Note from the Editors

Mission (Finally) Accomplished! And yet, after more than 6 years, $800 billion spent (so far...), uncounted hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilian casualties and millions of lives displaced, over 4,300 US troops killed and 31,000 wounded, 139 dead journalists...our combat troops retreated and the Iraq oil auctions began -- with barely a peep. No fanfare, no aircraft carrier photo ops nor tickertape parades. Why, the US oil companies didn't even open up their wallets at the auction of the spoils, as did the British and Chinese, leading us to ponder whose way of life we started this war to preserve, anyway. Meanwhile, the same blatherers who still claim that our noble mission liberated the poor Iraqis from the iron fist of Saddam Hussein are hard at work demonizing Barack Obama as an evil Socialist. Charles Marowitz reflects on that dreaded notion of socialism being bandied about while capitalism is crumbling before our very eyes.

Those liberators are now turning their focus to Afghanistan and Pakistan, where remote-control drones piloted by operators in Nevada are reaping a whirlwind of hatred against America. As Martin Murie demonstrates, death from above is not liberation... Murie recounts the sensitivity and prescience of Tiziano Terzani's 2001 Letter Against the War from Peshawar. Michael Barker's extensive research, following the money that flows from capitalist democracy-manipulating elites to activist organizations, investigates the groups working to stop Female Genital Mutilation (like the Tahirih Justice Center) in one article and the ties behind Nonviolence International in another. Michael Doliner questions America's poorly-faked meddling, under the guise of democracy, in Iran's post-election demonstrations.

On a pastoral and cultural note, Graham Lea takes us on a virtual trip to la France profonde where transhumance of cows and sheep is enjoying a renaissance, and then we travel to Ghana with the wit of Femi Akomolafe to learn why President Obama dropped in on his country and not Nigeria. Just how does the wool keep getting pulled over the public's eyes time and again? Take Joel Hirschhorn's IQ test to see where you score, as he considers what Sarah Palin, Michael Jackson, and bottled water have in common in these uninformed times. Peter Byrne explains with a book review why we should be edifying ourselves on the Muslim world by reading Egyptian writer Alaa Al-Aswany, while Marie Rennard shares a couple of humorous anecdotes on Captain Moreau and Cardinal Richelieu. Poetry appears in the form of Guido Monte's paradoxical haiku and Raju Peddada's verses on destiny. We close with your letters, including a conservationist's defense against Michael Barker's critique, more food for thought on French bread, and 170 words on saving the environment while eliminating poverty.

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

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Patterns Which Connect

Charles Marowitz:  The Dreaded S Word

The rise and fall of American ideology from the Geneva Convention to Wall Street. We will never feel morally cleansed unless wrongdoing is thoroughly exposed and wrongdoers publicly prosecuted.   More...


Martin Murie:  Peshawar

Comments on Peshawar. Ignorance and blind faith on both sides. As we bomb Afghanistan and Pakistan with our remote-control pilotless drones and create more anti-American sentiment, we have to ask whether the fundamentalists' blind faith in Allah is any different from our blind faith in science and technology, in our ability to exploit nature for our own purposes?   More...


Michael Barker:  Female Circumcision And The Tahirih Justice Center

A critique of the Bahai-inspired Tahirih Justice Center. The author considers the groups that are working to stop the practice of female genital mutilation, demonstrating why justice for women will never come from capitalist elites.   More...


Michael Barker:  Nonviolence International And Imperialism

An examination of the links between the National Endowment for Democracy and Nonviolence International.   More...


Michael Doliner:  Iran, The U.S., And Demonstrations

America's groupthink dream of change, from Iran to Afghanistan and North Korea, to health care reform and the financial bailout and the bloated military budget, is a recipe for disaster for the entire world.   More...


French Corner: Old Pastoral Customs Renewed

Graham Lea:  Transhumance And The Estive: A Revival Of Pastoralism

A virtual trip to la profonde France and the pastoral pleasures of transhumance.   More...



Femi Akomolafe:  Brother Obama's Visit To Ghana: The Nigerian Perspectives

Femi reports on President Obama's July 2009 trip to Ghana in which he snubs the Giant of Africa -- or the Open Sore of Africa -- Nigeria.   More...


America: Myths and Realities

Joel S. Hirschhorn:  Palin IQ Test

What do Sarah Palin, Michael Jackson, and bottled water have in common? Take Joel Hirschhorn's IQ test and see just where you fall.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Peter Byrne:  Egypt In The Mirror

Perhaps the best reason for reading Egyptian writer Alaa Al-Aswany just now is to learn how diverse among themselves the Muslims of a single country can be.   More...


Humor with a Zest

Marie Rennard:  To Moreau, Tomorrow...

A humorous look at the anecdotes of Captain Moreau, Voltaire, Cardinal de Richelieu, and a rotten ass.   More...


Multilingual Poetry

Guido Monte:  Haiku n.2

Another paradoxical haiku by Guido Monte, through old and new poets.   More...



Raju Peddada:  Trip To Nowhere

A poem for the train ride that is life's destiny.   More...


Letters to the Editor


A conservationist's conspiracy theory on Michael Barker; more food for thought on the merits of French bread; and how to avoid environmental destruction and global warming while eliminating poverty, in 170 words.   More...


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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: July 13, 2009