|Al-Ahram Weekly Online
30 August - 5 September 2001
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875||Current issue | Previous issue | Site map|
Loud and clearSir- The following is an open letter to the US president.
Dear Mr Bush,
It seems that you have overlooked the fact that you are no longer a school boy with long school holidays (according to the US media, you have been on vacation 42 per cent of the time since you became president). You lead the one and only superpower in the world today or, to be more realistic, the only bouncer. It also seems you have hearing problems -- again according to the US media, for here in the Middle East we think you have simply turned a deaf ear to the Arabs, while saving your remaining auditory powers for Israel alone.
Mr President, you plucked Mr Powell from his barracks, but the barracks are where he belongs. He may have done a great job with Desert Storm, but that is as far as it goes. He is no diplomat, and will never be one; he has no understanding of the Middle East situation, and he is incredibly gullible. As for Dick Cheney, the stupid justifications he has offered for Israeli aggression have made him the laughing stock of even the most ignorant on the streets of any Middle Eastern country. He does not understand that the violence he is justifying breeds nothing but more violence. That is what has escalated the Intifada: instead of children throwing stones at the Israelis, Palestinians are loading themselves with grenades and blowing themselves up in crowded areas, to die as heroes and not just as martyrs. Mr President, how do Israeli mothers feel when their children and husbands leave home in the morning? Do you think they have a moment of peace of mind until their loved ones return? I doubt it. Why is that? Because they are afraid of Palestinian retaliation -- retaliation, not violence. Those poor Israeli mothers will have peace of mind only when the Israelis give the Palestinians a fair peace settlement.
Sharon, the butcher, promised to solve the Palestinian problem in 100 days. Has he done so? Has the situation improved? Are those who voted for him satisfied with his accomplishments? No. I am sure they rue the day they voted for him. His policies have brought nothing but more violence, more Israelis killed and more Israeli mothers worrying at home until their children and husbands return.
It is time, Mr Bush, to grow up and mature, assume your role as the world's leader, treat your hearing problem and listen to the current view objectively. What is necessary is simply a fair settlement.
Mr Bush, pure chance brought you to the presidency since, as you well know, there were many questions regarding your victory. This is your chance to prove us wrong and to show the world that you have substance -- which, at the moment, we all doubt.
Ignoring the stormSir- It was my special pleasure to read Mohamed Sid-Ahmed's commentary on the G-8 and the protest movements (Al-Ahram Weekly, 16-22 August). Sadly, the mainstream American media have largely ignored this story -- because they are part of the same mega-corporation oligarchy at the centre of these protests.
As a journalist in the independent media, I have been especially dismayed to witness American reporters dismiss this burgeoning movement while the foreign press -- including Al-Ahram -- seems to understand what is going on.
This is not a temporary fad. If the world's leaders begin to appreciate that, then the protests will grow into the first stirrings of international civil society. If they continue to ignore these protests, they do so at their own peril.
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