Swans Commentary » swans.com September 8, 2008  





T H E   W A R


by tiziano terzani





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Florence (Italy) early December 2002


Dear Friends,

the year that is about to end has been dramatic for all of us. Never before has each one of us been so unequivocally confronted with the question of war and peace. Back from a long trip into Pakistan and Afghanistan, I started the year publishing, first in Italian and then in various other European languages, a booklet dedicated to my three year-old American grandson, Novalis. The book "Letters against the war" was meant to raise questions about the way to face the situation created by the events of September 11th and to suggest that violence might no longer be the best solution for this and future conflicts of mankind.

The book was an immediate success in Italy (for 18 weeks it was among the top 10 best sellers). It was well received, reviewed and sold in France, Germany and Spain. Somehow, continental Europe with her, by now almost genetic, memory of war and destruction, seemed extremely responsive to the neo-pacifist appeal of the "Letters". Wherever I went to talk about my experiences as an old war correspondent turned "Kamikaze for peace" (this was the title of a one hour documentary by Swiss TV) big crowds gathered to listen and to discuss.

Unfortunately this was not at all the reaction of the Anglo-Saxon world, particularly of the U.K. and the U.S.A. whose governments and press have taken a very bellicose, pro-war stand. All attempts to have the "Letters" published in English failed. All the English and American publishers who has printed my previous books responded with a "No, thank you" note. I did not give up. I had the book translated myself and offered it again to all kinds of publishers in London and New York.

To no avail. Even my offer to give the book for free failed.

Finally, a publisher in New Delhi (India Research Press) dared to take up the offer and his Indian edition remains the ONLY English version of the "Letters against the war" available in print.

Now to allow as many people as possible to have access to the book, I decided, together with Massimo De Martino who in his spare time, generously run the T.T. fan ("fun") Club founded three years ago, to post the whole book on the Internet. You can download it for free and I would be most grateful if you circulate text among your friends and..."adversaries".

It is time to think, to discuss, to argue and finally to raise our consciousness and to save ourselves. Nobody else can do it for us.

Thank you very much,

tiziano terzani



Translated from Italian
by David Gibbons
(copyright tiziano terzani)








10 September 2001

The wasted day


Letter from Orsigna

An opportunity


Letter from Florence

The Sultan and St Francis


Letter from Peshawar

In the story-tellers' bazaar


Letter from Quetta

The Talib with the computer


Letter from Kabul

The potato seller and the wolf cage


Letter from Delhi

Hei Ram


Letter from the Himalayas

What shall we do?



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Internal Resources

Ode To Peace And Life: Introduction to Tiziano Terzani's Letters Against the War - Gilles d'Aymery

Patterns which Connect

The Rape of Iraq

Arts & Culture

Special Issues


About the Author

tiziano terzani (14 September 1938 - 28 July 2004) was an Italian journalist and writer. Please read Gilles d'Aymery's introduction to Letters Against The War. You can also check terzani's entry on Wikipedia and visit tizianoterzani.com (in Italian).



Please, feel free to insert a link to this work on your Web site or to disseminate its URL on your favorite lists, quoting the first paragraph or providing a summary. However, please DO NOT steal, scavenge, or repost this work on the Web or any electronic media. Inlining, mirroring, and framing are expressly prohibited. This material is copyrighted, © tiziano terzani. All rights reserved. It is republished on Swans with the expressed written permission of Àlen Loreti at tizianoterzani.com. Letters Against The War is available in an Adobe Acrobat PDF file, which can be freely downloaded at:


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This Edition's Internal Links

Ode To Peace And Life (Introduction to Tiziano Terzani's book) - Gilles d'Aymery

Torture For Fun And Uncle Sam - Book & Film Review by Peter Byrne

We Will Decide! - Ralph Nader

Behind The Curtain Of Ron Paul's Disciples - Gilles d'Aymery

Denver Braying - Martin Murie

Neo-Progressives Sell Out To Democrats - Joel S. Hirschhorn

Well-Known "Evils" We Never Seem To Learn - Carol Warner Christen

The Fall Of Meyerhold - Charles Marowitz

Nature And Man - Poem by R. Scott Porter

Letters to the Editor

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Published September 8, 2008