25 December 2006
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN
Dear President Ahmadinejad:
Thank you very much for your 29 November 2006 letter to the American people. Your greeting to us in the name of the Compassionate One deserves a reply, and this is the reply of just another cattle, as the ancients used to say of our likeness, for whatever it’s worth.
In your previous letter you threw the holy book at President Bush, and I hoped that he, professedly a Christian, would throw it right back at you instead of summarily dismissing your communication. As far as I am concerned, good news should be harkened to regardless of its source, even if that source were the fallen angel, the very monotheist whose love of god was so fanatical that he hated humankind. For if the gospel comes even from the mouth of Satan, there is still hope for the conversion of all to the love of truth and the truth of love.
Your address to President Bush virtually indicted him for hypocrisy, and now your letter to the American people elaborates on the ills of maladministration. Please rest assured that we the people of the United States are more familiar with the hypocrisy of our leaders than you are, just as your people know you better than we do. If only we knew one another better, and realized the hypocrisy of our perspectives, our deeds might better live up to our ideals. For hypocrisy, the underlying crisis of human existence, is not unique to an individual or group, but is found in all.
So we have ourselves to fear even more than our leaders. Now that the war in Iraq is going badly for the administration, many Americans blame their president and his administration, just as you have done; in fact, your letter could well have been written by an American. But when Americans wanted revenge and were confident that they were righteous in their military might, a small minority of Americans pointed out that it was not President Bush who was so dangerous, but rather the American people who supported his pre-emptive war. That war was initiated contrary to the traditional Christian principle for just war, because there was at least a “ten-percent chance” that the enemy chosen had done or was plotting evil against the world’s sole superpower; and that justification was good enough for Americans who feared for their way of life in contrast to the miseries of other peoples.
President Ahmadinejad, you must know, if your intelligence serves you well, that many Americans really did not give a damn, as long as their great nation appeared to be winning the war, whether or not Iraq’s administration had weapons of mass destruction or was collaborating with the Islamist terrorists who attacked the United States: those were merely the pretexts for the war urgently wanted. Some politicians have said that lies must be told in a democracy, given its conflicting factions, to get the majority to do anything great. The supporters of the war policy who believed the pretexts for war were false still believed they were doing the right thing, although the base principle of their action was in important respects contrary to the higher principles they learned to profess in churches and schools.
And you, President Ahmadinejad, do you have ulterior motives as well? Are you a hypocrite? Do you consider yourself immune to the charge of hypocrisy in Iran? Is it not the duty of all People of the Book to expose hypocrisy? The Greeks called actors hypocrites, but Jewish scholars made the term derogatory, and called each other hypocrites; and Christians took up the word with a vengeance, and called the Jews and themselves hypocrites; and Muslims relished the word as well – if it were not for hypocrisy, we would have fewer world religions today. At least in that sense people can thank God that we are all hypocrites instead of honest-to-god Tamerlanes who would pile up towers of skulls to the highest heavens.
In your letter to President Bush, you asked why the state of Israel was forced on Philistinia because of the Holocaust, the massive pogrom you have denied the existence of because you would deny Israel its existence. Quite frankly, President Ahmadinejad, your denial of the Holocaust makes you appear to be either a fool or a liar to the American people whom you now address, a materialistically minded people who distrust anyone who denies an incontrovertible fact that anyone can easily verify. Indeed, your insistence on behalf of your nation that the Holocaust never occurred is beyond outrageous, and makes a laughingstock out of Iran in the eyes of the world. The few Americans who deny the Holocaust are considered to be liars, “nutcases”, “wackos”, “screwballs”, and “flakes” in the United States. That is not to insult the genuinely mental ill, for those who do not perceive reality are delusional and deserving of treatment.
