December 19, 1999
December 19, 1999 - Note from the Editor: Here is Swans' last commentary of the year. We'll be back on January 1, 2000 with our annual predictions (that always need to be read with a grain of salt...). It's been a wild year. I've had more work than I could handle. It paid the bills all right, but kept me away from dedicating more energy to Swans' betterment. Had it not been for Jan Baughman's TLC, I'm afraid Swans would have stayed silent for weeks at a time. It's been quite an emotional year, too. From a close friend leaving the area to relocate with his family 3,000 miles away, to the barbaric war that was launched in my name and yours by our respective Western governments against the former republic of Yugoslavia, essentially Serbia, in the name of bogus humanitarian rationale and false claims. I am less and less inclined to remain silent when confronted with the destruction of our humanness for the benefit of faceless robber barons and celebrities when the rest of us are hurled into some Orwellian Darwinism. I guess I must be a romantic since I have never accepted the way things are. What is there in life but to bond with the downtrodden? We, all of us, could become one at the click of a mouse. A simple snap of the fingers and here one is, homeless, HIV infected (as is 20 percent of the African population), and shamed. Turning 50 next year, I do not expect to change the world, but I can do my bit to fight stupidity, bigotry and the powers that be. I thank Swans' contributors for sending their pieces. I do not publish everything I receive but I thank everybody nonetheless. And to you, our readers, go my wishes that you will continue finding Swans worth your time and interest.
The year is winding down and talk is centered on millennium parties and "where will you be when Y2K strikes?" Neither has much appeal to me. As the Dalai Lama said about the millennium, "the sun will rise and the moon will still cross the sky" on January 1. The Y2K bug, after having enriched hordes of consultants, will wither away except in the minds of the 60 million Americans who believe that the apocalypse is coming soon. And then the U.S. will enter the presidential election year that will receive blanket coverage by the media. So, before the champagne dries out and credit cards debts pile up, before the apocalypse waits for another hopeful day and the quadrennial circus blooms in full, let's present a few facts that will remain with us in the new year, the new century, the new millennium (to cover all the bases).
First and foremost, power works and absolute power absolutely works. Whether at home or in the world, power rules, order is sought. Whether in Kosovo or in Seattle, the ugly face of power, armed to the teeth, does the talking. And since power is never satisfied until it has squelched any discordant note, it will both ignore or rewrite the laws that govern us and increase its defense spending (actually, its capacities to attack), all this for the very profitable benefits of the privileged few.
Western governments carry on starving entire populations through debilitating sanctions -- what has been called by Pat Buchanan, in a dramatic change of heart, "America's silent weapon of mass destruction whose victims are almost always the weak, the sick, the women and the young." Sanctions are fast becoming a policy of population regulation against the deviants. Some human beings, especially when white and Judeo-Christian, are more human than others.
Access to natural resources is turning out to be a more potent national security interest than the opening of so-called free markets, whatever the official discourse may claim. This not only means access to oil, but more importantly, access to fresh water. Forget the environment, especially in the Third World (except for natural parks here and there in Africa, catering to Western tourists in search of primal identity), until, like everything else, it becomes a profitable business.
The mainstream media (which I often refer to as "Officialdom," a mixture of high paid news people and officials talking in the background), whether in the E.U. or in the USA, is owned by corporate interests that finance the election of our representatives to implement their chosen policies. The pundits have lost, if they ever had, any sense of critical thinking. They have become the Fifth Army serving Corpocracy.
And there is the Internet which, beyond its crass commercialization, remains the most revolutionary tool to debunk, resist and combat all of the above.
These are some of the issues that Jan Baughman and I, as well as a score of talented contributors, have written about with knowledge, conviction, and at times strong emotions. These are some of the issues Swans will bring to our readers next year.
Resources on the War in Yugoslavia and its Aftermath
Articles Published on Swans Regarding the War in Yugoslavia and its Aftermath