20 - 26 July 2000
Issue No. 491
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
Egypt Region International Economy Opinion Culture Features Travel Living Sports Profile People Time Out Chronicles Cartoons Letters
Port Suez?Sir- In "Footprints in the sand" (Al-Ahram Weekly, 13-19 July) we can read that "On this point (in Suez) once stood a monument to the French engineer Ferdinand de Lesseps, designer and architect of the longest man-made waterway in the world."
Actually the monument stood in Port Said, not Suez.
Helping themselvesSir- I am a 62-year-old paediatrician and general practitioner who has retired because of medical disability. I fell in love with Egypt on a winter trip and decided to retire here. After 37 years in New York (certainly more stressful on any given day than saving a life), I found warmth and love among your people, the beautiful country and the Mediterranean. This is the place for me at this time of my life. But it is painful to see the frustration of your young people, especially the graduates, because there are so few jobs for their talent. Year after year, there seems to be a sense of frustration and hopelessness. The country is in a serious recession, and recovery will take some years.
In such circumstances, the government and families are not able to provide assistance, as they did at another time. The students have to do it for themselves! For instance, a psychologist who cannot get work because previous experience is required can volunteer his efforts to charity medical organisations. A computer student or one in accounting can contact one of the Fortune 500 companies in Egypt and apply for student training. One 23-year-old man told me that he was in the land of Pharaohs and he expected great things to come to him. Indeed, Pharaohs built great cities and temples; but the young must build their own.
Your young people are no less intelligent or less talented than those in the United States, but the Americans intrinsically know they must do it for themselves! Perhaps the Ministry of Education can put out "how to" information. What father wouldn't be proud of a child who carved his future independently? My impression of God is that he waits for you to help yourself, not for you to wallow in self-pity. For such bright young people there is no reason for anything but success.
Martin H Platt
Teacher traumaSir- The funniest thing I have read in recent weeks is the allegation that teachers in Egypt are responsible for the liquidity crisis. The suggestion was that families in Egypt spend too much money on private lessons, so they have nothing left to put in banks. Perhaps teachers also have something to do with the deadly radiation at Mit Halfa or with the problems in the Middle East peace process.
I participated recently in a teacher training programme at the University of Delaware. I was stunned to discover that American high school teachers, for example, make over $35,000 a year. They lead a very decent life. Those who always criticise teachers in Egypt should stop. They have been through quite enough.
Essam Hanna Wahba
English language teacher