a 12 x 12.

Whoever is directing this action is immensely talented, immensely talented. Certainly not fighting a last war, rather defining this one.   More...

Milo Clark is a Swans' founding member, advisor and columnist.



Aleksandra Priestfield:  The Fruits of the Whirlwind

Barely two months ago I was in Manhattan, playing the tourist; I have a heap of photographs. One of them is a panoramic shot of the New York City skyline. Another is the Brooklyn Bridge with the World Trade Center towers in the background.   More...

Aleksandra Priestfield is an editor and a member of Swans' collective.



Michael W. Stowell:  For The Asking

I'm reminded of Mr. George W. Bush's authorization of continued bombing in Iraq; of Mr. William Jefferson Clinton's bombings in the Sudan, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and Iraq; of Mr. George H. W. Bush's bombings of Panama and Iraq; of Mr. Ronald Reagan's bombings in Libya and Grenada; of the murder of East Timor; of the incineration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; of so many others.   More...

Michael W. Stowell is chairperson of the City of Arcata Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Commission, Humboldt County, CA.



Stephen Gowans:  Waist Deep In The Big Muddy,
And The Big Fool Says To Press On

Al (I'm in charge now) Haig, cracked fixture in various former cabinets, described those who would worry about civilian casualties that would inevitably follow massive US retaliation for Tuesday's terrorist attacks on New York and Washington as led by a "misguided sense of social justice."   More...

Stephen Gowans is a writer and political activist who lives in Ottawa, Canada.



John Blunt:  My Patriotism Was Not Offended

I am not so ready to dress in red white and blue tomorrow, or light candles to show I am in lock step with these Americans that need to demonstrate that they "will not tolerate terrorism." I am dying from the poison patriotic intolerances. I am weary and ill with the way these words "terrorism" and "terrorists" have been bantered around. I am sick in my heart from all these calls for revenge and retribution and slaughter.   More...

John Blunt is an artist and a writer who lives in San Francisco, California.



Jan Baughman:  In Search of Peaceful Tracks

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001 we watched the scenes in horror, on television or in person, the airplanes slicing through the World Trade Center towers like butter, the fortress of the Pentagon penetrated. Soon the shock of the physical destruction and the incomprehensible planning it took to carry out these acts turned to grappling with the loss of lives of those who unknowingly boarded a plane or routinely went to their office. We began to hear the stories of those dead or missing and they became human and we became horrified.   More...

Jan Baughman is a Biotech scientist and Swans' co-editor.



Gilles d'Aymery:  The Lost Opportunities of Liberty

So much has already been said and written. The disbelief, the shock, the horror, the psychological trauma, the grief, the mourning, the sorrow, the bereavement, the prayers, the empathy, the compassion, the daring and gallant efforts of the rescuers and their own tragic losses in the line of duty;   More...

Gilles d'Aymery is Swans' publisher and co-editor.



Michael W. Stowell:  Nuclear Weapons Free Zone

Humboldt County, California retains many unique qualities. It was the last place in the continental United States to be 'settled' by non-indigenous people, mainly because its bay was almost imperceptible from the Pacific Ocean and the massive redwood rainforest that surrounded it was all but impenetrable. Arcata is undoubtedly the most unique city in Humboldt and its municipal Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (NWFZ) Commission is one example of why this city is so exceptional.   More...

Michael W. Stowell is chairperson of the City of Arcata Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Commission, Humboldt County, CA.


The World: Belarus & The Hague (ICTY)

Stephen Gowans:  Alexander Lukashenko Gets The Milosevic Treatment

Where I live city officials once decided to erect a speakers corner, where the rabble could mount a platform and declaim to passers-by. The purpose was to celebrate the city's commitment to civil liberties in a conspicuous, showy, and it was hoped, innocuous way. One day a dishevelled character, hair unkempt, the greying bristles of his three-day old beard barely masking 10-days of accumulated grime, mounted the steps of the platform, issued a boozy burp, took a deep breath, and launched into a harangue that began "I'm not racist but..."   More...

Stephen Gowans is a writer and political activist who lives in Ottawa, Canada.



Edward S. Herman:  I Had A Dream Says Carla Del Ponte

Last night I had a dream. And in my dream the spirit of Robert Jackson came to me. His spirit told me that in my labors as the chief prosecutor for The Hague Tribunal, I was suddenly free -- no longer would I be required to toe NATO's party line, and my future as an esteemed jurist in Switzerland would not be at an end if I called the shots as I saw them independently and without constraint.   More...

Edward S. Herman is a Professor Emeritus of Finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


Society: US commercialism and Art

Alma A. Hromic:  A Novel Way To Advertise
Fay Weldon And The Bulgari Connection

Advertising has invaded almost every area of our lives. The Internet itself is home to an army of aggressive and ever more invasive banner ads. Going to the movies means sitting through twenty minutes of ads for Coca Cola, Pepsi, restaurants, skateboards, Reeboks, jeans, furniture stores and chocolate. The humble TV screen at home is full of logos lurking in the corners; if you happen to...   More...

Alma Hromic is an acclaimed novelist and a poet who was born in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia. She is the co-author with R. A. Deckert of Letters from the Fire



« Previous | Current Issue | Next »


Created: September 30, 2001