Pic: S W A N S  Commentary - logo © Gilles d'Aymery 1996. All rights reserved. - size 6k

c o m m e n t a r y

(Since 1996)

April 21, 2014


Trade liberty for safety or money and you'll end up with neither. Liberty, like a grain of salt, easily dissolves.
The power of questioning -- not simply believing -- has no friends. Yet liberty depends on it.


S U P P O R T   S W A N S

Many thanks to Helen & Steve Mader, and Michael DeLang & Phyllis Feigenbaum for their generous financial contributions. Good readers, we are in April. Time to keep contributing, if you please.


Note from the Editors:   On this Easter Sunday, Pope Francis and his flock gathered in St. Peters square and prayed for peace in Syria and the Ukraine, and an end to all wars and conflicts. Meanwhile, the Swans flock is a bit less sanguine. Walter Trkla is incensed by the continued role his country, Canada, plays in Western interventions, from Afghanistan, to Serbia, Iraq, and now Ukraine, and the hypocrisy of his prime minister. It seems that no amount of activism has stifled imperialist nation-building; in fact, its success has perhaps squelched the activist spirit. And if you believe the likes of Stephen Zunes, yours truly (Swans) has been infiltrated in a COINTELPRO-like manner and is inadvertently aiding the forces of imperialism. Seriously. Gilles d'Aymery explains that, and also offers some suggested reading for the unrepentant revolutionaries who continue to support Western nation-building.

As for Glenn Reed, he finds himself struggling in an entry-level job, and working with apathetic millennials whom he attempts to enlighten on the ground-breaking strides made by his generation, only to be blamed for the troubled world into which they were born. Those millennials might benefit from reading Micky Z's Occupy this Book, which, as Gregory Elich points out in his review, offers a catechism of activism and is grounded in an urgent reality-call to action laced with ample doses of humor. They could learn a thing or two by wandering with Raju Peddada through an antique mall, where myriad objects and books tell our stories and remind us that nothing has really changed. They would also be inspired and educated by a stroll down the Bulgarian Danube with Peter Byrne and Gabri to explore the birthplace of the enigmatic polyglot writer and Nobel winner Elias Canetti, or by joining Guido Monte on his search for hidden words of real interior feelings.

We close with your letters, including Michael DeLang's thoughts on Jan Baughman's assessment that the American experiment in democracy has failed us, and the Stephen Zunes letter to which our Editor refers in his Blips.


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Patterns Which Connect

Ukraine And Canadian Prime Minister Harper's Hypocrisy
by Walter Trkla

Alexander the Great, four British invasions, and the Soviets in 1979, Canada has limped out of Afghanistan while our prime minister, Stephen Harper, is telling his constituents that democracy has won the day as Potemkin elections are held to replace the puppet regime of Hamid Karzai.

In reality, a reality known to all except those who need to create a political "win" for self interest, Canada has left Afghanistan no better than the way it found it. The drug dealers, the Tajik and Uzbek in the north, will remain in power because our American allies will manipulate the vote since they have chosen them to succeed Karzai.   More...

Walter Trkla is a retired teacher who lives in Kamloops, BC, Canada.


"Millennial" Apathy & A World On the Cusp
by Glenn Reed

I'm currently struggling in an entry-level job where over half of my co-workers are twenty-somethings. All are recent college graduates or working their way through graduate programs in social work or counseling. Now in my mid-50s, and with my last job being at a small agency where everyone was over age 35, this has been a bit of a culture shock.   More...

Glenn Reed is a long-time activist and author from Fair Haven, Vermont.


Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Blips #141
by Gilles d'Aymery

"To appreciate nonsense requires a serious interest in life."
—Gelett Burgess (1866-1951)

A few selected issues that landed on the Editor's desk, including a letter from Stephen Zunes alleging that Swans has been infiltrated by a COINTELPRO-like type in the form of Michael Barker, and some reading material for those unrepentant revolutionaries who continue to support Western nation-building, and more.   More...

Gilles d'Aymery is Swans' publisher and co-editor.


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

A Hammer Against Complacency
by Gregory Elich

Mickey Z's latest book is a much-needed call to action. Writing in his customary pithy and witty style, Mickey Z urges us to become activists. This is not a time for inaction, as we face the looming disaster of climate change, the ongoing corporate rape of the environment, a dominant ruling class culture besotted with heaping more wealth on the privileged at the expense of workers, and a ruthless militarism that sows death and destruction across the globe. As Z puts it, "What we do (or don't do) in the next few years could quite possibly tilt us all toward either the point of no return or a far more sane form of society."   More...

Gregory Elich is an independent researcher who lives in Ohio.


Arts & Culture

The Vanished And Their Sold Memories - Part I
by Raju Peddada

We enter an antique mall with excitement. In anticipation of making that find, something that had been undervalued, or overlooked. Something specific for our home, or anything for a quick flip on eBay. For me, the trek to an antique store is rather different -- I am predisposed to be reflective and melancholic. Wandering in a space full of objects that once had occupied an important place in the lives of those who had lived; now they are just sold memories of the vanished.   More...

Raju Peddada is an industrial designer who lives in Des Plaines, Illinois.



Looking For Elias Along The Danube
by Peter Byrne

Spring had come to Bulgaria. There had been a string of sunny, mild afternoons and Sofia had turned white with blossoms. Shrubs had green tips. Trees stepped forward and showed baby leaves. The forsythia was bright yellow. I bundled Gabri into the car. It was the Easter holiday, a high point of the year for Orthodox Christians. Where were we going? To the Danube, I said.   More...

Peter Byrne is an American-born teacher and writer who lives in Lecce, Italy.


Multilingual Poetry

by Guido Monte

"vivit sub pectore vulnus"
a wound lives inside the heart

virgil said,
but earth remains the great mother
e la polvere è la prima traccia dell'ombra
and dust is the first track of shadows
and rain's drops are the time.   More...

Guido Monte teaches Italian and Latin literature in Palermo, Italy.


Letters to the Editor


Michael DeLang's thoughts on Jan Baughman's assessment that the American experiment in democracy has failed us, and Stephen Zunes's allegations that Michael Barker's Ruling Class Peace is full of COINTELPRO-like lies and distortions and Michael should not be published on Swans.   More...

We appreciate your comments. Please, remember to sign your e-mails with your real name and add your city, state, country, address and phone number. If we publish your opinion we will only include your name, city, state, and country. Thank you.


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