Note from the Editor

"You are going to ask: and where are the lilacs?", reads the first verse of one of Pablo Neruda's most famous poems, I'm Explaining a Few Things. Where are the lilacs? Not in Afghanistan or in the Middle East; not in Colombia or Chechnya. There, as in so many other places in the world, it's the haunting elegy of the last stanza that tells the story, "Come and see the blood in the streets, come and see the blood in the streets, come and see the blood in the streets!" The poem was written in 1936 soon after his friend, the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca, was murdered by Franco's thugs. Neruda died in September 1973 just about two weeks after Dr. Salvador Allende succumbed to the CIA-sponsored coup in Chile; and Victor Jara... Do you remember?

You won't find lilacs in Yugoslavia, either. The federation of the Southern Slavs was buried a few days ago without a whisper. It was both a dream and an ideal but its reality got caught in a man-made maelstrom engineered by a colder realism, that of global interests and resource-based neo-liberalism -- a post-post-post modern Great Game. We were once told that the Soviet Union was the great evil. We now hear that the entire world in one way or another has turned evil, like a huge satanic conspiracy against the forces of good, that of a New World Order. And so, from the streets of Tel Aviv and Ramallah, from Kabul to Iraq, the Asian and African streets and those of Latin America, "come and see the blood"...

Once again, Julien Benda's last words in The Treason of the Intellectuals" resonate profoundly: "And so, unified in an immense army, in an immense factory, knowing no more than heroisms, disciplines, inventions, debasing all free and disinterested activity, back from putting goodness beyond the real world and having no more god but itself and its wills, humanity will reach grandiose things, I mean it will take over really grandiosely the matters that surround its environment, it will have the truly joyful conscience of its own power and grandeur. And history will smile at the thought that Socrates and Jesus Christ died for that species."

Will this madness ever end? America, where are the lilacs?

As always, form your OWN opinion and let your friends (and foes) know about Swans. It's your voice that makes ours grow.


From Yugoslavia to US Madness

Alma A. Hromic:  Yugoslavia R.I.P.

History sometimes sneaks up on you and rips your heart out when you aren't looking. Decades after the dream was born, barely ten days before the third anniversary of a bloody assault by 19 foreign nations which was weathered with a spirit that is still talked about, the land once known as Yugoslavia has ceased to exist.   More...


Gilles d'Aymery:  Three Years And Counting: Has America Gone Mad?

A respected and trusted friend wrote last month, in the early going of the Milosevich political trial, that he could "not share much of [my] obsessions re: Yugoslavia" (emphasis added). He continued, "While, I am reasonably confident that all is not as portrayed, I am also reasonably confident that much alleged to Mr. M. is relatively accurate."   More...


Stephen Gowans:  Conspiracy Theory As Received Wisdom

One person's terrorist is another's guerilla, and still another's patriot. One person's battle for liberation is another's struggle against occupation, and another's terrorism. And one person's conspiracy theory is another's statement of the facts.   More...


Michael W. Stowell:  The Armageddon Story

Throughout the ages, humanity has been engaged in the 'war to end all wars' and has developed more and more powerful armaments, weapons of mass extinction, with an eye toward ensuring the end of all war. In the story of Armageddon, everyone will finally agree that the ultimate victor may never be challenged again, that disagreement must never arise, that there is only one way to live and dissent cannot be tolerated.   More...


To follow and see videos of the Tribunal's proceedings in The Hague, "Prosecutor vs. Slobodan Milosevic," please go to


Martian Humor With a Serious Message

Deck Deckert:  We Are A Peaceful People

"It's a shame," I said to Yyuran, my Martian friend.

"What's a shame?"

"That a nation that hates war as much as we do has to get involved in this," I said, waving toward the TV, which was showing U.S. planes bombing the enemy in Afghanistan. Or showing the bomb blasts anyhow; the planes were too high to see.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Stephen Gowans:  Dealing With The F-Word

Review of "Understanding the F-Word: American Fascism and the Politics of Illusion," by David McGowan (Writers Club Press, 2001).

When the Spanish fascist General Franco, enlisting the aid of Hitler and Mussolini, initiated a civil war that would eventually see the Republican government of Spain fall, the United States not only stood by, it prohibited American citizens from helping the Republican cause.   More...


Harrison E. Salisbury:  War up Close -- Irena Galina

Book Excerpt from "The Northern Palmyra Affair"

". . . Quickly a small panel slid back and he put his hand into the shallow compartment and drew out a slender sheaf of documents. This was what he referred to in his mind as his 'life insurance policy,' the small and secret hoard of papers . . .   More...



Pablo Neruda:  Explico Algunas Cosas (I'm Explaining a Few Things)

You are going to ask: and where are the lilacs?
and the poppy-petalled metaphysics?
and the rain repeatedly spattering
its words and drilling them full
of apertures and birds?   More...


Letters to the Editor

Guy Williams:  Freedom is never free

I must applaud Stephen Gowans' article, "The Worst Day of the War?". I have noticed the dangerous parallels between the Bush "regime" and the Hitler-lead Nazi regime in Germany. They are chilling.   More...



Published by the International Action Center
Available on line at

Our friend, Gregory Elich, is part of a collective -- comprising Sara Flounders, Ramsey Clark, Monica Moorehead, Nadja Tesich, Milos Raickovich, Michael Parenti, Shani Rifati, and many more authors -- that has written this book. Flounders writes that "the material published in this book will contribute toward the judgment of history. NATO means continuing war, crisis and colonial domination. Here at home NATO's existence means greater poverty and repression. This book is our effort to develop an understanding and to plant seeds of resistance. Resistance is needed, resistance is possible. The new movement against corporate globalization has shown that resistance will grow." You can learn more about this work at the International Action Center.

Purchase a copy at



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Created: April 4, 2002