The president of a country, Iran, with a population of over 68 millions, and sitting on a huge lake of oil [and a country that's been around pretty much intact for about 4 thousand years], sends a diplomatic letter to the so-called leader of the free world, and what does he get? Basically, a slap in the face. So what was in the letter, you ask, some kind of insult?
Well, if you don't have access to the Internet, as more than half of Americans do not, then you'd never know what was in that letter that Condi Rice, for one, dismissed as "offering nothing new," one would be hard pressed to underwstand why Bush chose to ignore what is basically an attempt at reproachment.
Here's part of the text, translated by Agence France Press, and posted at Hindustani Times, of all places.
Text of Ahmadinejad's letter to Bush
Washington, May 9, 2006
Iran's foreign ministry on Tuesday said it was waiting for a response from US President George W. Bush to a surprise letter sent by the Islamic republic's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Here is the text of the letter:
Mr George Bush,
President of the United States of America
For sometime now I have been thinking, how one can justify the undeniable contradictions that exist in the international arena -- which are being constantly debated, especially in political forums and amongst university students. Many questions remain unanswered. These have prompted me to discuss some of the contradictions and questions, in the hopes that it might bring about an opportunity to redress them.
Can one be a follower of Jesus Christ (PBUH), the great Messenger of God,
Feel obliged to respect human rights,
Present liberalism as a civilization model,
Announce one's opposition to the proliferation of nuclear weapons and WMDs,
Make "War and Terror" his slogan, And finally,
Work towards the establishment of a unified international community -- a community which Christ and the virtuous of the Earth will one day govern,
But at the same time,
Have countries attacked. The lives, reputations and possessions of people destroyed and on the slight chance of the presence of a few criminals in a village, city or convoy for example, the entire village, city or convoy set ablaze.
Or because of the possibility of the existence of WMDs in one country, it is occupied, around one hundred thousand people killed, its water sources, agriculture and industry destroyed, close to 180,000 foreign troops put on the ground, sanctity of private homes of citizens broken, and the country pushed back perhaps fifty years. At what price? Hundreds of billions of dollars spent from the treasury of one country and certain other countries and tens of thousands of young men and women -- as occupation troops -- put in harm's way, taken away from family and loved ones, their hands stained with the blood of others, subjected to so much psychological pressure that every day some commit suicide and those returning home suffer depression, become sickly and grapple with all sorts of ailments; while some are killed and their bodies handed to their families.
On the pretext of the existence of WMDs, this great tragedy came to engulf both the peoples of the occupied and the occupying country. Later it was revealed that no WMDs existed to begin with.
Of course, Saddam was a murderous dictator. But the war was not waged to topple him, the announced goal of the war was to find and destroy weapons of mass destruction. He was toppled along the way towards another goal; nevertheless the people of the region are happy about it. I point out that throughout the many years of te imposed war on Iran, Saddam was supported by the West.
Later it was revealed that no WMDs existed to begin with. Of course Saddam was a murderous dictator. But the war was not waged to topple him, the announced goal of the war was to find and destroy weapons of mass destruction. He was toppled along the way towards another goal, nevertheless the people of the region are happy about it. I point out that throughout the many years of the ? war on Iran Saddam was supported by the West.
September Eleven was a horrendous incident. The killing of innocents is deplorable and appalling in any part of the world. Our government immediately declared its disgust with the perpetrators and offered its condolences to the bereaved and expressed its sympathies.
All governments have a duty to protect the lives, property and good standing of their citizens. Reportedly your government employs extensive security, protection and intelligence systems -- and even hunts its opponents abroad. September Eleven was not a simple operation. Could it be planned and executed without coordination with intelligence and security services -- or their extensive infiltration? Of course this is just an educated guess. Why have the various aspects of the attacks been kept secret? Why are we not told who botched their responsibilities? And, why aren't those responsible and the guilty parties identified and put on trial?
All governments have a duty to provide security and peace of mind for their citizens. For some years now, the people of your country and neighbors of world trouble spots do not have peace of mind. After 9/11, instead of healing and tending to the emotional wounds of the survivors and the American people -- who had been immensely traumatized by the attacks -- some Western media only intensified the climates of fear and insecurity -- some constantly talked about the possibility of new terror attacks and kept the people in fear. Is that service to the American people? Is it possible to calculate the damages incurred from fear and panic?
American citizens lived in constant fear of fresh attacks that could come at any moment and in any place. They felt insecure in the streets, in their place of work and at home. Who would be happy with this situation? Why was the media, instead of conveying a feeling of security and providing peace of mind, giving rise to a feeling of insecurity?
Again I need to refer to the role of media.
In media charters, correct dissemination of information and honest reporting of a story are established tenets.
I express my deep regret about the disregard shown by certain Western media for these principles.
Some believe that the hype paved the way -- and was the justification -- for an attack on Afghanistan. Again I need to refer to the role of media. In media charters, correct dissemination of information and honest reporting of a story are established tenets. I express my deep regret about the disregard shown by certain Western media for these principles. The main pretext for an attack on Iraq was the existence of WMDs. This was repeated incessantly -- for the public to finally believe -- and the ground set for an attack on Iraq.
Will the truth not be lost in a contrived and deceptive climate? Again, if the truth is allowed to be lost, how can that be reconciled with the earlier mentioned values? Is the truth known to the Almighty lost as well?
More at : LINK
Update: I've read some of the comments by our more cynical friends (LGF, et al), and really don't see where Prez A. is calling for Bush to convert to Islam, but maybe as a non-diplomat, I'm having trouble reading between the lines. Anyhoo, reader bothenook has pointed out that there is a more, ah, liberal translation available here.