Note from the Editor

This is a special edition. The date came and went in a whisper and none of you noticed... Gilles d'Aymery explains what's on his mind.

Michael Stowell for his part lifts a little veil on Cuba, a country America loves to hate and has embargoed for forty years. Some supportive comments, statistics and resources help illustrate Stowell's piece.

Alma Hromic's essay on refugees will move you deeply. Hromic is not only an award-winning author, she is a voice of humanity we all need to hear again and again. Geoff Berne speaks as always with passion about the Yugoslav issue and its ramifications (don't forget to read his Afterword); and Stevan Konstantinović explains the Montenegrin mess.

Is this not enough? Not when you are celebrating your fifth birthday and don't mind formatting 12 articles for the occasion! Please, read Milo Clark's essay on "perspectives," and then read it again. It just may change yours.

As you may suspect I am no Trekkie but I'm told there are an untold number of Star Trek fans out there. I'm sure they will appreciate the Trekkish satirical humor of David Deckert! In her "Only in America" series, Jan Baughman presents a wry take on living in the wrong body with the wrong breasts but being lucky to be executed in America.

This week, we dedicate Sandy Lulay's poem to friends of Swans, Dada and Pedja, who wedded two months ago. Let tenderness embrace them both forever and kindness on their part shine upon all.

Enjoy this rendition and as always please form your own opinion.


On My Mind

Gilles d'Aymery:  Happy Quinquennium

It came and went in a whisper and none of you noticed! What? What?....sings the crowd in unison. Well, Swans' fifth anniversary. It all started five years ago, on May 1, 1996. The fact that it was Work Day or Labor Day (at least in most countries of the world) was purely coincidental. Then again, come to think of it, it may not have been that accidental for it has been a lot of work ever since, even more work since the beginning of this year when I dedicated myself full time to the project!

People often ask what Swans is "about" and...   More...

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


The World: Cuba, Yugoslavia, Refugees and Perspectives

Michael W. Stowell:  The Remarkable Mother of Invention

A couple of weeks ago I videotaped a renewable energy teach-in at Humboldt State University in Northern California for public access television, it was appropriate subject matter for Californians facing an energy crisis. Our teacher that evening was Mr. Bruno Henriquez, a Cuban physicist who works with approximately 400 other scientists for CubaSolar, a Cuban NGO that recently received a United Nations grant for a pilot study on expanding electricity production.   More...

Michael W. Stowell is chairperson of the City of Arcata Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Commission, Humboldt County, CA.



Swans:  A Few Cuban Resources (in support of Michael Stowell's article)


U.S. blockade/embargo against Cuba: 40 years and counting...
Loss of Former Soviet Union aid to Cuba: 10 years and counting...   More...

Resources compiled by Gilles d'Aymery



Alma A. Hromic:  They Change Their Sky

"They change their sky, not their soul, who run across the sea."

The words of Horace have far outlasted the Empire to which he belonged. Almost a millennium after it fell, Rome is memory and ashes—and yet many, many people are still driven to change their sky. There have always been refugees, but it's only now, with the eyes of the world on them through an assault and battery of cameras, that their tragedy has become in-your-face news fodder.   More...

Alma Hromic is an acclaimed novelist and a poet who was born in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia. She is the co-author with R. A. Deckert of Letters from the Fire



Geoff Berne:  America in Yugoslavia: Peephole into a Hidden Empire

Exactly two years ago today, the U.S. House of Representatives reversed a fifty year trend by actually holding a debate and a vote on an American war. The result of that vote was that by a 213 to 213 tie Congress refused to provide President Clinton with the authorization that he needed for the United States to have participated legally in the bombing of Yugoslavia. There were three other bills put to a vote that day: 139 legislators actually voted in favor of immediately bringing the troops home from Yugoslavia. 249 even passed a bill demanding that the President submit a formal request to Congress prior to committing ground troops.   More...

Geoff Berne is an Ohio writer known for his opposition to American policy in Yugoslavia.



Stevan Konstantinović:  The Montenegro Operetta

The elections in Montenegro pleased both everybody and nobody. The current status quo appears to have been retained, but with it comes a fear that the future will not support half-baked solutions which will last only so long as there is sufficient money with which to pay for the fragile Balkan peace.   More...

Stevan Konstantinović, a member of the Authors' Guild of Vojvodina, is an advisor for culture, education and science in the provincial administration of Vojvodina, Yugoslavia.


Philosophy and Reflections

Milo Clark:  Perspective and Perspectives

For the past two years Swans, its editor(s), significant contributors and physical electronic space (conundrum, paradox or oxymoron?) have been consumed with the 1990s-2001 Balkans and its convulsions.

A difficulty with reading history and having lived a tiny bit of it is that sometimes perspectives are available which makes differences with perspective.   More...

Milo Clark is a Swans' founding member, advisor and columnist.



David Deckert:  CorpTrek

OK, so I'm probably the 5,000th person to write this exact parody, but... I heard that there was a book out there teaching the management techniques of Captain Jean Luc Picard. That's all well and good, but I have to wonder, what if the Enterprise was one? And so, in the grand tradition of VAXTrek I bring you...   More...

David Deckert is a software engineer for a company



Jan Baughman:  Lucky to be an American
   or, What it Means to Not Live in Sudan

San Francisco: the Mecca of Human Rights
If you are one of the few and unlucky American men trapped in women's bodies, or women trapped in men's bodies, you suffer from gender dysphoria - something you probably wouldn't be allowed to even speak about in Sudan. But in America, a new trend just may be sweeping the country! The San Francisco Board of Supervisors recently voted to grant up to $50,000 in sex change benefits to city employees, including hormone treatment, psychotherapy and surgical procedures. Only a handful of people may actually take advantage of this perk, but it's a popular move in this progressive bastion of America, and it sure beats trying to tackle to problems of housing dysphoria, living-wage dysphoria, basic health care dysphoria and employment dysphoria.   More...

Jan Baughman is Swans' co-editor




We stand
West of a whisper
Close to falling in love.
Twin souls
Bending over balconies
Looking at
Stone roses blooming
In moon smoke.   More...

An "Original Woodstock Girl," Sandy Lulay is also a "Swans kind of girl" who's been writing poetry since age 10.



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Created: August 14, 2001