A golden heart
Sir-- Six years ago when I was asked by Professor Dr Fathi Iskander to see Mr Hosny Guindy to help solve his chest problems, I did not realise that he was doing me a big favour -- one among many. I had the wonderful opportunity of knowing an angel on earth. Sharing his care and my rapport with him, Madame Moushira and Yasmeen had strengthened year after year, crisis after crisis.
I used to say he is a 'Prince' as I was taken by his refinement. It was the way he expressed himself, the quiet, soft voice with an attractive half- smile on his face, and his extreme politeness that always gave me the impression that I am dealing with royalty in its essence. He captured everyone's feelings by dealing with others with sincerity, respect and love; all came naturally and genuinely. The positive impact he had on all the people he dealt with was something for me to contemplate and to learn.
His devotion and true love for the Weekly family (he always used this term) were clear to me. It took quite an effort to convince him to go to the US for a potentially life-saving operation to slow down the progress of his lung problems, and his main objection was how could he stay away from work for a long time.
I still remember Madame Moushira's constant bitter complaints of him staying up to 12 hours at work against my advice. In the end, we reached a compromise because we reached the conclusion that it was unfair to make him miserable if his work was so vital.
During the last two months, Mr Guindy went through many life threatening problems. We managed to pull through them together with the great help of his devoted and dedicated family. He went home for a week but the burden of all those years was clear, the fatigued body became weaker and weaker and he started to worry about ever going back to work -- with all that it meant to him.
He went back to the hospital three days before his departure. God, with all His mercy, decided it is the time to relieve Mr Guindy from the burdens of his progressive incurable diseases, sparing our angel undue suffering and disability. We all bow before His wisdom.
Though his golden heart stopped beating, Hosny Guindy will always remain alive in our hearts and minds. A true gentleman I was lucky to know and proud to look after. We are confident he is now living peacefully in the Heavenly Kingdom, the place where he belongs.
Sir-- So much has been written and said in praise of our beloved Hosny Guindy, and all is well- deserved. Never have so many people expressed with such sincerity and love the feelings that lay dormant in their hearts.
As I leafed through the first posthumous edition of the Al-Ahram Weekly (14-20 August), I felt I needed to mention a few situations in Hosny's last few days or moments that left their deep imprints on me. Inspite of his severe weakness and distress and though he was hardly able to speak at the end, he always managed to express his gratitude for any small service offered, even by just a look in his eyes or an attempted smile.
Though extremely different in their personalities -- Hosny a shy, sensitive introvert, Moushira, his wife, an extrovert in the full sense of the word -- I realised the strength of the bond between them, and the tremendous support that she continuously gave him. Day and night, always serving, always caring, always loving. Near the very end, and though her heart was breaking, she kept a courageous front, and always had a smile for him.
As he peacefully departed, I heard her whispering her love for him, and instead of giving vent to her inconsolable grief, she told him that she thought that he would soon get better. Having spotted my baffled expression, she later explained that she had been worried that he could still hear. What self control. She then called Yasmeen into the room and told her about her father's death.
The purring of the uebuliser was stopped, the hissing of the oxygen was silenced. All tubes that had tied Hosny to a world of sickness and suffering were removed. He lay peaceful. He was free at last. The moment of his departure had been dealt with great reverence, deep respect and overflowing love. A way worthy of a man who had never liked loudness in any way.
As I offer my condolences to his mother, brother, sister, family and all those who love him, I feel I need to add a few special words to Moushira, his wife: Whatever Hosny achieved in his life, he could not have done it alone, without your presence by his side. As for you Yasmeen: may you always remember to follow in the footsteps of a father who adored you. He deserves that.
Remembered by all
Sir-- After reading all the loving words dedicated to Hosny Guindy from his family and colleagues, there are no more words left to express our sorrow now that he is no more among us.
Dear Hosny, We have been so lucky to have met you at Al-Salam Hospital years ago when you first arrived for physiotherapy. I realised then how much time you dedicated to your work and so little for yourself. Back then you were still in the phase of establishing the Al-Ahram Weekly and we all wondered how you would perform such a gigantic task that needs such enormous effort.
As the years went by, the Weekly proved itself as the best newspaper in Egypt.
