28 Oct. - 3 Nov. 1999
Issue No. 453
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
Egypt Region International Economy Opinion Culture Features Profile Study Special Sports People Time Out Chronicles Cartoons Letters
Sir- I am grateful to Mohamed Sid-Ahmed for his insightful article about Ahmed Zuweil's discovery (Al-Ahram Weekly, 21-27 October).
Over the years, I have relied on Mr Sid-Ahmed for his political and social insight and analysis of world affairs to protect me from the one-sided bombardment of news analysis here in the West. His presentation of Professor Zuweil's work not only clarified and simplified what must be a complicated technical topic, but it also presented it in a global and relevant context.
Egypt ought to be very proud of Ahmed Zuweil, and we should also take time to reflect on the tremendous human potential that exists if people are given the right environment, opportunity and the dignity to reach their potential.
Progress and "civilization" are not a monopoly of race or creed.
Sir- I read with great interest Faisal Kutty's article "Too many mouths to feed?" (Al-Ahram Weekly, 14-20 October), in which he aptly analysed the population situation in our world.
The writer made a very interesting investigation of the reasons for some of the most intricate economic problems facing our world today. I was astounded by the fact that rich countries still exploit most of the world's raw materials. Perhaps the problem is that rich countries still believe that poor countries are ethnically and racially inferior.
Rich countries are not yet ready to accept the idea that we live in an era of global interdependence and that whatever happens in poor countries is bound to affect the rich ones. So whether it is an increase in the price of oil, a trade embargo, the population explosion, acid rain, the carbon-dioxide threat, drug trafficking, terrorism or a nuclear war, all nations on this planet, be they rich or poor, will be affected. Therefore, the future economic welfare of all world countries will not be accomplished unless concerted efforts are made.
Essam Hanna Wahba
Shadows and fog
Sir- A disaster seems to have befallen the country. The fog that has settled over Cairo and other areas has been attributed by the press to the fact that the peasants are burning the detritus left over from their rice and cotton crops.
Is this a credible explanation? Is this a rational response to citizens' concerns? Must history repeat itself as yet another government blames the peasants -- the most convenient scapegoat, since they have no spokesperson -- for an incident it would rather not discuss?
I find it hard to believe that all the peasants in the regions surrounding Cairo got together and agreed to set fire to their fields. Rumours are flying: some say the fog is linked in some mysterious way to the Bright Star military exercises, others believe it is the result of the garbage heaps that smoulder and burn in Cairo day and night, while yet others are convinced that a chemical plant has exploded, releasing noxious clouds of gas into the air.
Whatever the true reason may be, the lesson I have learned from this disturbing event is that the government must take the people seriously. The fact that no one believes official explanations is sufficient indication that something is very wrong.
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