11 - 17 November 1999
Issue No. 455
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
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Sir- I read Ibrahim Nafie's recent comment, The Many Faces of Barak, with great interest -- particularly the part where he regrets that "Barak continues to perceive military might as the sole guarantee of Israeli security".
I am reminded of an interview with three Israeli generals in Foreign Affairs Quarterly almost 20 years ago, in which one general said: "Israel's borders are where her tanks can no longer advance". The second said: "No matter how many peace treaties we sign with the Arabs, we will never disarm and will always be ready for war", while the third said: "We have a plan for everything including occupying the North Pole" (!!!)
Not much has changed since then, has it?!
After the tragedy
Sir- Thomas Hartwell's photo of a man awaiting a passenger on EgyptAir 990, unaware of the disaster that had already occurred, said it all (Al-Ahram Weekly, 4-10 November).
After the tragedy, the whole of Egypt is still mourning. Several times I tried to sit and write a letter of condolence to all those who lost loved ones -- Egyptians and non-Egyptians -- but my pen was silent, and words inadequate. Instead, I have said a prayer in their name. After all, we worship one God, and only He knows why this has happened.
Urning their keep
Sir- I want to address the issue of the "beautification" plans for Cairo. I have recently observed that vast quantities of ungainly vases have been unceremoniously dumped on each and every left-over patch of greenery in the city's squares, parks and walkways.
These eye-sores may have been designed and marketed by the same company that produced the line of unsightly marble frogs that similarly disfigured the capital and abused our sense for the aesthetic only a few years back. Is there a method to this madness?
Do the powers that be have plans to fill these visually offensive containers with artificial flowers to "beautify" the city, or are they simply providing public advertisement space for the producer of these unsightly objects?
Killing one bird with two stones, i.e. combining a city-wide public advertisement campaign with a bizarre kind of aesthetic city planning scheme, may be considered a superior strategy, but I tend to believe that the majority of Cairenes would disagree.
Are we to choke on the city's fumes as well as the city planners' reprehensible taste?
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