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Iran's Khatami publishes text of address to Hiroshima's InterAction Council after travel ban

Source: Seyyed Mohammad Khatami's official Website

Following the ban imposed on Seyyed Mohammad Khatami, former president, from travelling to Japan to participate in the 28th Annual Meeting of the InterAction Council in Hiroshima, transcript of the speech he was supposed to give was published by his official website

Seyyed Mohammad Khatami

In the Name of God

Hiroshima is not only a city in Japan; it also invokes painful memories of human suffering. It warns of the fate of humans and what they have endured.

In the last moments of the Second World War, Hiroshima and also Nagasaki were destroyed by atomic bombs and their innocent residents perished and suffered in the most heart-wrenching manner. The effects of the pain and suffering from that catastrophe are still evident today.

It is unbelievable that this unbearable catastrophe occurred in Japan. A Japan whose intellectual language is that of poetry, a poetry which beautifully portrays vivid and natural metaphors and conveys the inner sentiments of humans. Coexistence and compassion with nature, affection for mountains, clouds, wind, rain, flowers and the pure spirit of humans is rarely seen in other cultures and languages as it is seen in language and culture of the Japanese.

It is natural that the Japanese would be more worried about the loss of the refreshing sense of life-the season of spring, pouring of the waterfalls, and beautiful blossoms-and incineration of humans, who are also a greater and beautiful part of nature. This is especially the case since Japan has had the bitter and painful experience of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The presence of the InterAction Council in Hiroshima is not only a homage to the innocent people who were incinerated in the fires stoked by arrogant killers, but is also a recognition of the efforts of transforming a world full of cruelty, discrimination, violence, oppression and injustice to a world in which all humans are valued and war and violence give way to compassion, cooperation and coexistence between all humans.

What happened in Hiroshima in 1945 was an unprecedented disaster in the history of humanity. Even though this history is filled with wars, destruction and bloodshed, but this time the scope of the disaster was not comparable to what had ever happened until that day.

Shortly after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki disasters, the other 'superpower' of the time, meaning the former Soviet Union, conducted its first nuclear test. After that, the whole world was placed in a bipolar order in which both poles had based their relationship with others on force and were armed with a weapon that was becoming more destructive and terrifying by the day. It was not long before the nuclear reserves of the two super powers - which were later joined by a few other countries - reached such a level that it was capable of destroying the planet several times over.

After that, the Cold War covered the world in a fog of horrified shock and military alliances revolving around the nuclear powers cast over the entire world a shadow more horrifying than the mushroom cloud cast over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the remaining superpower, under the illusion of unrivaled invincibility, continued to spread the shadow of fear over the world. As a result from the end of the Cold War until now, we have witnessed many times its costly interventions in different countries and its continued striving to impose its will on the world, and even going so far as to threaten to use nuclear and chemical weapons. Military intervention, coup d'├ętats (that were also seen during the Cold War), unilateral imposition of their will on others and an empty claim to be the leader of the free world are all examples of the unpleasant situation which all humans have been confronted with.

On the other hand we have witnessed an exacerbation of a dangerous phenomenon which is no less worrying and destructive than the atomic bomb. This phenomenon is terrorism, especially in its most recent horrifying forms. This has also given the current arrogant powers an excuse to further aggravate and deepen the crisis the world finds itself in.

What is missing in today's world is peace and compassion-a peace that has been the desire of all great peacemakers in history and the aim of the calling of great prophets and the essence of cultures and civilizations. The Holy Quran invites all believers into the realm of peace. Peace with oneself, peace with others, peace with the world and with nature. Is it not that the book of Isaiah the Prophet caresses the soul of all peace-loving people with its statement that "He will judge amongst the tribes and chastise many tribes and they will break their swords for ploughs and their spears for saws. One tribe will not pull a sword on another and there will no longer be wars."

And, as I mentioned before, is it not the Japanese culture, especially with its combination of Buddhist and Shinto values, that plays the sweetest song of peace?

There are not many words that resonate as strongly and are as emotionally fulfilling as peace. However, in reality, what has prevailed in history has been conflict, war and insecurity. In modern times, especially with incredible technological achievements which when used by powers who see the good of humanity in their unquestioned and unchallenged domination of the world, this situation has worsened.

Fear of war and concern for peace is nothing new. Great religions have called for peace and have condemned war, and in modern times the great figures who have denounced war are not few. Immanuel Kant, the great German philosopher, in his famous work entitled "Zum ewigen Frieden" (Perpetual Peace) states that: "Kings who use their soldiers in offensive wars for their own grandeur or territorial expansion are using intelligent beings as mere tools for the attainment of their desired goal". In Kant's view, standing armies ready for battle must be abolished with time, because hiring human beings for killing and being killed requires that they become mere tools in the hand of governments. This does not sit well with human rights, which recognizes the absolute value of intelligent beings in and of themselves.
However, despite these wishes and ideals war still exists and we have not even taken positive steps towards eliminating the most horrific weapons that humans have created. Peace needs peace-loving spirits and more than ever before we need our rulers to be endowed with this virtue. In any event we are to take practical steps in this direction which is the world expectation from such an important body as the InterAction Council.

I would like permission to express my proposal for making the role of the Council more influential. In 2001, I made the proposal for the Dialogue among Civilizations, which was met with great fondness in the international community. It was intended to reduce the commotion of "Clash of Civilizations" which had particularly arisen after the September 11th catastrophe, at a time when warmongers were using misleading labels to create alliances for war, before the General Assembly of the United Nations I make a proposal for an alliance for peace based on justice, as a complementary theory to the Dialogue among Civilizations. Here I would like to reiterate my belief that peace is a fruit which will only grow on the tree of justice. And until justice-whether on the national arena and in the treatment of governments of its own people or on the international arena-is absent we cannot expect real peace to take hold. Perceived stability which is brought about by fear and oppression will not be lasting and it will only result in the increasing of resentment and hatred and depravation of humans of all their deserved rights and integrity. In the international arena a peace that is based on the destructive force of devastating weapons and policies of occupation and repression and sanctions will not bear any result except creating ever more distance between nations and grounds for breeding violence and terrorism. One of the most important reasons that the various proposals for peace have failed is that they do not pay enough attention to the factor of justice.

This proposal for an alliance for peace was not given its due the attention in the commotion of violence and anger prevailing at that time. But now, in this gathering of well-intentioned and internationally respected figures, I will repeat this proposal and announce that the Foundation for Dialogue among Civilizations is ready to undertake comprehensive analysis of this issue and call upon the thoughts and experiences of experts to prepare a plan in this field so that after it is considered in the meetings of next year it can be codified as a charter and presented to the United Nations and other important and influential international organizations and associations in Europe, Asia, Africa and America as well as within parliaments so that it will be given enforcement mechanisms. The strong backing of the InterAction Council will ensure that such a proposal will be accepted by the relevant organizations and institutions.
The Middle East is rightfully considered the most crises prone region in the world. In this regard our proposal has been that the world's nuclear disarmament can start from the Middle East. Today there are nuclear arsenals in this region and nuclear warheads are stored in the some of the region's countries by some military alliances, which have added to the threat and concern. The Council can prepare a proposal for a Nuclear-Free Middle East in a committee and take on the responsibility of its implementation on behalf of the United Nations and international community.

... Payvand News - 04/19/10 ... --

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