(September 25, 2006)
Note from the Editor: We began to regularly publish letters from readers with responses from authors and editorial comments in November 2001. With this issue, we are digitally publishing them for the one hundredth time. Out of curiosity, we did a rapid count of the number of letters and comments published in that period: some 630 letters and over 160 various responses by authors and editorial comments. Hundreds of obnoxious, beyond the pale letters were not published (hate mail, threats, vulgarities). The amount varies with each edition depending in large part on the degree of controversy surrounding an issue (Israeli-Palestinian conflict, conspiracy theories, national elections, etc.) and on the season (summer tends to be dry). The letters can be short and sweet (or acid), or long expositions (or rants) that could easily be published as articles. In their majority they are thoughtful and inquisitive (there's always a minority, of course!). Overall, they contribute a great deal to the publication and we thank all readers for taking the time to send us their thoughts, praises, and criticisms. Please keep them coming and consider our work financially. Thank you.
A Few Words for Everybody from Jerusalem... See Sept. 11 Letters and Gilles d'Aymery's Ecstasy Of Blindness
As you know "Syllogisms, repetitions and logical fallacies" are such in the eye of the beholder. And of course it takes one who uses them to recognize them...
The fact is, that by withdrawing unconditionally from all of the Gaza strip, the Israeli leadership admitted that they made a grave mistake in 1967. Contrary to Gorge Orwell's 1984, there is no "day-to-day falsification of the past" in Israel. The freedom of expression and a robust press take care of that.
It is obvious that the "charming" and very "gentle" Ms. Alouette is preoccupied with the anatomy and function of different body orifices. I will not disturb her enjoyment of different odors... And I hope she finds her "wealthy" husband and the "two car garage".... How "progressive"....
Michael DeLang thinks that "murder is not the function of the Government" and when "violence is the problem it can not be the solution." Unfortunately, we live in a world where many times the only way to solve a problem caused by violence is violence itself. In WWII, if the Allies had not used violence, today the world would have been ruled from Berlin and Tokyo. If Israel did not use violence after it was attacked and invaded in 1948, today there would have been no Israel. If no violence was used against Iraq, after it invaded Kuwait, today there would have been no Kuwait.
As for the Buffalo example. If the armed members fire their weapons from the house of a farmer in Saskatchewan, the US army will not retaliate by killing the farmer. It will retaliate by firing at those who fired first, and the farmer may get hurt in the process, but that farmer was never the target, the attackers were.
And what if the attackers have no specific grievances that can be addressed? They simply want the U.S. destroyed. They refuse to talk to Mr. DeLang except to tell him that he has to go back to Europe or wherever he or his parents came from? And that they will continue to attack and kill US citizens. I submit, that in such case even DeLang will use violence to defend himself.
As I wrote before, I would like to live in a world without borders, armies, and violence. Unfortunately the world we all live in does not allow us that luxury.
And, indeed the compromise is a must. In 1947, Ben Gurion understood that and accepted the UN partition plan. The other side did not and we are still paying the price for that refusal.
Then, Israel made its own mistakes in 1967 and 1982. But more and more Israelis support the principle of the territorial compromise.
Ashley Howes wants to establish one state and dismantle the Jewish state. Therefore he denies the right of the Jewish people to political self determination and independence, while saying nothing about the many nation-states existing in the world today. That is a racist proposition. That is another way to bring the end of the Jewish state after the military means failed, and it will fail likewise.
And no, contrary to the Editor's note, Jacob Amir does not agree that ethnic cleansing works. It is important to remember that while 110,000 Arabs remained in the Jewish state in 1948, even though Israel won the war and could have expelled all of them, not a single Jew remained in the areas taken by the Arab armies. Today there are 1.3 million Arab citizens in Israel. Ethnic cleansing is unacceptable to the vast majority of Israelis.
Jerusalem, Israel - September 18, 2006
How to Take a Stand in the Radical Middle? Jan Baughman's "September 11, Nineteen Eighty-Four"
To the Editor:
Read your article -- I'm just discovering Swans, and I'm certainly intrigued. It's good reading, whether or not I agree, which sometimes I do. I loved 1984, which was written primarily in response to events taking place inside the Soviet Union at the time -- perhaps one of the greatest enforcers of past-erasure and propaganda in history. Now look, I know that an awful lot of doublespeak comes out of Washington -- no matter who is behind the desk in the oval office -- and that we need to be especially careful -- now more than ever -- about the abuse of our freedoms and the use of our abundance to destroy the lives of others around the globe. Our country is not necessarily better than any other in history -- and we should be vigilant about the love and respect of, and peaceful coexistence with, (wherever possible) ALL human beings. That said, do you think the doublespeak and manipulation and corruption is unique to the Republican Party? Would we be that much better off having Mr. Gore or Mr. Kerry in office? (These are NOT entirely rhetorical questions, mind you -- perhaps we might -- and perhaps we might not). Is closed minded-ness unique to the right wing? I'm quite sure it isn't!
