Thank you, President Bush
11 March 2003
© Translated from the Portuguese
(Brazil) by Margaret Jull Costa
*Copyright 2003 by Paulo Coelho
"...Thank you for allowing us - an army of
anonymous people to know what it feels like to be
powerless and to learn to grapple with that feeling
and transform it. Thank you,
because, without you, we would not have realised our
own ability to mobilise. Thank you for not listening
to us and not taking us seriously, but know that we
are listening to you and that we will not forget your
words. So, enjoy your morning and whatever glory it
may yet bring you. Thank you, great leader George W.
you, great leader George W. Bush.
Thank you for showing everyone what a danger Saddam
Hussein represents. Many of us might otherwise have
forgotten that he had used chemical weapons against his
own people, against the Kurds and against the Iranians.
Hussein is a bloodthirsty dictator and one of the
clearest expressions of evil in today's world.
But this is not my only reason for thanking you.
During the first two months of 2003, you have shown the
world a great many other important things and,
therefore, deserve my gratitude.
So, remembering a poem I learned as a child, I want
to say thank you.
Thank you for showing everyone that the Turkish
people and their Parliament are not for sale, not even
for 26 billion dollars.
Thank you for revealing to the world the gulf that
exists between the decisions made by those in power and
the wishes of the people. Thank you for making it clear
that neither José María Aznar nor Tony Blair
give the slightest weight to or show the slightest
respect for the votes they received. Aznar is perfectly
capable of ignoring the fact that 90% of Spaniards are
against the war, and Blair is unmoved by the largest
public demonstration to take place in England in the
last thirty years.
Thank you for making it necessary for Tony Blair to
go to the British Parliament with a fabricated dossier
written by a student ten years ago, and present this as
'damning evidence collected by the British Secret
Thank you for allowing Colin Powell to make a
complete fool of himself by showing the UN Security
Council photos which, one week later, were publicly
challenged by Hans Blix, the Inspector responsible for
Thank you for adopting your current position and
thus ensuring that, at the plenary session, the French
Foreign Minister, Dominique de Villepin's anti-war
speech was greeted with applause - something, as far as
I know, that has only happened once before in the
history of the UN, following a speech by Nelson
Thank you too, because, after all your efforts to
promote war, the normally divided Arab nations, at
their meeting in Cairo during the last week in
February, were, for the first time, unanimous in their
condemnation of any invasion.
Thank you for your rhetoric stating that 'the UN now
has a chance to demonstrate its relevance', a statement
which made even the most reluctant countries take up a
position opposing any attack on Iraq.
Thank you for your foreign policy which provoked the
British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, into declaring
that in the 21st century, 'a war can have a moral
justification', thus causing him to lose all
Thank you for trying to divide a Europe that is
currently struggling for unification; this was a
warning that will not go unheeded.
Thank you for having achieved something that very
few have so far managed to do in this century: the
bringing together of millions of people on all
continents to fight for the same idea, even though that
idea is opposed to yours.
Thank you for making us feel once more that though
our words may not be heard, they are at least spoken -
this will make us stronger in the future.
Thank you for ignoring us, for marginalising all
those who oppose your decision, because the future of
the Earth belongs to the excluded.
Thank you, because, without you, we would not have
realised our own ability to mobilise. It may serve no
purpose this time, but it will doubtless be useful
Now that there seems no way of silencing the drums
of war, I would like to say, as an ancient European
king said to an invader: 'May your morning be a
beautiful one, may the sun shine on your soldiers'
armour, for in the afternoon, I will defeat you.'
Thank you for allowing us - an army of anonymous
people filling the streets in an attempt to stop a
process that is already underway - to know what it
feels like to be powerless and to learn to grapple with
that feeling and transform it.
So, enjoy your morning and whatever glory it may yet
Thank you for not listening to us and not taking us
seriously, but know that we are listening to you and
that we will not forget your words.
Thank you, great leader George W. Bush.
Thank you very much.