Elaph.com, one of the Arab world’s leading online newspapers, recently asked its readers to send goodbye letters to President George W. Bush. The 136 responses were colorful, emotional, and angry, but also demonstrated—surprisingly—a higher regard for the outgoing president than most polls in the Arab world. In fact, a slight majority were more disposed to throw roses than shoes at Bush, praising him for his courage in toppling Saddam Hussein and his opposition to Syrian occupation of Lebanon.
For example, Walid al-Sweidy wrote: “God bless you, Mr. Bush. freedom-maker and king of democracy.” While Leena S. said simply: “Mr. Bush, goodbye, and go to hell.”
“You have spilled the blood of 4,000 American young people, and wasted a trillion American dollars, only to give Iraq to Iran as a free present!”
“Our readers are never shy in expressing their opinions,” said Othman al-Omeir, editor-in-chief and founder of elaph.com. “President Bush has always been a frequent target of criticism, but also praise, especially from readers in Kuwait, Lebanon, and Iraq.” Many correspondents use screen names and don’t give their location. Elaph is widely read in the Arab world and the Arab diaspora, but it is regularly blocked in Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran because of its independent reporting.
Elaph.com translated a sampling of the letters exclusively for The Daily Beast, which have been arranged in two parts: “Goodbye and Good Riddance,” and “Thank you, Mr. Bush.”
Goodbye and Good Riddance
Dear Mr President
These past few years have been disastrous, all thanks to you. Wars everywhere and more terrorism. But we will miss you anyway. We will have to find someone new to curse all day and night.
Go with shame, Mr. Bush. You have been one of the worst American presidents in history. You are a liar and killer under the mask of democracy. You brought plague to the world with your policies. You overthrew Saddam and occupied Iraq and this resulted in leaders even worse than Saddam. You brought destruction, death, and incarceration to Iraqis. Is this the democracy of Bush? And on the Palestinian case, you are a racist and a blind supporter of Israel and you showed your deep hatred for all Muslims.
The best farewell to Mr. Bush was given by our dear brother Muntazar al Zaydi from Iraq, Let us not forget his shoes.
Goodbye and good riddance Mr. Bush. Please take all the rest of the Arab leaders with you.
Dear Mr. Bush, You are a deeply religious man and you supposedly worked based on those beliefs. The problem was that you were so strong against Muslim people. We'll never forget how you supported our enemies. As a result we will keep struggling against you and the foreign body you have supported called Israel.
Wow! I didn't know the extent of Iraqi people’s foolishness in their loyalty to Bush. Shame on you. If your parents had known what you will be doing and saying, they would never have brought you to life. (This was written in response to a group of Iraqi letter writers who praised Bush.)
He has gone! The great devil has gone!
Dear Mr. Bush,
I dedicate the song by Pink, "Dear Mr. President" to Mr. Bush. Listen to it the rest of your life. How will you live with your crimes? I hope you will be awakened by nightmares every night.
Thank you for the high prices you brought us! During the presidency of Bush, the prices of every thing went up: Oil, food, building materials, everything!
Dear Mr. Bush,
Allah will punish you, Bush, for what you did in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and to the whole Muslim world.
Dear Mr. President, as you are leaving power for good, I felt the urge to talk to you about the good, the bad and the ugly! The good and the beautiful thing was that you took the right and brave decision to topple Saddam Hussein, as he was the most ruthless despot in all human history. Personally, I found myself dancing in the street near my home in Baghdad! On the same day, I was hanging your picture in my home! But, everything else you did later was deeply shocking and depressing. Everything else you and your generals did in Iraq was not only a shame for Iraq, but for America and for the whole mankind! Nothing you did after April 9, 2003, was right.
The other day, I saw an Iraqi lady using dried cow dropping in cooking her food. I asked her why she was using that thing, which has not been seen in Iraq in more than 50 years. She answered me: “Ask Bush!” I didn’t know what to tell her! So I am asking you her question, although I know that you don’t have any answer to it! Look at Iraq now, Mr. President! After five years of the so-called liberation, two million Iraqis have been killed or disappeared; millions have been displaced or deported inside Iraq; three million Iraqi refugees in the neighboring countries; corruption is at the highest scale in the world with the highest levels of unemployment and poverty; security is nil; reconstruction is a bluff; dark religious parties are taking power in Iraq; Iran is influential in every small governmental office in Iraq; the American agenda in Iraq has been screwed up by Syria and Iran.
Yet, the ugliest thing in all that is that you have spilled the blood of 4000 American young people, and wasted a trillion American dollars, only to give Iraq to Iran as a free present! Now, what does your conscience tell you? Are you still proud of what you have done to us? You have no right, Mr. President, to disappear just like that and leave us to the mercy of Iran and Syria! Well! It is now too late! Unfortunately! I never imagined that the mighty US could be easily defeated by the evil axis of Iran and Syria. The only hope now is that the new American administration will reoccupy Iraq and start from scratch with new good plans and good intentions! GOD BLESS IRAQ!
Thank you, Mr. Bush
Thank you, Mr. Bush. You were courageous when you took the decision of toppling the bloody regime of Saddam. Go to the glory and eternity of history, and no consolation to the enemies of Iraq.
Bush is the best president in US history. May God bless George Bush. We love you Bush
God bless you, Mr. Bush. I am strongly opposed to the weird “culture of shoes” that lead us to celebrate shoe throwers. As for myself, I thank President Bush for helping us to achieve independence and sovereignty for Lebanon. And I thank him for standing beside us against the Syrian occupier.
Thank you President Bush for defeating Saddam Hussein. Thank you for completing the policies of your father, who dismissed Saddam from Kuwait, while you dismissed him from life. Thank you.
Ali, from Kuwait
Goodbye hero Bush. You were like a sword over the necks of the tyrants and you achieved justice in Iraq by toppling the regime of Saddam.
Dear Mr. Bush, May God be with you, You took on a huge responsibility to overthrow Saddam Hussein. No one would have done it but you. We will be unlikely to see again a strong and courageous president like you.
To President Bush, for many years to come, the common and ordinary people, the fools and the fanatics who are so certain of themselves will curse your eight years in office; they will say you are the worst president in the history of the United States of America; they will say everything you did was wrong. But sir, this is the fate of great men! On the other hand, history will show them wrong.
I thank you, Mr. President, for what you did following the 9/11 bombings, and the whole world stood side by side with you during the campaign against the Al-Qaeda terrorist group. But as for your policies in Iraq, we have many reservations because the countries of the Middle East can't cope with democracy yet due to the presence of so many ignorant people and religious terrorism. I think you should have approached democracy more gently and slowly. Regardless, I hope Mr. Obama will continue your legacy in democracy, but doing it in a step by step fashion. I also hope he will prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons even if he is obliged to use force.
Thank you, Mr. Bush. I am writing to say thank you for what you did and for what you did not do while you were the president of United States. I do not blame you for all the bad things that happened in Iraq or anywhere in the Middle East. I blame the people who do not deserve to be freed from their dictators. Too many people simply live in the past and they don’t want to change. They don’t like it, but nothing tastes better than freedom BUT not for the people who don’t have this sense of taste.
George Bush, I don’t want to say anything except thank you. Despite all the faults and mistakes committed in Iraq, I thank you for freeing us.
At least you tried, Mr. Bush. He came and he tried. Though he did not succeed, at least he moved the rotten lake.
Bush, Good bye, my love.