Letter From Hell

17 August 2002
by Melor Sturua,
Izvestiya (Moscow)
Minneapolis correspondent
(Translated from Russian)

The American press has published messages from Lenin and Stalin from (believe it or not!) right out of Hell. I am not joking in the least. A whole series of major newspapers in the United States has published messages from hell from the leaders of the international proletariat and the founders of the first socialist state in the world. Among them are such papers as the New York Daily News, Boston Herald, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, and a number of others.

In the messages from these leaders there is nothing of the usual optimism and faith in the ultimate victory of world communism. The message from Vladimir Ilyich speaks of the "inexpressible torment and agony" which he feels "on account of my earthly sins". And Josef Vissarionovich adds: "Lenin and I are dwelling at the very bottom of the abyss." But where else could you be, dear Comrades?

Lenin and his faithful disciple and successor in his work Stalin submitted their messages to the presidium of a conference whose participants included Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Confucius, Buddha, Martin Luther, John Harvard (the founder of Harvard University), and hundreds of other very distinguished personalities who are not noted for their inclination toward communism (except the Christian breed).

On the conference agenda there was only one task - to announce the leader of the Unification Church, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, as the new Messiah. Jesus Christ opened with a keynote address on this theme, and was warmly received by all the participants. Christ read a message from God, who could not be personally present at the conference owing to His extremely busy affairs. The attendees listened with great attentiveness to God's message. At the end all offered roaring applause and a standing ovation. The hall thundered with "All Hail!" in honor of God, His Son and the Holy Spirit.

When the applause finally subsided, Jesus Christ, at God's bidding, proclaimed Moon as the New Messiah. Jesus shouted out, "You are the Second Coming!" Then His words were drowned out by new waves of applause. Again they stood up and applauded God, Christ, and Reverend Moon.

Next Mohammed took the podium, and heartily supported the proposal of Christ to elect Moon as the Messiah. This concluded the list of main speakers, and the conference moved on to a vote, which was carried in the form of three "Hurrahs" in Moon's favor.

Jesus Christ said, "Let your unanimous 'Hurrah' be considered as a unanimous acceptance of My proposal." Again there echoed three resounding "Hurrahs", shaking the vaults of the conference hall, after which Christ announced the conference to be concluded. Amidst the music of the highest spheres, the conference participants retired to various corners of the Heavenly Tabernacle, where there awaited them a celebration feast to the accompaniment of heavenly maidens...

This story recounted above was not just dreamed up by me! I gleaned it from the advertising bulletins of Moon's Unification Church as published in the above-mentioned respectable American newspapers. (That is, with the exception of the conference protocol, which was omitted from the printed advertisement and I just recalled from memory. Parts of it slip from my mind but they're not so important.)

You may wonder whether such a conference ever took place at all. Most likely it did indeed, for, according to the rules of the American newspaper business, they print only such advertisements which "accurately present the facts and are subject to verification". According to the words of Ira Ellental, one of the publishers of the New York Daily News, "I first ran the advertisement past our legal consultants, who expressed no reservations about it." Richard Reeves, director of the advertising department of another newspaper, the St. Petersburg News (not in Russia, but in Florida), said that the advertisement of Moon, which took up a whole page, "is a splendid account of a splendid conference conducted by people whom I happen to agree with. It would be entirely another matter if there had been insulting jabs purveyed in the ad. In that case we would not have printed it."

The New York Times took a curious position. Its spokesperson Catherine Matisse stated that her newspaper did not print the advertisement because it "might prove offensive to a large number of our readers." Ms. Matisse apparently considered the factual content of the piece to be accurate, but its essential message to be offensive. Insofar as she did not specify what was offensive in the contents of the ad and exactly for whom, it is only possible to drum up some kind of speculations or suggestions about what she meant. Most likely it refers to Islamic fundamentalists, who would be offended that not Mohammed but Christ gave the keynote address at the conference. Perhaps also the democratically minded Americans would be upset that Moon was elected as the Messiah simply by three cheers of "Hurray!", rather than by a free, direct and secret ballot. In this regard, it already smacks of authoritarianism and even dictatorship. All told, we may not exclude even the possibility that the New York Times decided to spare the nerves of Comrade Zyuganov, Anpilov, and the Communist Party of Russia, who would surely be outraged at the change in the final residential address of Lenin and Stalin - not at Red Square, but in Hell.

One more thing... The people who issued this advertisement obviously underestimated the truth-loving Yankees. Phillip Shanker, the spokesman of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, said, "It is very difficult for Western people to believe such events as were conveyed in this advertisement, since they are very distant from the Western way of thinking." But, as it turns out, they seem to be not so far-fetched after all. In fact, ex-president Ronald Reagan, who suffers the Alzheimer's disease, when he saw the advertisement, momentarily recovered his faculty of memory and exclaimed, as he used to do during his talks with Gorbachev on strategic arms limitation:

"Trust, but verify!"