Al-Ahram Weekly   Al-Ahram Weekly
8 - 14 July 1999
Issue No. 437
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875 Issues navigation Current Issue Previous Issue Back Issues

Front Page

Sir- Edward Said's "Treason of the intellectuals" is brilliant!

Tom Bole
Austin, Texas

Armenians everywhere

Sir- I read with interest Fayza Hassan's article in the 20-26 May issue of Al-Ahram Weekly and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Weekly and her for providing excellent coverage of the Armenians in Egypt.

Armenians from Egypt have always been very proud Egyptians regardless of where they live now.

Antranik Benohanian MD
Montreal, Quebec

The real Gournawi

Sir- I just finished reading "A yearning for another country" (Al-Ahram Weekly, 24-30 June) and was disappointed to discover that in discussing old Gourna, the author did not speak to ANY residents of the village, or at least did not quote them. He may think that the cafeteria owner across from Madinet Habu was representative of Gournawis' views, but that only shows how ignorant he is of the local villages and their inhabitants.

The cafeteria across from Madinet Habu is not part of Gourna at all, but rather part of Ba'irat, a village which covers much of the West Bank and whose inhabitants are quite separate from the Gournawis, and who often express the same animosity toward Gournawis that his east bank taxi driver did.

If the author had really wanted to get an accurate picture, he should have made the effort to cross to the West Bank on the ferry and hire a taxi driver there who actually understood the different village divisions. If that had been the case, his taxi driver would have taken him to a cafeteria owned by a Gournawi in Old Gourna, rather than one owned by a Ba'irati in Ba'irat.

Many of your readers may not recognise or understand the difference between the two, but for those of us who do, it is misleading to have a Ba'irati serve as a mouthpiece for the Gournawis.

Nicole B. Hansen

Bound for the books

Sir- I wonder if the book lovers among your many readers are aware that they can avail themselves of a unique Cairo feature: bookbinding in leather! And at a fraction of the cost in the UK and elsewhere in the European Union.

There are many "baladi" book binders at LE10 a throw but the big three are: Fathi in Abdin (to one side of the palace). He uses a superior leather in many pleasing colours and charges LE50 for a half-leather binding with matching "plastic" (LE100 for full leather). You have to provide the coloured flyleaf paper which is available in all art shops at approximately LE3 a sheet. He delivers in a week.

Next comes Abdel-Zaher Ibrahim, a book binder behind the Azhar. Fine leather but no matching "plastic". He uses coloured/marbled paper in the French style, attractive gold lines, and is the only one of the three who can put a gilt edge to the paper of your book at no extra charge. He charges LE40-50 per book in half-leather and takes one week to deliver. Last but not least comes Wahib in Abdel-Khaleq Tharwat Street, downtown. He charges LE30 per book (half-leather) but has no matching "plastic". He uses oilcloth or mishamma'. His range of leather colours is not as exciting as the other two. It takes a long time to get your book back, something like two months.

One superior book binder who, alas, is no more was Saad near the Kutubkhana. He did everything himself and even supplied quality flyleaf paper at his own expense! I used Saad a long time ago when the charge per book was LE7. He went off to lecture about bookbinding in Saudi Arabia. I wish him luck wherever he is now.

Mamdouh El-Dakhakhni


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