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Sir-I beg your indulgence in correcting a poem I misquoted in last week's article "There is only one child" (Al-Ahram Weekly, 25 February - 3 March), written by the very capable Injy El-Kashef. A memory fails under pressure, I'm afraid, not to mention the march of time.
The correct name came to me at the last moment, by which time it was too late to prevent the mistake. The name of the poet is Edmund Spencer not Longfellow, and the quoted lines are from his long poem entitled The Faerie Queene. The correct lines are:
Come away a human child
To the waters and the wild
With a fairy hand in hand
For the world's more filled
With weeping than you can understand.
This is a philosophy I have adopted in my career with children, attempting to be that "fairy" for a brief spell in their lives.
I commend you for your prestigious publication, which has been so kind to me of late. Keep up the good work.
Sir- On the heels of the scandal that brought about Abdullah Ocalan's abduction, we now witness another abhorrence: Israel's annexation of a Lebanese town, Arnoun. I sit in front of the news with disbelief that the United States can instigate, participate and defend their actions in these hypocritical situations.
What deals have the United States and Israel made to be so closely involved in capturing a Kurdish leader for Turkey and then keeping silent while the Israeli government seizes more land from Lebanon?
The forked tongue of the United States becomes more deadly and deceitful as it allows Israel to control its decisions in the Middle East.
I no longer feel I can make a difference in upholding the independent ideals that the United States once represented. Instead I feel like an exhausted, unsightly beggar on a bridge watching unaffected people bypass the problem. What can I do as one person who understand the injustices other than hold out my hand and beg... STOP!
Sir- We must protest that Jill Kamil's rather nit-picking review of Monasticism in Egypt: Images and Words of the Desert Fathers by Michael W McClellan (Al-Ahram Weekly, 25 February - 3 March) is both inaccurate and unbalanced.
She says the book needed "a tighter editorial grip". Meaning what? (Evidence of her own tight editorial grip begins in the first paragraph of her review, where she misquotes the title of the book.) It is certainly not true to say that "many of the pictures do not have captions" -- in fact, all the pictures in the book are captioned. Only three decorative elements in the front mater of the book and one at the back are uncaptioned, as decorative elements in books generally are -- and all these are repeated portions of pictures that appear with full captions in the body of the book.
And we cannot imagine what is "surprising" about including a useful, nine-page historical and geographical summary of monasticism in Egypt in a book on... monasticism in Egypt! Are we deceiving ourselves in assuming that people who have enjoyed looking at the photographs and reading the words of the desert fathers will appreciate some background information of the featured monasteries from a respected scholar, without having to resort to his 368-page book that is not yet published? (Two Thousand Years of Coptic Christianity, by Otto Meinardus, will be published by the AUC Press in April. Jill Kamil's own new book on Coptic Egypt is expected before long as well -- insha'allah.)
We very much look forward to seeing our ever more numerous publications reviewed in the pages of Al-Ahram Weekly, but naturally hope that reviews will contain only fair criticism or deserved praise.
Mark Linz Director
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