A Catalogue of Questions for Global Leaders
Can you guess to which world leader this governing philosophy can be attributed?
1. Did we manage to bring peace, security and prosperity for the people or insecurity and unemployment?
2. Did we intend to establish justice, or just support special interest groups, and by forcing many people to live in poverty and hardship, make a few people rich and powerful — thus trading the approval of the people and the Almighty with theirs'?
3. Did we defend the rights of the underprivileged or ignore them?
4. Did we defend the rights of all people around the world or impose wars on them, interfere illegally in their affairs, establish hellish prisons and incarcerate some of them?
5. Did we bring the world peace and security or raise the specter of intimidation and threats?
6. Did we tell the truth to our nation and others around the world or present an inverted version of it?
7. Were we on the side of people or the occupiers and oppressors?
8. Did our administration set out to promote rational behavior, logic, ethics, peace, fulfilling obligations, justice, service to the people, prosperity, progress and respect for human dignity — or the force of guns, intimidation, insecurity, disregard for the people, delaying progress and excellence of other nations, and trample on people's rights?
9. How long must the people of the world pay for the incorrect decisions of some rulers?
10. How much longer will the specter of insecurity — raised from the stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction — hunt the people of the world?
11. How much longer will the blood of the innocent men, women and children be spilled on the streets, and people's houses be destroyed over their heads?
12. If billions of dollars spent on security, military campaigns and troop movement were instead spent on investment and assistance for poor countries, promotion of health, combating different diseases, education and improvement of mental and physical fitness, assistance to the victims of natural disasters, creation of employment opportunities and production, development projects and poverty alleviation, establishment of peace, mediation between disputing states and distinguishing the flames of racial, ethnic and other conflicts, where would the world be today?
13. If prophet Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Ishmael, Joseph or Jesus Christ (PBUH) were with us today, how would they judge such behavior?
14. Is there no better way to interact with the rest of the world? Today there are hundreds of millions of Christians, hundreds of millions of Moslems and millions of people who follow the teachings of Moses (PBUH). All divine religions share and respect one word and that is "monotheism" or belief in a single God and no other in the world. All prophets, speak of peace and tranquillity for man — based on monotheism, justice and respect for human dignity.
15. Do you not think that if all of us come to believe in and abide by these principles, that is, monotheism, worship of God, justice, respect for the dignity of man, belief in the Last Day, we can overcome the present problems of the world — which are the result of disobedience to the Almighty and the teachings of prophets — and improve our performance?
16. Do you not think that belief in these principles promotes and guarantees peace, friendship and justice?
17. Do you not think that the aforementioned written or unwritten principles are universally respected?
18. Can one deny the signs of change in the world today?
19. Is this situation of the world today comparable to that of ten years ago? Changes happen fast and comes at a furious pace.
The people of the world are not happy with the status quo and pay little heed to the promises and comments made by a number of influential world leaders. Many people around the world feel insecure and oppose the spreading of insecurity and war and do not approve of or accept dubious policies.
The people are protesting the increasing gap between the haves and the have-nots and the rich and poor countries. The people are disgusted with increasing corruption. The people of many countries are angry about the attacks on their cultural foundations and the disintegration of families.
They are equally dismayed with the fading of care and compassion. The people of the world have no faith in international organizations, because their rights are not advocated by these organizations.
Liberalism and Western style democracy have not been able to help realize the ideals of humanity. Today, these two concepts have failed. Those with insight can already hear the sounds of the shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the liberal democratic systems.
We increasingly see that people around the world are flocking towards a main focal point — that is, the Almighty God. Undoubtedly through faith in God and the teachings of the prophets, the people will conquer their problems.
My question for you is: "Do you not want to join them?" Whether we like it or not, the world is gravitating towards faith in the Almighty and justice and the will of God will prevail over all things.
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Editor's note: All of the questions and statements above are excerpted verbatim from an 18-page letter which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent to U.S. President George W. Bush on May 9, 2006. It represents the first communication from an Iranian president to his U.S. counterpart since the 1979 Iranian revolution and subsequent break-off in diplomatic relations between the two countries.