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Note from the Editors

What a difference a couple of years makes -- or so it seems. The president of hope and change now sees his approval rating plummet as he out-drones and out-surveils his predecessors, and the bungled unveiling of his hard-fought Obamacare leaves many of us longing again for universal health care, while the "anti-Socialists" fight for its complete dismantling. And in that time, what has become of the Arab Spring, a phrase already as quaint as hope and change? The Middle East has fallen into unfathomable disarray with shortages of food and water, goods and services, and rising unemployment that are both cause and effect of the political and ethnic upheaval. But one must dig far beyond the last couple of years, as Gilles d'Aymery has unearthed, to understand the historical context and geopolitical complexity of the current situation. Case in point, the downfall of Muammar Gaddafi. Aymery explains how this once-Islamic-socialist leader who, warts and all, provided as best one could for the people of Libya ultimately became a pan-African threat to Western powers. Manual García, Jr. offers a sharp, differing, more Western perspective on the Libyan revolution. You'll decide for yourself.

Returning to Obamacare, we look to Canadian Walter Trkla for a view of the United States' health care system in comparison to that of his country and of Sweden, each of which considers health care a human right, not a privilege, reminding us again of how little America's obscene spending yields in terms of outcomes -- but for the profits of the related industries (insurance, pharmaceutical, etc.). American academia is in similarly poor health, and though the business sector could come to its aid, benefiting students and ultimately itself, educator Harvey Whitney, Jr. finds that bad business decisions are having negative repercussions not only on the job market, but on academia and education as well. Meanwhile, the 47 million Americans relying on food stamps just saw a 5% cut in assistance. Not to worry -- as usual, charities will step in to fill the government's shortfall if they can, though the competition for donations is on the rise and demand is outpacing supply. From London, Michael Barker asks why we have so many people who need such charity in the first place; he finds the answer through his investigation of the key role played by the ruling class in the British charitable sector. Amidst such volatility, it is refreshing and re-inspiring to hear from novelist, feminist, and activist Beverly Gologorsky, whom Jonah Raskin interviews upon the release of her new novel, Stop Here.

Speaking of the British ruling class, does the world need another biography of the Queen's poet, Tennyson? More than we need more teachers teaching creative writing, concludes Peter Byrne. Our next stop is France, and we ride along as Jonah Raskin looks back on his past 40 years of visits, still looking forward to his next. In the poetry arena, David Francis captures the essence of the digital and social media age in which friends take on a new and distant meaning, while Guido Monte speaks for the children of war, with a wonderful picture by award-winning Syrian children's book writer and illustrator Nadine Kaadan. We close with a letter by Michael Barker on renewables and the Marxist romanticism of John Bellamy Foster.

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Middle East

Gilles d'Aymery:  Libyan Mayhem: An Assessment

The author's assessment of the Libyan chaos shows there's much more behind the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi than freedom, democracy, and the responsibility to protect.   More...


Manuel García, Jr.:  No Regrets On Libya

Libyan instability today is from a lack of postwar peacekeeping, not a failure of intervention.   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Walter Trkla:  Health Care Is A Human Right Not A Privilege

A Canadian's point of view on the United States' health care system in comparison to his own and that of Sweden.   More...


Harvey E. Whitney, Jr.:  Education, Academia, The Job Market

Poor business decisions have repercussions not only on the job market, but on academia and education as well.   More...


Michael Barker:  The Austerity Of Charity

An investigation of the key role played by the ruling class in the British charitable sector.   More...


Arts & Culture

Jonah Raskin:  Interview with Novelist Beverly Gologorsky

Jonah Raskin interviews novelist, feminist, and activist Beverly Gologorsky.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Peter Byrne:  The Queen's Poet

Does the world need another Tennyson biography? More than we need more teachers teaching creative writing...   More...



Jonah Raskin:  Next Stop: France

The author thinks back on 40 years of trips to France as he prepares for yet another, still with much anticipation.   More...



David Francis:  The Phone Friend

In the digital, social media age, friends take on a new and distant meaning.   More...


Multilingual Poetry

Guido Monte:  War and children

Another poem about war by Guido Monte, with an illustration by Nadine Kaadan.   More...


Letters to the Editor


Michael Barker takes exception with Manuel García, Jr.'s dream for a green future under capitalism, aligning himself instead with the Marxist ecology of John Bellamy Foster.   More...


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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
URL: http://www.swans.com/library/past_issues/2013/131104.html
Created: November 4, 2013