On reading now the loving words of your staff, I am convinced that all these young journalists, to whom you have been their "Ustaz Hosny", big brother, father and mentor, will carry on performing with the same spirit and endurance. We will continue looking forward to reading the Weekly every Thursday.
For all that you are, you will never be forgotten.
Words of gratitude
Sir-- Every achievement in my career I owe to Ustaz Hosny, whose continuous encouragement, support and faith in me were the cornerstone not only in my career but also in that of my colleagues at Al-Ahram Weekly.
After all he had done for me I was keen not to disappoint him and when it unintentionally happened once, his gentle rebuke made me feel so ashamed of myself for letting such a wonderful and loving person down.
Words can never express how grateful I am for Ustaz Hosny.
Sports editor, Al-Ahram Weekly
Sir-- It is a cruel and inhumane age that can manage to produce such sophisticated weapons, but fails to produce adequate treatment for such a noble knight as Ustaz Hosny Guindy.
Crossword editor, Al-Ahram Weekly
Never the same
Sir-- I was very sorry to hear about Ustaz Hosny Guindy's death.
It must be a very difficult time for all of the Al- Ahram Weekly staff. Unfortunately, by the time I arrived at the Weekly months ago, he was already quite ill and frail and not as present among us as I was told he used to be. However, I still remember him very vividly, marking up articles in the layout room until ridiculously late on a Tuesday night. His tiredness and his great concern for getting things right were always liable to be interrupted by an impish smile or an attack of uncontrollable laughter. He was always very kind to me, and very interested in what I was doing, even when it was not in service of the newspaper.
Coming back to Cairo won't be the same now that he is not there. Sure I do not need to tell you how much you have all lost. Please convey my condolences to his family, and to all the staff at the Weekly. My thoughts are with you all.
A patient broker
Sir-- I was so sorry to learn of Hosny's death. He was a delightful man who was unreservedly welcoming whenever I came back to visit. Al-Ahram Weekly was inevitably a place of strong opinion -- about lead stories, spiked stories, headlines, emphases -- which often boiled over into "heated discussion". Hosny was amazingly good at managing this constant simmering. There was always a steady flow of people at his door, all requiring decisions, and Hosny dealt with each of them quietly, patiently, with a smile, and I think above all with equity.
He treated everyone equally and fairly. I admired the way he attempted to accommodate the wishes of others before coming to a decision; and I admired his mediation -- often multilingual -- between the array of personalities.
There was something about him which inspired great warmth and affection and loyalty. Perhaps it was the slight and seemingly vulnerable physique; perhaps it was the sweet and soothing aroma of pipe tobacco; I think mostly it was the sincerity and friendliness of his demeanour. He was definitely the even keel on which the Weekly cut its occasionally tempestuous course.
Please send love and condolences to Moushira, Yasmeen, and Hosny's family; and to all at the Weekly who lost an outstandingly genuine, kind and fair editor. I shall really miss seeing him next time I visit Shari' Al-Galaa.
Sir-- It is with sadness that I write regarding the recent passing of your editor-in-chief Hosny Guindy.
You and your staff have my deepest condolences in Mr Guindy's passing and my prayers for a continuing future in excellent journalism. I agree with your assessment that your newspaper stands alone atop the Arab world, bridging our two cultures.
Dana A Emborsky
Assistant in World Mission Office
St Louis, MO
Condolences from afar
Sir-- Please accept my deepest and sincere condolences for the death of the head of our beloved Al-Ahram Weekly family and its editor-in-chief.
Our hearts and prayers go to Hosny Guindy's family, friends and colleagues. May your paper continue to prosper and entertain, inform and delight the masses around the world who await it each Thursday.
Flame of truth
Sir-- I am an Egyptian-American who reads Al- Ahram Weekly on-line every week from Los Angeles and I believe that your paper indeed provides the balance needed among the media bias of the West. I read your tribute (Al-Ahram Weekly 14-20 August) to your wonderful leader and Editor-in- Chief Hosny Guindy, and now understand why the Weekly is such a great paper of integrity at a time when the essence of credible journalism is dying off.
