One of the best books I ever read is "A Fortune Teller Told Me" by Tiziano Terzani. It was given to me as a present several years ago, and it was the type of book that I couldn't put down. The kind of book that when you're reading it, makes you reluctant to go to the dinner party or movie that you made plans for, because you'd rather be reading your book. Naturally, when I was finished, I looked around for other books by the same author and found several that have all been translated into English (from Italian).
Terzani published a book titled Lettere contro la guerra, or "Letters Against the War," in 2002, and I assumed I would be able to find an English translation in bookstores eventually. I mean, Terzani is a pretty well-known author and journalist. A good friend of mine who is fluent in Italian kept recommending this book to me and I kept wondering, why on earth can't I find this in English? Why can't I just go to Amazon and order it?
Here's the answer from Terzani himself, which I copied directly.
Florence (Italy) early December 2002
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 3-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, big crowds gathered to listen and to discuss.
Unfortunately this was not at all the reaction of the Anglo-Saxon world, particularly of the UK and the USA, 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" now 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 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 you 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,
You can download the entire book for free here. If for any reason that link gives you difficulty, just let me know and I can email it to you.
When I think about how many lives were lost on September 11th, I don't just count the people that died that day. I'm counting the thousands of people all over the world who have died as the result of the US waging a war that still continues to this day. Unbelievable to think that seven years later, Iraqi and American and other foreign troops are still dying, and you'll still hear September 11th used as an excuse to justify it all.