I'm a person who really desires to see the whole truth, and nothing but -- even if it's wishful thinking most of the time. But we can fight for it, can't we? Look -- Iraq is a terrible mess -- and Afghanistan isn't far behind. I'm not saying we should have or shouldn't have (because I think the right course of action lies far more in the minutiae of those actions than the gestalt). But when the "no WMDs" report was commissioned (by George W., no less and interestingly enough), the findings must be dubious given two years of no inspections and two years of all-out war. Moreover, the bigger news to me was the massive corruption within the highest levels of the U.N., France, Germany and Russia, tied to the Oil For Food Farce -- the 4 major parties who stood to benefit by opposing the war, and thus preserving their under-the-table cash flow. And YET, it most certainly has been mismanaged, has been glossed over, has been a travesty to POWs in secret prisons, thousands and thousands of civilian lives lost and so on. Wire tapping is another item which I've personally written about -- and something that has been seized upon by those intent on demonizing the current administration, as though the same thing hasn't been done by every administration since the phone wires were strung. (And, no, there is NOT a supercomputer capable of listening to/reading and fully analyzing every single word spoken or written on every single cell phone and e-mail message, in the world, every second of every day. The NSA does not care about me calling my wife to ask which kind of avocado to buy when I'm standing in the produce section, rightly confused by mislabeling.) That said, however, we should STILL be paying VERY close attention, and be making quite sure that in every single instance, our rights and privacy are being safe guarded. Should I mention that I got a tax refund two years in a row while living just below the poverty line? "Tax cuts for the rich" confuse me. So do all the business reports that I read, stating that every single indicator for the economy is positive.
I'm not saying all this to refute your article or your political stances. I don't like George W. all that much. We're skating on some very thin ice -- and I couldn't agree more with you that we must be ravenous consumers of history, and adamant skeptics of ALL government at all times -- to ensure that we are not trampled on, and perhaps more importantly, that our fellow human beings are not trampled on. (I'm an outspoken supporter of debt relief, AIDS relief and drought relief, as well as a supporter of children in South America -- I say that NOT to blow my own horn, but to prove only that I am not a Righty trying to throw mud on your windshield). I'm just having a really hard time trying to take a stand in the radical middle.
Thanks for reading -- (and kudos on some very well written and thought provoking articles!!)
Nyack, New York, USA - September 13, 2006
A Bad TV Program: Charles Marowitz's "Honni Soit Qui Malibu"
To the Editor:
I lived in Malibu, its farthest, already Ventura County reaches, at app. 2,000 feet from 1986 to 1991, and must say that Marowitz's piece, for his 20 years there, strikes me as the kind of bad joke that must have been written by someone who has maybe watched a bad TV program on that long stretch of coastline.
Seattle, Washington, USA - September 11, 2006
What about Darfur?
To the Editor:
It appears the next target after Lebanon is the Sudan, after Bush cried off over Iran when his allies would not support him.
The enormous propaganda campaign with identical demonstrations in cities thousands of miles apart is ominous.
Any article Swans could do would be appreciated.
Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England - September 21, 2006
[ed. See the current Blips #41.]
Finding us Through the Blathersphere
To the Editor:
Some time ago I was rooting around on the Net and found one of your (I think) articles from an engineer (of what, I cannot remember) who made a playdoyer for "Getting out of the Box," i.e., changing our thinking and adjusting the "American" system closer to the needs of humanity.
Since then, my PC crashed, the hard disk died, and I lost the article. I would like to have it again. Also, I would like to read other articles that you print.
I live in Austria and have lived here for almost 25 years. I am retired from the US Air Force. Ten years of my active duty time was spent in Germany where I learned the language and a good many of the customs. It has greatly influenced my thinking about my own country.
I visited a few years ago and went through the embarrassing procedures that seem to prevail at every airport. I will not do that again. Also, I had the chance to read the local newspapers -- the Bangor Daily News -- among others. I was appalled at the complete lack of perspective on international events and political thinking.
The American assumption that they are always right, and that they can ignore the wishes and feelings of everyone else in the world is simply wrong. In some cases, it is criminally wrong.
I think you and your publication are on to something positive.
Please let me know how I can get on your list of customers and what it costs.
Robert E. Fowler
MSgt, USAF, (retired)
Mondsee, Austria - September 13, 2006
[ed. We've added your e-mail address to our distribution list. It's free of charge, but we welcome contributions to support our operations. Thank you for the kind words and for reading Swans.]
For over a decade we've brought you uninterrupted ad-free advocacy work free of charge. But while our publication is free to you, we are long on friends and short on cash. We need you, our readers, to help us financially. Please send anow. Thank you.
We appreciate and welcome your comments. Please, enter in the subject line of your e-mail "letter to the editor," and specify the article or the subject you are commenting on at the beginning of your e-mail. Also, ***PLEASE,*** sign your e-mail with your 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. Send your comments to the Editor. (Letters may be shortened and edited)