|Al-Ahram Weekly On-line
1 - 7 February 2001
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875||Current issue | Previous issue | Site map|
For love of EgyptSir- We, Saadeddin Ibrahim's colleagues and friends all over academia, love Egypt and Egyptians almost as much as Saadeddin. And we certainly love him and respect him and trust him almost as much as his family and his honest collaborators and students do. Personally, I think I proved my love for Egypt's place within the cultural world of the Arabic speaking and writing peoples by translating and publishing at E J Brill in Leiden, Holland, Ma'sat Al-Hallaj (under the title "Murder in Baghdad") by the late, great Egyptian man of letters, Salah Abdel-Sabour. My dozen visits to Cairo and Alexandria perhaps would not have taken place if I didn't love Egypt and the Egyptians. And I care very much for the reputation of Egypt as the birthplace of the neo-renaissance of the Arabs and their leading cultural light, as do my colleagues in the US, Europe and the Arabic-speaking world...
But this is not the reason for which I am addressing you; the purpose of this letter is to report to you and your colleagues at our greatest newspaper, about the repercussions of that which is going on in Cairo between the authorities and the distinguished academic, Saadeddin Ibrahim. What we read in the papers and what some of us discuss in class and all of us among ourselves is awful; we implore the fact that the greatest cultural power in the Arab east is bent on destroying one of us and ruining his and his learned wife's life work. And we feel with Saadeddin the pain his tormentors have been causing him and his family for such a long time.
Pleading for myself, I appeal to you to make sure the state is aware of the negative academic opinion of what's going on in that court and, as I know you know best, the extent of the harm done to the reputation of eternal and glorious Egypt by this naked show of cruelty and torment in the birthplace of human culture.
Khalil I Semaan
Neo-arroganceSir- Mr Salama Ahmed Salama is quite right when he states that the present US administration has an obsolete viewpoint regarding Iraq and its power position in the region (Al-Ahram Weekly, 25-31 January).
I would go one step forward with this thought. The good reading public of this weekly should know that the Bush II administration is poised to go to new heights of geo-political arrogance. Mr Salama points out rightly that the US will no longer have international support for military actions in the region. However, what they do have is a like-minded Republican majority in Congress, which is all the Cheney/Powell/Rice triumvirate may need to authorise a host of unilateral "surgical strikes."
Los Angeles, California
Calling all MuslimsSir- Concerning "Transgressing boundaries" (Al-Ahram Weekly, 18-24 January), the Sunni-Shi'ite conference in question seems to be a very honourable step on the right path. I hope it won't be the last. We really need unity among all Muslims, especially in the current period, and against those who are killing our brothers in Palestine.
But I must tell you I was surprised when I read that the Sunnis (although I hate talking about Muslims in terms of "Sunni" or "Shi'ite" -- for me there are only Muslims) have this image about Shi'ites. I've never been told that the Shi'ites have another Qur'an or a different version of the Qur'an from that of the Sunnis. This is the first time I have ever heard such absurd stories. But I have heard about the "mistake" made by Gabriel. It just makes me laugh, because this kind of stupidity is not taught at Shi'ite schools or by Shi'ite families: I personally heard it for the first time in France, two years ago.
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