When we heard King George the 2nd affirm in front of the subservient cameras this week that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was a man of peace we jumped to our copy of George Orwell "1984" and read again about the famous slogan of the "Party," WAR IS PEACE (we are publishing this short excerpt today). "Newspeak" is becoming stranger by the day and lexicographers must be fast at work rewriting the dictionaries of the future. These ex cathedra bushisms would be entertaining were they not condoning time and again the cultural genocide and the ethnic cleansing (population "transfer" -- a euphemism for blatant expulsion -- advocated by an increasingly wider segment of the Israeli population) of the Palestinians. But what should we expect from our culture of death? As Gregory Elich explains, war "has come to be regarded as an ordinary event, scarcely meriting a thought." Elich uses photographs he took and personal stories he recorded in the wake of NATO's 1999 illegal war against Yugoslavia to show what war really means when you are on the receiving end of it, for no other reason but the wealth of the few. And Elich keeps asking, "where's the anger?" But shivering within our pitiful materialistic selves, blinded by our messianic and systemic arrogance, filled with the delusions of power, we are incapable of opening our eyes, minds, and hearts. Instead we have become the agents of deaths, willingly clapping and encouraging our own demise into barbarity.
"Newspeak" has invaded and is relentlessly propagated by a main media -- the lackeys and guard dogs of the "Party" -- where you can read, as Steve Gowans demonstrates with his parsing of The New York Times, that in the name of democracy we welcomed a coup d'état in Venezuela that overthrew a democratically-elected government. As Lance Bauscher, a new contributor to Swans notes, according to a Bush Administration official "Legitimacy [of an elected president] is something that is conferred not just by a majority of the voters, however." This, coming from an administration whose boss was not even elected by the majority of the people! "Come again?" asks Bauscher, who goes on to suggest that maybe, just maybe, it is time to revisit the current meaning of democracy.
If Deck Deckert is correct -- that "Americans are beginning to waken from their post 9-11 'Daddy knows best' trance and starting to question what's going on," -- then people like Michael Stowell should be acknowledged for the remarkable steadiness of their unwavering day-to-day activism; people who keep asserting that the real "axis of evil" is not some poor, devastated and demonized countries but war, racism and poverty. They are a great antidote to the myths and realities of the American experience, an experience reviewed by Alma Hromic in the second part of her essay on immigration and viewed from afar by Stevan Konstantinovic, who has had the ill-fated privilege to be on the receiving end of the American "Dream." And we'll end for today, as we often do, with Sandy Lulay and the hope that infinity catches us all seeing clearly.
As always, form your OWN opinion and let your friends (and foes) know about Swans. It's your voice that makes ours grow. Also, take a second to read the announcements; we've added a couple of features to the site.
SCENES OF WAR, A Glimpse Behind The Curtain Of Silence
by Gregory Elich (with photographs by the author)
War. It has come to be regarded as an ordinary event, scarcely meriting a thought. There is always some new enemy that the West must battle; always a simple contest of good versus evil. Advanced military technology is shown blowing up empty buildings, reminiscent of a videogame. Western technology, we are told, has made war into a bloodless affair. Few, if any American or British soldiers are killed. Non-Western people don't count in this equation. More...
Gregory Elich is a long-time peace activist and a Swans' contributor.
Stephen Gowans: Orwellian Inversion, Or Just Another Day At The New York Times?
A lie so bold that it turns truth on its head is more likely to be believed than a little lie. Hitler said it, George Orwell explored it in his novel 1984 (whence comes the eponymous "Orwellian inversion"), and The New York Times -- and congeries of New York Times wanna-be's -- practice it. More...
Michael W. Stowell: Make A Sign
The Zionists are overacting and the Arabs won't co-operate; Bin Laden has disappeared and Hussein has reappeared; Chávez is a hero and a friend of Fidel; Enron has popped and Ralph Nader was right; North Korea meets with South Korea while India and Pakistan continue to fight; George Dubya gets spookier each day and Al Gore just shaved. It's difficult to decide what kind of sign I should make for the peace and justice rally this week. More...
Deck Deckert: Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering, Pinky?
It's time for a recap. Before 9-11, the Republicans stole the election. Since 9-11, they have been busy stealing the country and plotting to take over the world. With the help of the Democrats and the suck-up corporate media oligarchy, of course. More...
Lance Bauscher: Democracy Ver. 7.2
Political Science. Most adherents of the science of politics don't blush when they use the term. I guess because it's assumed that the objectivity purported by science is both possible and important in an understanding or critique of politics. Well and good, so let's put it to a test. More...
Alma A. Hromic: The Immigrant Nation (Part II): Around My Heart
"The great social adventure of America is no longer the conquest of the wilderness but the absorption of fifty different peoples," journalist Walter Lippmann said in 1913. Ellis Island was still the gateway through which thousands poured into America at that time. But today, almost a century later, Lippmann's words still apply. America is, and remains, a melting pot. More...
Stevan Konstantinovic: The American "Dream"
Like all children in my country, I met the word "America" when I was very young. In those days, that meant "cowboys and Indians" and as a child I always preferred being a cowboy because they always won against the "bad" Indians. A plethora of Western movies flooded the screens of movie houses and the early television sets, a necessary substitute for Russian movies that had to be avoided in the light of the Tito-Stalin political split. More...
Sandy Lulay: A Whispered Light
Born in the shape
A whisper on the winds
Searching the universe
For you, for me. More...
George Orwell: War Is Peace
Book Excerpt from "1984"
The war, therefore, if we judge it by the standards of previous wars, is merely an imposture. It is like the battles between certain ruminant animals whose horns are set at such an angle that they are incapable of hurting one another. But though it is unreal it is not meaningless. It eats up the surplus of consumable goods, and it helps to preserve the special mental atmosphere that a hierarchical society needs. More...
To follow and see videos of the Tribunal's proceedings in The Hague, "Prosecutor vs. Slobodan Milosevic," please go to http://hague.bard.edu/index.html
HIDDEN AGENDA: U.S./NATO TAKEOVER OF YUGOSLAVIA
Published by the International Action Center
Available on line at leftbooks.com
– As an experiment, we've added a tool on the main page to translate the content of Swans in French. It's a pretty amazing tool even if it's not a perfect one (obviously, the usual legalese -- no responsibility, etc. -- goes with the experiment). If this makes sense, we'll eventually add Spanish and Russian to the site... We've also added a new classification of the work published here, Book Excerpts and Reviews.