December 25, 2000
It is hard to imagine that the World Wide Web is not even ten years old. A young, very young kid, whose exploding growth has witnessed the abrupt dismissal of the dot.coms' get rich schemes, the exponential multiplication of web sites and pages in all languages and colors, and the potentiality to reach out to the "four corners" of the globe (e.g., Swans has been visited by people from over 90 countries).
Not even ten years old… Just wait until it hits adolescence and adulthood.
Two of the web's most potent tools, aside from its easy connectivity and relatively low operational cost, are its archival capability as well as hypertext and hyperlinks that allow any site to build a body of work and refer to any part of that body at any one time. To clarify with an opposite example: Try to archive your local daily paper or even your favorite monthly magazine day after day, month after month, year after year. Try also at any one time to find a specific article or essay stuffed somewhere in your archival system. Try finally to refer to that particular article or essay in your present work, generously presuming you indeed found it, without having to quote large chunks of it (do your readers have access to that article or essay in the first place?).
At Swans we have been taking advantage of those tools for close to five years. We have been building a collective body of work for that entire period with a few organic principles: a) Bring ideas, opinions and thoughts, largely dismissed, not represented or misrepresented in the main media, out in the open world - and not market - of ideas. b) Do this with intellectual honesty and humility in the company of a magnificent flock of talented and thoughtful human beings, all bringing their own sensitivities and background to the project. c) Shy away from all the chapels and isms that have so clogged humanity's arteries that we are left repeating haplessly the same destructive behaviors to overthrow or exterminate ideas and systems that we judge opposed or simply consider detrimental to ours and, thus doing, are imperceptibly chipping away at our species, all species, and our planet.
2000 has been a good year for Swans. The readership, while infinitesimal compared to the commercial sites supported by huge corporations, has substantially grown. Thank you. This growth, or better said, expanded readership, is a tribute to the disseminating perseverance of Rick Rozoff, the talents and erudition of Rick himself, Alma Hromic, Milo Clark, Aleksandra Priestfield, Jan Baughman, Margaret Wyles, a variety of excellent contributors* and the many sites that have put a link to Swans (in this last category, a special acknowledgement is due to Eric Garris, the webmaster of Antiwar.com, who has regularly linked Swans' commentaries, often on the front page of the site. Thank you, Eric). Think again about the power of the Internet. None of us knew each other until our respective paths crossed on Swans, and all have worked tirelessly to present to you, the readers, again, ideas, opinions and thoughts with quality and integrity. A most earnest and gratifying endeavor, wouldn't you say?
So as we look forward to 2001, the actual beginning of the new millennium (within the Gregorian frame of reference), we hope that Swans' visitors and readers will continue to be attracted to this commercial-free zone where matters mean more than materialism, thoughts more than dogmas, and ideas more than ideologies. Then, as the site expands (it will) we wish you will help us to disseminate its content.
May the New Year see the fulfillment of your wishes.
Oh, and you may ask: What of the year 2000 in Perspective? Well, check the year 1999 in Perspective. Not much has changed but for a new occupant at the top of the pyramid. The issues that were compelling then remain as valid today and we will carry on covering them. For those of you who will pass on our 1999 in Perspective, let me end with the Note from the Editor as written then:
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.
I would not add nor retract one word... (except for my age!)
* Alex Jay Berman, Antony Black, Chris Black, Gregory Elich, Zoltan Grossman, Eric Hagt, Drew Hamre, Mac Lawrence, Joe Kresse, Gary Chapman, Donella H. Meadows, Michael Parenti, Eileen Rinde, Rebecca Sumner, Michael W. Stowell, Pedja Zoric, Various Poets, etc.
Please, DO NOT steal, scavenge or repost this work without the expressed written authorization of Swans, which will seek permission from the author. This material is copyrighted. All rights reserved.
1999 in Perspective - by Gilles d'Aymery
Resources on the War in Yugoslavia and its Aftermath
Articles Published on Swans Regarding the War in Yugoslavia and its Aftermath