18 - 24 November 1999
Issue No. 456
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
The right to read
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Sir- I am a resident of the Muqattam and, as I mentioned in a previous letter printed in Al-Ahram Weekly a few weeks ago, am extremely happy with the healthy and friendly atmosphere we enjoy up on the hills. Let me bring to your attention, however, that, as an avid reader of your newspaper, I find it truly regrettable that the Weekly is seldom available to Muqattam residents.
Granted, most of us do go into town during the week for our jobs or on errands, but the Weekly is issued on Thursday morning, i.e. the last day of the working week. This means that unless one makes a very special effort to find it on a newsstand in town on Thursday morning -- an effort which is not always rewarded, since the Weekly is often unavailable even there -- one has no chance of reading it over the weekend. Of course, by the beginning of the following working week, the Weekly is almost impossible to find.
Since I became a resident of Muqattam I came to realise that there are many misconceptions about who exactly lives on the hills. Allow me to inform you, from first-hand experience, that the Muqattam is home to many foreigners who have chosen to live up there for the same reasons as I: clean air, no traffic, calm surroundings, etc... In fact, the Muqattam has always housed a relatively large foreign community, and my suspicion is that this community will only increase in size as the other residential districts of Cairo become more and more populated and polluted. Similarly, the Muqattam is also home to a young middle and upper-middle class Egyptian community which, one would expect, would represent a large readership for the Weekly. I would therefore estimate that better distribution of your esteemed paper in Muqattam would benefit all.
Servants of the people
Sir- The recent cabinet reshuffle was very disappointing to large sectors of Egyptian society. We claim that we are a democracy, yet the wishes of the people are hardly respected or taken into consideration whenever any sort of political change is thought of. Ministers and other high-ranking officials are supposed to be servants of the people.
I really wonder how ministers, no matter how efficient they are, can remain in office for a decade or two. Some of those ministers who have survived the cabinet reshuffle have made fatal mistakes and their decisions have been uninformed.
The lack of proper polls in Egypt makes it almost impossible to make the right decision as regards the appointment or reappointment of ministers. When a minister is always blowing his own horn, how can we expect him to serve the interests of the people? Shall we always let bygones be bygones and start every time from scratch?
Essam Hanna Wahba
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