Note from the Editor

With the proliferation of imperial chaos in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and the Palestinian Occupied Territories in mind, let's visit the splendor and detritus of past imperial centers on the old continent through the perspicacious and subtle eyes of an American tourist in Amsterdam and Paris, Fran Shor, a scholar and veteran political activist from Detroit, Michigan. Shor sees what the locals born with their own historical blinders can't: A past of imperial conquests morphed into the present daily lives of amnesic bystanders. From the city to the park, nature manages to survive in spite of the imperial madness imposed upon her, thanks to her Systemic Stubbornness, according to Martin Murie. Unfortunately, as is often the case and as Deck Deckert is experiencing first hand, nature is being relentlessly exploited by short-sighted developers, in the name of "progress," of course.

Just as America's role in the destabilization of the Middle East is a raging success, so too is the export of capitalism to China, who, as Charles Marowitz explains, has globalized itself into one of the most successful economic empires that will soon own the US of A, thanks again to a short-sighted, what's-in-it-for-me mentality. These trends will proceed unchecked as long as we continue to live in our Myspace bubbles unconcerned with anything beyond Number One, all the while believing the propaganda that the "others" hate us because of our freedoms. Jan Baughman and Philip Greenspan have some thoughts on these two issues, respectively.

In further chaos, the war of choice that the Israeli bully declared on Gaza and Lebanon while the West was immersed in World Cup, Wimbledon, and Tour de France bubbles remains literally unopposed by the U.S. and Europe, save for the increased demonization of the Palestinians, Hamas, and Hizbollah, and now Syria and Iran. One is well advised to read the press conference given by French President Charles de Gaulle on November 17, 1967, in the wake of the Six-Day War and prescient of the current vicious mayhem unleashed on, for all practical purposes, defenseless people. Meanwhile, when we don't play Dante's Inferno in distant lands, we prepare for another electoral farce. Milo Clark has a few discerning thoughts on the upcoming 2006 elections, in which Republicans, though currently not winning any popularity contests, have quietly stacked the cards in their favor.

For a taste of culture seasoned with politics, Peter Byrne composed a short story set in Istanbul with three consulate workers, modern-day political disputes, the Italian resistance, and a 1949 neo-realist film; and Gerard Donnelly Smith shares a poem on the tragic toll of war, while life goes on with athletes' sport and editors' spin.

Finally, we close with your letters, with a defense of consumerism in response to Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan's "Imperialism and Plagiarism"; a challenge to Peter Byrne's take on Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk; trading PayPal; and praise for Philip Greenspan's exposé on the Founding Fathers and Michael Doliner's insight into the life of an insurgent.

As always, please form your OWN opinion, and let your friends (and foes) know about Swans.


Imperialism Throughout the Ages

Fran Shor:  Imperial Residues And Resonances In Amsterdam And Paris

Being a tourist almost always guarantees that surfaces will monopolize one's consciousness. Especially coming from the United States, a notoriously post-modern and anti-historical culture, the tourist visiting major European cities for the first time will invariably be drawn to those venerable monumental structures that predominate in former imperial capitols such as Amsterdam and Paris.   More...


How NOT to play The Game

Martin Murie:  State Of Nature

The golden eagle was hunting, coasting near the ground. Seen from the edge of an ancient glacial cirque the eagle was a tiny brown motion at the bottom of a monstrous half-enclosed space.   More...


Deck Deckert:  Chainsaw Massacre

The chainsaws are roaring right outside my window, destroying trees that were young when Abraham Lincoln was in the White House. A snarling bulldozer is ripping the soil, uprooting smaller trees near the creek.   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Charles Marowitz:  The China Syndrome

Why should we be agitated by the formidable rise of China? The Chinese have applied the very laws of capitalist expansion that made America the superpower it is today.   More...


Jan Baughman:  Looking Out For Number One

When wandering through life, one cannot but notice the number of us withdrawn from society as a whole, immersed in our own reality. Drivers on cell phones inattentive to the negotiations of traffic; shoppers at the checkout stand speaking to someone not in the present, with no acknowledgement of the person with whom they should be interacting; individuals walking down the street in earpiece conversation with an invisible companion; and the multitudes attached to an iPod, in their own world and walling themselves off from intrusion by others.   More...


Philip Greenspan:  What Do The US Enemies Want?

"They hate our freedoms -- our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other." This was how George Bush explained the 9/11 catastrophe to Congress and the American people.   More...


Middle East

Gilles d'Aymery:  Operation Summer Rains

YOU HAVE TO TIP your hat to the Israeli government and its wonderful killing machine, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), for their sense of timing to launch another devastating offensive against the Palestinians -- those little rattlesnakes that prosper along the Israeli flexible and always enlarging borders.   More...


Israel & Palestine -- Historical Dossier

Général de Gaulle:  November 1967 Press Conference on Israel

Excerpt in French of a Press Conference that the Général de Gaulle, President of France, gave on November 17, 1967. This is the part of the Press Conference dedicated to the state of Israel in the wake of the June 1967 Six-Day War. As one can see in light of the past decades and the current violent crisis, le Général was quite prescient, indeed.   More...


US Elections & Democracy

Milo Clark:  Confusion And Frustration In The Mid-Term Elections

Under predictions for 2006, I ventured that the Republicans would retain control of Congress in this fall's elections. There are many who disagree. I am not sure that disagreement is adequate reasoning, though.   More...


Arts & Culture

Peter Byrne:  The Pictures

Havril had seen Sposi up in the front row before the lights went out and the movie began. During the longueurs of the 1949 neo-realist flick, he guessed what the Italian's reactions would be. He was even already angry over them.   More...



Gerard Donnelly Smith:  Visions Of Evil

beneath the sand bodies rest:
no monuments, no flowers;
the wind moves the sand,
waves across the dead sea.   More...


Letters to the Editor


A defense of consumerism in response to Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan's Imperialism and Plagiarism; a challenge to Peter Byrne's take on Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk; trading PayPal; and praise for Philip Greenspan's exposé on the Founding Fathers and Michael Doliner's insight into the life of an insurgent.   More...



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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: August 1, 2006