My letter to Ahmadinejad
A letter I would have written on behalf of President Bush
May 9, 2006
As many of you know, Ahmadinejad has recently sent a letter to President Bush discussing, amongst other things, the occupation of Palestine, nuclear technology, the war in Iraq, all of which with references to the teachings of Christ and Moses. Just by reading the letter it is clear that its message objective was not intended for reapproachment. I'm not even sure if it was intended to sincerely guide Bush.
Thus, one is left with two alternative objectives: 1) its either intended to mock the US president and point out inconsistencies in his policy and faith, or 2) intended to articulate Ahmadinejad's policy position to the Western word, by which the letter was simply intended to fan the media. I'm intended to believe in the latter position then the former, although both objectives clearly could have been in mind.
That being put aside, here's a letter I would have written on behalf of President Bush:
Dear President Ahmadinejad,
Thank you very much for your lengthy letter. For the sake of argument lets say that everything you say is true. Lets admit that the my administration has committed the crimes in which you have mentioned. My question to you, is how this justifies the repression of human rights and democracy in which your administration, your government and your supporters actively engage in.
You say that you are a peace-loving man. You campaigned for greater social freedoms. And yet your government represses the very people which seek to make it grow. Is there any doubt that had your government allowed a fair and free election wherein over 95% of electoral candidates would not have been vetted due to their disagreements with your conservative establishment, that there is no doubt whatsoever that you would not be sitting as President today.
Why do your youth flock toward my country for education and opportunity? Why do your youth seek greater freedoms and state their love for American values? Why do your youth continously object toward your regime? You attack my government's foreign policy and I thank you for that. But is it not ironic that if someone in your country had leveled the same criticism against your government as you have done against mine, that they would have been tortured and sent to jail.
Is it not ironic that had someone in your society openly attacked your government for human rights abuses and for not comporting with the religious values you assume to possess, that they would be sitting in Evin and possibly facing the death penalty as was the case with Saleh Nikbakht, Akbar Ganji, and now possibly Ramin Jahanbegloo? If I was to write the names of all those who have been innocently tortured and imprisoned by your government and under your leadership the pages would exceed number of pages devoted toward outlining your revolution.
President Ahmadinejad, your opponents, your dissidents, and your critics have been heralded as heros. Is that not the greatest testament to the atrocities so many feel are being committed by your regime?
I ask you, was it not Prophet Mohammad who preached tolerance for people of different faiths? And yet your government continues to disenfranchise, torture, and discriminate against Bahais? Was it not the Prophet who emphasized the importance of free speech and thought? And yet countless newspapers have been shut down, numerous bloggers and journalists have been imprisoned, and your intellectuals are being silenced and beaten.
Was it not Prophet Mohammad who called for humility, compassion, and forgiveness? And yet children face the death penalty in your country. Was it the Prophet Mohammad who called for free exercise of religion? And yet your government compels the practice of religion, interpreted by a authoritarian few.
Lastly, was it not the Prophet Mohammad who emphasized equality between the sexes? And yet your women are treated as second-class citizens. Can one be a follower of the Prophet Mohammad, the great Messenger of God, while committing and condoning these atrocities?
Once again, thank you for your comments. Your letter reflects the same "azadi" of thought and opinion which the world only waits and hopes your government will fully recognize and deliver to your people.
May peace be with you,
President George W. Bush,
United States of America
Nema Milaninia is a law student at UC Hastings College of Law, executive editor of the International Studies Journal, and editor of the group blog IranianTruth.com