10 - 16 February 2000
Issue No. 468
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
Rich and lonely
Egypt Region International Economy Opinion Culture Features Focus Profile Travel Books Sports People Time Out Chronicles Cartoons Letters
Sir- I am revolted by the recent Israeli attacks on Lebanon. Israel persists in repeating its traditional patterns of behaviour over and over again. While the discourse of the so-called "peace" process refers to "trust-building measures", the Israeli state takes every opportunity to destroy any trust its Arab "partners in peace" might have harboured. It is most significant that, just as the Syrian-Israeli negotiations reached a dead-lock, instead of paving the way for compromise and eventual settlement, the Israeli army bombs Lebanon. It claims these attacks are in retaliation to Hizbullah attacks on "northern Israeli" positions. Equating these two actions is a fallacy. Hizbullah is -- regardless of its political affiliations -- a resistance movement; its attacks are ones on occupying military forces, which the April understanding allows for. Israeli attacks on civilian positions and Lebanese infrastructure are unacceptable by any political criteria and are against all international conventions. Prime Minister Ehud Barak was elected by his people in the hope of bringing peace to his nation and to the region as a whole. Instead, he has repeated the actions of his predecessor. Once more, Barak has proved that Labour policies are just as anti-peace as Likud ones. Targeting Lebanese infrastructure in particular, when Lebanon is struggling to overcome the economic depression caused by its too-long civil war, proves that Shimon Peres did not mean what he said at Davos recently about Israel not wanting to be a rich country in a sea of poor ones. It will definitely be a lonely country in a sea of angry ones.
Behind the glass ceiling
Sir- I read with great interest Madiha El-Safti's comment on the controversial Personal Status Law (Soapbox, Al-Ahram Weekly, 27 January - 2 February). The writer was quite right when she asserted that women in Egypt have more rights than ever before. However, the fact is that Egyptian women are still inadequately involved in the political process. It's not just a glass ceiling standing between the Egyptian woman and public life, but a wall of political, social and economic factors.
Some women have managed to reach the pinnacle of success in certain fields, but they still face an enormous number of hurdles. It is clear that Egyptian men are strongly opposed to the idea of sharing power with women. They also believe that women are not efficient enough for high-ranking positions. Moreover, Egyptian women's experience in politics has been so limited that it is very difficult for them to get into the political process.
The fact everyone admits is that women only get to positions of considerable power in democracies where all citizens enjoy their full constitutional rights regardless of their gender. It is the duty of feminist activists in Egypt to seek to exert influence in an attempt to change the existing situation and ensure that women get their fair share.
Essam Hanna Wahba
Bygones be bygones
Sir- It truly amazed me that no mention was made in Tarek Atia's review of Ramadan TV (Al-Ahram Weekly, 6-12 January) of the most successful show of all, I refer to "Bygone Days", in which the ever versatile and gifted Samir Sabri presented viewers with high-quality entertainment, based on scholarship and research and a great deal of diverse, valuable information.
Samir Sabri proved that custom cannot stale his infinite variety. I take off an imaginary hat to a master entertainer of the finest calibre. May he long continue to give delight and worthwhile pleasure to his audience.
University of Alexandria