21 - 28 January 1999
Issue No. 413
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
Egypt Region International Focus Economy Opinion Culture Features Living Travel Sports People Time Out Chronicles Cartoons Letters
Sir-Your "50 years of dispossession" series was a valuable contribution to the documentation and historiography of the Palestinian and Arab "disaster" (nakba) of 1948, for it not only dealt with the political and military sides of what happened 50 years ago, but also brought to life the actual pains, fears and hopes of those who witnessed the disaster: concrete human experience providing a testimony to the whole world.
The use of brute force and coercion can dispossess the Palestinians and demolish their homes, expel them from their native land and build settlements for the invaders, but it can never rob them of their memory, national history and will to resist.
I suggest that you collect and publish these series of articles in a book, for the least we can do is to preserve our national memory for coming generations.
Sir- I like your paper very much. It informs one of what happens in Egypt during the week. What I don't like is the misspelling of German words. In the story "Egypt's art travels around the globe" (Al-Ahram Weekly, 31 December - 6 January), the German town Rüdesheim is misspelled Rodesthime!
Many German citizens live in Cairo and we have an embassy that could easily inform you of the correct spelling.
Sir- When I went to the airport recently to pick up some friends who were returning from a holiday, I noticed that vending machines had been installed in strategic locations. More interestingly, each of these machines was flanked by a few attendants, who receive the customer's money and dispense coffee or soft drinks as required.
This struck me as a particularly ingenious solution to several problems. First, the machines themselves are obviously obsolete, since I have seen them in no other location in any of the countries I have visited. In this way, the person who installed them has kindly done the manufacturer a great service by helping him avoid bankruptcy.
Second, since so many coins are currently competing for the role of five, 10 and 20 piastre denominations, the attendants are solving a potential bottleneck by accepting even the bills which were supposed to have been out of circulation long ago.
Finally, the person who installed these machines, then hired attendants to service them, is obviously making an ironic comment on the fundamentally empty nature of the post-modern self-service society, while dealing a crushing blow to the unemployment problem.
Solving all these problems at one fell swoop deserves praise, not complaints. I lift my cap to the clever soul who, modest and anonymous, came up with this brilliant idea.
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