Swans Commentary: Letters to the Editor - letter208



Letters to the Editor

(January 31, 2011)


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On Hans von Sponeck, a Man of Conscience: International Ignominy: Hans von Sponeck's A Different Kind of War: The UN Sanctions Regime in Iraq, May 2007

To the Editor:

With so much gloomy news and the corporate media as deceitful as always, how heartening it was to read Hans von Sponeck's letter of appreciation to Gilles d'Aymery. I have admired that gentleman and quoted him and Denis Halliday whenever I could to expose the horrors that sanctions inflicted on Iraqis. Thanks to this letter I was also able to read his article in the New Statesman, which I had somehow missed. The New Statesman is not the most reliable of "progressive" periodicals, but it does come up sometimes with very good articles (e.g., by John Pilger) and the one by von Sponeck on Blair's book is just great.

The article mentions Peter Hain's iniquitous defence of the sanctions, backing up Blair and betraying the Labour Party supporters who elected Hain as an MP, mainly I suspect on account of his anti-apartheid activities many years previously. I remember contrasting a letter of Hain's on the sanctions with one by an ordinary citizen who had tried to send some desperately needed medical supplies to an Iraqi doctor in a Baghdad hospital. He was prevented from doing this, just one more bit of evidence that UK and US officials were putting every possible obstacle in the way of humanitarian aid and of course blaming all the misery and deaths -- tragically most of them children -- on Saddam.

I am afraid I shall not live to see rogues like Blair and Bush indicted for their war crimes, but as long as we have people like von Sponeck and Denis Halliday willing to speak out, and journals and Web sites like Swans to support them, we should not despair.

Charles Pearson
Cambridge, United Kingdom - January 17, 2011


A House that Smells like Love: Jan Baughman's No Pain, No Gain

Dear Swans:

As one of the "friends" who attended the bread-making class with the author I must raise my voice in hearty agreement (note to self -- voice and body parts appear to be getting heartier everyday as I continue to make and eat this delicious stuff leading to my turning into a bit of a loaf myself). This recipe has changed my life as well. Since that fateful night I have purchased a total of two store-bought loaves of bread, for why on earth would I settle for substandard and far more expensive bread when for practically no monetary expenditure and a bit of time I not only have delicious rewards for my time but the added gift of a house that smells like love?

Enjoy -- I dare you.

Leigh Page
Mill Valley, California, USA - January 18, 2011


Typographic Error: Paul Buhle's SciFi And The Disguised Left Of The Cold War Days

Dear Editor:

Hello, I just read Paul Buhle's review of It Walks in Beauty: The Selected Prose of Chandler Davis and wanted to point out a few typographic errors. First, the title of the book inaccurately refers to Chandler Davis as "Chandler Harris." Additionally, Professor Davis is referred to repeatedly in the first half of the article as Chandler Harris. I do not know anything of Mr. Buhle's work, but I do know Professor Davis and just wanted to make certain that this otherwise exciting and cogent review spells his name correctly and gives his book the proper title.

Many thanks,

Ann Keefer
Project Coordinator, Temple University Institute on Disabilities (UCEDD)
Temple University College of Education
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - January 18, 2011

[ed. Dr. Keefer is absolutely right and we thank her for alerting us to these typographical errors. We have rectified the text of the book review and appended a correction note.]


Absent-minded Musing

To the Editor:

I hope I am not bothering you by sending some pearls of wisdom. I know that you have given thought to some sort of rules of conduct that might help get the human race out of the mess that it has gotten itself into. I find myself perplexed by the fact that I see the problems we face, and some of their causes, but I am not sure of what could be done to make the outcomes better. All I can do now is to continue to educate myself and to pass the information along to people I know who will take it seriously. Personally, I am a fence sitter. I see the flaws and I bitch and complain about them but I do hardly more than talk, mostly because of a lack of information. I do not want to be a part of anything that would only make things worse. Nonetheless, I do believe that if humans put their heads together, with quasi altruistic intentions, that we could solve some of the problems we are now facing.

Hope you find the articles thought provoking.

Alex Munro
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - January 27, 2011

[ed. No article was attached to the e-mail sent by Mr. Munro.]


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Published January 31, 2011
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