Note from the Editors

Malcom X stated in 1965, "Usually when people are sad, they don't do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change." Fast forward to the present, and one sees America's post-2006 election regime-change euphoria and alleged mandate for an end to the Iraq War quickly fading. Meantime, the 2008 presidential contenders are politely revealing their similarities while attempting to highlight their differences. That approach is not swaying Charles Marowitz, who says it's high time we get angry, and vote for the angriest, orneriest candidate in order to bring about change (we hope one will surface). Clearly, the mainstream media's coverage of the Iraq War has not created the anger required to inspire change, but the chilling account of the UN sanctions in Hans von Sponeck's A Different Kind of War certainly could. Reading this remarkable book, reviewed by Gilles d'Aymery, one cannot but be sickened by the destruction of an entire society in the name of "Regime Change." Carol Warner Christen reminds us that we have wrecked humankind's heritage, paving over Sumeria with our military equipment in order to preserve our consumerist way of life. Christen's collection of contrasting observations will, as always, provide food for thought, as do those of Michael DeLang, who expands upon war, our "way of life," and the elected officials that are not bringing about paradigm change.

Even wolves have become pawns of our Manifest Destiny conquests -- Martin Murie shares the consequences for these animals when they interfere with the "way of life" of the top predator (man). There is a wealth of information available from various activists working for change, as Philip Greenspan advises, but we're in an economic Gordian knot, a paradox that Gerard Donnelly Smith illustrates in Part II of his poetic appeal for the fragmented left to work together for the benefit of all. That knot may well be tightening even further, as the US economy continues to bubble while the dollar is sinking -- Milo Clark explains.

Politics and culture often intercept in powerful ways, and one of the most iconic French artists and impassioned pacifist, Boris Vian, became embroiled in controversy when his antiwar song, Le Déserteur, was released in 1954. We are pleased with the opportunity to publish images of the original music sheet, and the story behind the song, with answers to the legends about alternative lyrics. This song had such an impact that it was banned from radio, and we are publishing the translation of an open letter Vian wrote to a Paris councilman in response to this censorship. Marie Rennard also provides an English translation of Vian's haunting poem, I'll Die from a Cancer of the Spine. Our contemporary talents, Marie Rennard, Guido Monte, and Francesca Saieva, share their own poems with accompanying photographs and drawings; and Peter Byrne reviews the film Beautiful Country. We close with your letters on the new Franco-American alliance; questions about why we fight; a different take on Gore Vidal; and another look at Rostropovich.

A special word of thanks to Frank White and Fran & Phil Greenspan for their generous financial contributions to our efforts.

As always, please form your OWN opinion, and let your friends (and foes) know about Swans.

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Patterns which Connect

Charles Marowitz:  In Praise Of Anger

The moderate tone trickling from the Democratic presidential candidates is not what is needed to set America back on course. We need to be angry about the Bush administration's transgressions and fight fire with fiery convictions.   More...


Gilles d'Aymery:  International Ignominy

Hans von Sponeck, former UN Humanitarian Coordinator to Iraq, has written a remarkable and shocking book about the devastation and destruction brought upon the people of Iraq. A Different Kind of War, the UN Sanctions Regime in Iraq reveals the anything-but-humanitarian treatment of this country by the Western powers in the name of Regime Change.   More...


Carol Warner Christen:  Contrasts

No one would have predicted that the bedroom community of San Jose, California, would become the technology hub of the world.   More...


Michael DeLang:  On Choosing A Way Of Life

While America debates war spending in a fight to preserve its way of life, people are dying from war and from the side effects and starvation that this toxic way of life imposes.   More...


Milo Clark:  Hedge Funds

In a context of floods of money chasing lowering supplies of quality or higher paying investments, hedge funds have gone respectable, becoming the only game played as luxury markets proliferate and everyone else suffers.   More...


Political Geist Through Poetry

Gerard Donnelly Smith:  The Fragmentation Of The Left Part II

Second part of a poetic plea to contemporary Socialists to speak with one voice for change and break the economic Gordian knot that perpetuates our system of haves and have nots.   More...


Activism under the Radar Screen

Martin Murie:  War Against Wolves

Mexican War revisited. What's new? Evolution produced predators, and Americans took the self-appointed, profit-driven path of Manifest Destiny over all others, whether Native American nations, bordering Mexican land, or Wyoming wolves, upsetting the balance of nature and creating scapegoats along the way. With a drawing by Olaus Murie.   More...


Philip Greenspan:  Locate A Lecture: Look, Listen, Learn

Progressives need to act locally and support speakers on the lecture circuit, such as the founder of the non-violent activist Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions Jeff Halpern.   More...


Special Boris Vian

Boris Vian and Harold B. Berg:  Music Sheet Of Le Déserteur

Here is a rare opportunity: The music sheet of an extraordinary song, "Le Déserteur," written by one of France's best, most sensitive 20th century artist, Boris Vian (1920-1959), in collaboration with Harold Berg.   More...


Boris Vian:  Open Letter To Mr. Paul Faber, City Councilman

Translation of an open letter Boris Vian wrote in early 1955 in response to Paul Faber, a Paris city councilman who had called and managed to have Boris Vian's famous antiwar song, "Le Déserteur," censored from the airwaves. (Translated by Gilles d'Aymery.)   More...


Boris Vian:  I'll Die from a Cancer of the Spine

Poem by Boris Vian in French, with English translation by Marie Rennard. It was published in 1962 by Jean-Jacques Pauvert in Je voudrais pas crever, a collection of 23 poems.   More...



Marie Rennard:  We Were Girls

An ethereal poem on the meanderings of smoke through shades and storms, from headwaters to headstone, carrying its hypotheses for us to discover. With a photo by Jean-Claude Seine.   More...


Multilingual Poetry

Guido Monte & Francesca Saieva:  Pont Suspendu (Suspension Bridge)

We are searching for the hope of suspension bridges, but it's hidden; in the world of nothingness, the human being hangs by a thread. With a drawing by Giuseppe Quattrocchi.   More...


Arts & Culture

Peter Byrne:  A Long Look Behind The Mirror

Hans Petter Moland's Beautiful Country set in 1990 Vietnam has its failings, but let's be thankful for variety in movies and have more glimpses of life on the other side of the mirror.   More...


Letters to the Editor


Bush, Sarkozy, and the frightening new Franco-American alliance; understanding why we fight, through the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex; journalist Richard Rapaport quotes himself regarding Peter Byrne's review of Gore Vidal; and an anecdote on Rostropovich and Yo Yo Ma.   More...


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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: May 21, 2007