17 - 23 June 1999
Issue No. 434
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
Great and green
Egypt Region International Economy Opinion Culture Profile Features Living Travel Sports Time Out Chronicles People Cartoons Letters
Sir- I read with great interest your interview with Minister of Environment Nadia Makram Ebeid. I have already heard many good things about this remarkable lady.
Although she has been in office a relatively short time, and the problems confronting her are immense and deep-rooted, it seems she has managed to establish her ministry as a strong and effective body. It is obvious she is an initiator, an achiever and a practical executive. She has achieved a lot in such a short time. I am quite sure that, if she continues to succeed, she will become a reference and a teacher to other environmental ministers not only in Third World countries but in countries all over the world.
Egypt has always produced extraordinary talented personalities and she could be one of them.
Akef Adib Qussous
Sir- Thank you for Pascale Ghazaleh's scholarly review of Magda Baraka's The Egyptian Upper Class, which I enjoyed reading (Al-Ahram Weekly, 10-16 June).
Pascale, however, does not mention three "fun items" which caught my attention.
The first is that while upper-class girls were usually sent to French convent schools from which they emerged speaking perfect French and broken Arabic, their future husbands were sent to Arabic schools where they learnt to speak perfect Arabic and a little English. When they got together in holy matrimony they soon discovered they were unable to communicate with each other!!! How absurd can a system get?
The second item is that while most upper-class families had English or French nannies, a few, like that of Hafez Afifi Pasha, used Swiss nannies! Heavens, whoever heard of a Swiss nanny? Probably had you eating cheese three times a day and looking at your watch every three minutes!
Finally, I was amazed to learn that the family of Gamil Rateb (the actor) had no less than 34 servants/retainers!
Nevertheless, thank you Pascale.
Sir-Aziza Sami reports that US Agency for International Development (USAID) Director Richard Brown "admitted that USAID funds to Israel could, for all practical purposes, be going into the building of Jewish settlements or housing projects" (Al-Ahram Weekly, 3-9 June, "Who Benefits from US Aid?").
IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis) asked the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to comment on the accuracy of Brown's remark. The Embassy spokesman's response was:
"Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the story by Aziza Sami in Al-Ahram Weekly regarding US economic assistance to Israel. The economic support funds provided to Israel are authorised by the US Congress. The government of Israel provides quarterly reports to the US on how these funds are expended. These reports are given to Congress and are available in Washington. None of these funds are used for settlements. It is our understanding that a large portion of this assistance is used to repay previous loans made to the government of Israel by the United States."
I am sure your readers will be relieved to read the spokesman's reply.
Correction:In last week's issue, the letter titled "Bridges and crowns" (Al-Ahram Weekly, 10-16 June, Letters to the Editor) referred to the 15 May Bridge as having been opened to drivers and pedestrians before it was ready. In fact, it was meant to refer to the flyover leading from Midan Libnan to the Cairo-Alexandria desert road. We apologise for the misunderstanding.
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