But your question at least allows for the Holocaust, for you say you think it wrong for Philistinia to be intruded on for the horror done in Europe. It does seem like some Europeans wanted to get rid of their guilt for the Holocaust along with Jews, hence they were glad to see so many Jews packed off to Philistinia, and they used the Holocaust as an excuse for their removal, as if it would compensate the Jews for the wrongs done to them. So you ask a pertinent historical question: Why should our people suffer for a wrong even presumably committed elsewhere? But the deeds right and wrong are done. Israel exists as a state. We must accept that fact just as we have accepted the fact of the pogroms against Jews throughout history, along with other facts such as the fact that hundreds of thousands of Iranians martyred themselves in the fratricidal fight against Iraqis – studies in the United States indicate that most of our domestic violence is committed against relatives.
Yes, it is a fact the United States supports Israel. Jewish states have always depended on great powers for their brief existence; and it is a fact that many people have suffered at the hands of imperialism. Men have always dreamed of empire, and they believe that the world will be secured under one imperial order. Several empires have been realized in fact, including the Iranian Empire, but we know that all empires shall fail someday: only Allah is permanent. And empires shall fall even the sooner, or so we hope, wherever injustice presides; as you said: “As all prophets have taught us, injustice and transgression will eventually bring about decline and demise.” But seemingly evil empires have persisted for so long that some people believe that evil is a virtue if not necessary to it.
In any case, if the parties concerned with these matters proceed to draw lists of wrongs done to one another in the national interest of their respective nations or any other interest for that matter, there shall be no end to the tallies of wrongs and grievances to be revenged according to the talion principle, wherefore the long tale of woe shall continue apace.
Instead of listing wrongs, why don’t we draw up lists of the best things to do for the common good, and do each one of them? For one thing, let us make a good deal with the Zionists. I like many Americans am sick and tired of the “Jewish Thing” and the Jewish Question” and the griping about the “Zionists” and how the United States administration supports Zionism because, as you wrote, the Jews “have imposed themselves on a substantial portion of the banking, financial, cultural and media centers.” Well, your culture and my culture are fundamentally Jewish whether we like ourselves or not, and in that sense we are all Jews whether we are the heads of financial institutions, media moguls, or dirt farmers. I do not believe that the Israel is at the root of the conflict in the Middle East. Groundless hatred or self-hatred is the root of the evil. The Israeli state is a pretext for hating thy neighbor as thou hates thyself. And Israel too is a state capable of doing much greater good than the evils it has done; the failure of its neighbors to take advantage of that fact at this point would be a grave mistake. Your pleading for the destruction of Israel is like urging people to destroy the goose that lays golden eggs, or like instructing children to kill their patriarchs.
You may know that a famous American movie star got drunk during the recent holocaustic bombing of Lebanon and said that Jews were starting all the wars; he was condemned for being anti-Jewish; and he said he was very sorry. At the risk of being called an anti-Christian, anti-Muslim, anti-Semite, I say that the People of the Book are causing the major bloody conflicts, and that they ought to embrace each other in anguish for what they have caused people to suffer and hang their heads in shame together three times a day.
Christianity and Islam are Jewish religions. Are these religions rooted in murderous hatred and the need to assuage bloodguilt? Good grief, is there nothing right to these religions at all, are they merely pretexts for hostility? Is the love of which they speak hate-based group-love? Is not the contempt the religiously shown for one another self-contempt? Cannot they rise above it and do one another some good? If not, what good are the world religions to the world?
I believe we the people can aspire to the universal love alluded to in the sacred portions of the holy books. I believe that we can join forces in that love, much to our profit in all senses. It is to that end that I recommend you to the next prophet. Although my people and your people are two peoples, neither can be a people without the other. Our verbal intercourse makes us of one flesh and bone, whether for good or evil ends. Although flesh and even bone are superficial, our body is the platform of spiritual expression. Our struggle must not be against our flesh and bone, but against the demonic forces that would drag us all into the pit before our time. Therefore may we lay aside the falsehood that cloaks the truth, and recover the fallen sparks into the Sun that illuminates the slightness of our differences and the forgiving nature of universal love. May we plant an evergreen tree to remind us of our origin, a tree of life grounded in love, adorned by the lights of eternal wisdom, and crowned by the guiding star. It is with that star in mind that I wish you and your people a Merry Christmas.
David Arthur Walters