An Open Letter to the 265 Individuals Who Endorsed Akbar Ganji’s Open Letter

Noticing that the August 12 "Open Letter to the UN Secretary General" by the Iranian expatriate Akbar Ganji was joined by at least 264 endorsers, I can’t help but wonder what percentage of these 265 individuals would endorse an open letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that made a similar series of strong operative demands as does Ganji’s Letter, but made them about the United States of America, instead of the Islamic Republic of Iran? 

Of course, Ganji’s Points 1 – 6 can be rewritten in numerous meaningful ways to fine-tune them towards the United States America, and away from the Islamic Republic of Iran.  My draft is merely one from among the many possible alternatives.

Nevertheless.  I’ve undertaken this kind of exercise in the past.  So here we go again.

Let’s therefore call mine An Open Letter to the 265 Individuals Who Endorsed Akbar Ganji’s Open Letter to the UN Secretary-General.

We, intellectuals, political activists, and defenders of democratic rights and liberties beseech the Secretary-General to heed the call of the world’s peoples, and take immediate and urgent action by:

1) Forming an ad hoc international criminal tribunal to examine the evidence relating to U.S. crimes under the UN Charter, treaty, and customary international law with respect to the former Serbian province of Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Iran (etc.);

2) Pressuring the United Nations to annul all elections in all territories conquered by the United States and its allies by force until such time as these states withdraw from those territories;

3) Pressuring the U.S. government and its allies to relinquish their control of all territories they have conquered by force since 1999; 

4) Pressuring the U.S. government to free all non-U.S. nationals that it has detained over the course of its past decade of aggressive wars (1999-), in whichever country they were originally detained, and regardless of pretext of reason;

5) Pressuring the U.S. government to stop its harsh and barbaric treatment of the people of Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Iran (etc.);

6) Refuse to recognize the U.S. government’s criminal threats and uses of force in the world, and curtailing any and all forms of cooperation with the U.S. government by all states and international organizations.

Remember: This is not a criticism of Ganji et al. for voicing the concerns that they do with respect to circumstances inside Iran (i.e., chiefly, that Iran’s national political life is structurally disenfranchised, if not depoliticized; and that the June 12 presidential election was rigged, so that the official results deserved to be overturned, and no foreign state should recognize them). —

And I say this, notwithstanding the fact that I believe that some of Ganji’s points are problematic — for example, his assertion that the official declaration of victory for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad means that the Iranian people’s "free choice was rejected" (para. 4), that the official results were "fraudulent" (Point 2), and that the Ahmadinejad victory is "illegitimate" and the product of an "electoral coup" (Point 6).  All of these assertions are contentious, I recognize.  But my point is that they still need to be shown, and not merely asserted.

Rather, my purpose is (Can I say?) to create a thought-experiment, one which asks how many of this same collection as Ganji’s 265 signatories (Ganji included) would endorse a hypothetical letter similar to the one I’ve just outlined above, and how many of these 265 individuals would high-tail-it-for-the-hills if asked to sign it? 

All in all, a very interesting thought-experiment, it seems to me.

"An Open Letter to the UN Secretary General," Akbar Ganji, Boston Review, September/October, 2009 (dated August 12, 2009)

"An Open Letter on an Open Letter on Darfur," David Peterson, ZNet, April 17, 2007

"Riding the ‘Green Wave’ at the Campaign for Peace and Democracy and Beyond," Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, Electric Politics, July 23, 2009

"Reply to the Campaign For Peace and Democracy," Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, MRZine, August 3, 2009


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