28 Jan. - 3 Feb. 1999
Issue No. 414
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
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Sir-Egyptian television has apparently decided not to broadcast the complete video of the song Al-Hilm Al-Arabi (The Arab Dream) on the grounds that it lacks optimism and causes despair. How on earth did television officials make such a crucial decision on behalf of viewers? Is it not possible that the video may have the opposite effect?
If the song reflects anything significant, it is our modern history and the surroundings we live in as Arabs. It only mirrors the reality of the contemporary Arab nation. Moreover, if the song invites emotions of any kind, these are patriotism and responsibility towards our nation, and contemplation of the threats that encircle us. The footage included in the video brings one to tears, but not necessarily to despair and hopelessness.
The video is now available on the Internet, CD and videotape, and has been broadcast on all the Arab satellite channels. So what is the purpose of banning it on national television? The only people not able to see the video are those who do not have access to the previously mentioned media channels, usually due to financial constraints.
If the true reason for not broadcasting the video of the song is what I mentioned above, then TV officials should ban the news and most of the debates broadcast on TV every day.
Leave the right to choose whether or not to watch the song up to the viewers.
Amr Mohamed Diab
Up in the clouds
Sir- I am an Alexandrian born and bred and I have a few comments to make about certain recent events in my home town.
First of all I think the idea of painting all the seafront buildings one colour at government expense is an expensive mistake. To see row after row of buildings all a nasty cream colour, and already with patches of dirt on them, is a real eyesore. Secondly, the people behind the scheme do not seem to realise that Alex's seabreezes have a powerful corroding effect and as a result it is not expected that the new paint will survive a winter or two!
The other thing is that the idea of widening the Corniche, which may sound good from afar, is really a disaster because it is eating up Alex's beautiful beaches. First the cabins went and now the beaches are following suit! What about all those limited-income families who used to look forward to crossing the street and spending a fun day at the beach? What do they do? After all, these people cannot afford to go to Agami and similar far-off resorts.
Lastly, I think the new Alexandria Library is another expensive mistake. A great library can only exist in a great city. Once upon a time, Alex was second only to Rome in greatness. Today it is, alas, a stagnant backwater of not much consequence. How on earth can it hope to resurrect the famous Alexandria Library which was inadvertently burnt by Caesar's legions? Is it with books given as a handout from richer nations? Does anyone realise the expense and expertise needed in building even the tiniest of libraries?
Perhaps the time is nigh for us Alexandrians to put away meaningless grandiose schemes and concentrate on simple essentials which Alex needs -- like an underground metro to replace those snail's pace trams, and a new main road to run parallel to the Corniche and Horriya Avenue and ease an impossible traffic situation! Forward, Alexandria!
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