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Note from the Editors

It was one year ago that a powerful earthquake launched a powerful tsunami that in a matter of seconds consumed and destroyed the coast of Japan and set in motion the nuclear disaster of Fukushima. Who can forget the horrifying photos -- the befores and afters of villages turned to debris -- boats on top of the occasional building left standing; homes in ruin; cars flung about like leaves in the wind... Now, a year later, we see new befores and afters, from the massive rubble to the results of a massive clean-up effort (an Internet search on "Japan clean-up before and after" will bring you to the photos). The cost to rebuild is projected to be $300 billion, and from what we can see, the will exists in the Japanese people and their government. Meanwhile, the victims of Katrina and her damage and those of the BP oil spill are long forgotten; the destruction of Iraq is passé as the anti-Iran threats grow; and election rhetoric replaces historical facts and visionary thinking.

Perhaps this selective amnesia, or maybe it's collective apathy, helps explain the violent, 70-year history in Jonah Raskin's poignant reflection; the corporate and government poisoning of America's children that Jan Baughman abhors; humanity's inability to unite to stop climate change, as Manuel García, Jr. explains; the human-made financial disaster that has befallen Greece and the eurozone, of which we should all be concerned, according to Gilles d'Aymery's ongoing analysis; and how some actually view eugenics as a rational solution, including in Kenya, according to Michael Barker. As the saying goes, everything touches everything... Perhaps if the estimated 25 million tons of debris from the Japan earthquake that is floating in the Pacific reaches the shores of the Western world, the true meaning of ripple effect will resonate.

Taking a cultural respite yet starting with a serious topic, Raju Peddada reviews Katherine Boo's exceptional book, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, death, and hope in a Mumbai undercity. We next accompany Peter Byrne on his wonderfully-narrated two-part tour of Naples with his confidant, Gennaro. We re-enter the world of music in a magical 2006 Keith Jarrett solo piano concert that Gilles d'Aymery so lyrically recounted; and Guido Monte remembers the poets Walcott, Merini, and Pasternak along a usual day. Finally, we close with your feedback, including a typical request for revisionist unpublishing, and thoughtful letters from Italy and the wonderful students of Guido Monte who appreciate beauty and wish for a better, more humane world. Bravissimo!

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Patterns Which Connect

Jonah Raskin:  Violence: A Short Personal And Political History

Jonah Raskin's poignant biography of violence -- a word on which he suggests a moratorium -- from 1942 to 2012.   More...


America: Myths & Realities

Jan Baughman:  Poisoning The Children

A look at what America feeds her children, from sodium-laden Happy Meals to E. coli- and chemical-laden pink slime.   More...



Manuel García, Jr.:  The Righteous And The Heathens Of Climate And Capitalism

Climate change is industrialized karma prompting humanity to evolve uniformly equitable social behavior to survive.   More...


Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #124

A few selected issues that landed on the Editor's desk, from the forces of nature that created misery in Japan one year ago and the forces of man that are doing the same to Greece; the complicated and confusing Greek debt restructuring; the rising ugly head of nationalism; to why the eurozone must be saved because everything touches everything, and more.   More...



Michael Barker:  Imperial Eugenics In Kenya (Part I of II)

Part I of an overview of the rise of eugenic concerns in colonial Kenya.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Raju Peddada:  The Anatomy of Poverty

A review of Katherine Boo's exceptional book, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, death, and hope in a Mumbai undercity.   More...



Peter Byrne:  Stereotyping In Naples - Part I - Funiculì

Part I of a Naples, Italy, travelogue in which the author sets off to see the real city, devoid of the stuff that turned it into a caricature.   More...


Peter Byrne:  Stereotyping In Naples - Part II - Funiculà

Part II of a Naples, Italy, travelogue in which the author's quest for the real Naples lost its way.   More...


The World of Music

Gilles d'Aymery:  Keith Jarrett In San Francisco

This is an oldie but goodie that came to mind thanks to a recent e-mail exchange between Manuel García, Jr. and the author. "Love goes gracefully," once Yuhki Kuramoto expressed with his golden hands on the piano.   More...


Multilingual Poetry

Guido Monte:  Notes along a day

Guido Monte remembers the poets Walcott, Merini, Pasternak along a usual day, as development of his thoughts.   More...


Letters to the Editor


A typical request for revisionist unpublishing, this time from a New York Times employee just following orders; and letters from the students of Guido Monte on the loss of Lucio Dalla, the fight over the high speed train, and a human reaction to the tragic Syrian situation.   More...


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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
URL: http://www.swans.com/library/past_issues/2012/120312.html
Created: March 12, 2012