Personal Voices: Letter to the President

This letter was sent to the White House on April 15 by Jarmila Temelova, an immigrant from what was then Communist Czechoslovakia. The text is unedited.

President Bush:

Twenty-one years ago I lived in communist Czechoslovakia. In order to hear news rather than propaganda and lies, I used to listen Voice of America secretly in the middle of night. I am US citizen now and very proud of it. And I am horrified to see what is happening to this great country under your leadership. In order to hear news, instead of propaganda and misinformation, I listen to independent radio every day and wonder how long will it take before I will have to do it secretly in the middle of night again? Isn't it ironic Mr. President that I am in America listening to Voice of America!

In Czechoslovakia as I remember it, we had freedom of speech, but life got very complicated after the speech. So whenever I hear the slogan: "Who is not with us is against us," that has become so popular in the last few months, it gives me shivers. It was one of the most frequently used slogans of the communist government. The implied and feared continuation of this quote was "we will deal with him/her accordingly."

With the adoption of so-called "Patriot Act," legislation that is supposed to protect us, and now the introduction of "Patriot Act II," I see our civil liberties beginning to slip away. Please Mr. President, prove my fears unfounded! Because this too reminds me of the past. Those minefields and high voltage fences were also there for our protection from foreign enemies. I had my doubts then, just as I do now.

Mr. President, I appreciate and admire your religious commitment, but please keep it to yourself. Religion has great potential to turn a decent human being into a better one. But results from a fanaticism and the misuse of it are still too fresh in our memories. I might be wrong, but I really think Christian fanatics are just as dangerous as Islamic ones.

Mr. President, please don't act like we are the last generation of humans on Earth and you have God given right to destroy her. I don't have my own children, but my primary concern and goal of me life is to leave this planet livable for yours!

Jarmila Temelova

PS: Now that the war in Iraq is almost over, please make sure history will not be repeated. You see, a strange thing happens to textbooks when one country dominates another.

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