I often print articles from the Weekly and distribute them to my American colleagues and friends, in the hope that they will learn from an alternative perspective. Ignorance of the world amongst Americans is overwhelming, and the compliant American press is contributing enormously to that continued ignorance and bias.
You have lost your wonderful leader; for that I am truly sad although I never knew him. His great worth is very evident in the genuine words of his staff.
I urge the Weekly staff to carry on the flame of truth that Hosny Guindy rooted in each of them. The world needs your work now more than ever, and no matter how hard the winds of evil blow, the flame of truth will never be extinguished.
Los Angeles, CA
Balancing the books
Sir-- Abdel-Moneim Said's 'Colonialism reloaded' (Al-Ahram Weekly, 24-30 July) is correct in explaining that Iraq is no longer a rich country and faces the prospect of crippling debt payments. Remember that Iraq's debt burden, at that time less than half its current level, was one of the explicit causa belli for Saddam's invasion of Kuwait. Anyone who wants to see a free and prosperous Iraq would be wise to join Iraqis in calling for a fair tribunal to arbitrate on the debt.
Jubilee Iraq (www.jubileeiraq.org) proposes that this tribunal would determine which loans benefited the Iraqi people and which were odious, personal loans to the regime, which the creditors who financed Saddam (ranging from Britain to the UAE) have no right to demand of the Iraqi people.
What was it about?
Sir-- In 'Colonialism reloaded' (Al-Ahram Weekly, 24-30 July), Mr Abdel-Moneim Said takes a condescending tone toward "the Arabs". He speaks of them as if they are some sort of political monolith for espousing a view that is also widely-held in global academic and political circles, including here in the United States. Namely, that the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq has its roots in neo-imperialism and regional hegemonic interests.
According to Mr Said, the invasion of Iraq was not about oil, not about monetary gain, and in fact, not about anything that the anti-war camp contends. By the way, it wasn't about WMD's either because we know about all the gross exaggerations and outright lies coming from the US Pentagon and 10 Downing Street to sell the war. What then was it about? Mr Said leaves that to the reader's imagination.
I would have liked to know why Mr Said thinks the US is spending an estimated $4 billion dollars a month on its occupation and putting its demoralised troops in the line of fire of the Iraqi resistance. To say nothing of all the political capital expended on rebuffing the UN and the EU to launch the invasion in the first place.
Call us paranoid "Arab" conspiracy theorists, but it doesn't seem plausible that the US -- or any other country in the world for that matter -- would suffer such serious losses simply out of a sense of altruism.
New York, NY
Sir-- What is truly disgraceful about the US media's coverage of "terrorism" is the biased labeling of "terrorism" through the filters of a skewed nationalistic agenda -- this is hypocrisy.
How can the world unite behind hypocritical ideals -- "you are with us or with the terrorists" -- when the state terror of Israel and the unjust wars of the United States government (where whole countries are laid to waste) are overlooked, and the comparatively petty terrorism of groups like Hamas are magnified beyond reality.
If the entire world united against terror, we would see regime changes in Israel and the USA.
Sir-- I agree entirely with Mr Nafie's article 'That Arafat complex' (Al-Ahram Weekly, 17-23 July). Chairman Arafat is indeed the target of a "vicious campaign" waged by Israel and others.
This campaign is so obvious to many people here in the US. The efforts to isolate and discredit the chairman will continue to work against Mr Sharon. In fact, while Mr Arafat continues to receive much public sympathy, Mr Sharon continues to show himself as a schemer and "a bad guy". This is most unfortunate.
At a critical point in these nations' history -- when their people and the world are looking for a display of unity and an expression of brotherhood -- this is all Mr Sharon can deliver. What a shame.
Permit me to call on the words of our beloved Abraham Lincoln to sum up my views and others: "You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time."
Sir-- In the aftermath of 9/11, it is common to read insults to Muslims and Islam in various editorials, almost always written by American Jews. In a recent letter to our regional newspaper, one such person wrote "Arab regimes teach children that Christians and Jews are infidels to be hated" (Letter to the editor, The Advocate, 31 July). His, and other venomous statements have absolutely no foundation in any Islamic teaching by any Arab regime or educational institution.
Indeed, there are millions of Christians who live in complete harmony with their Muslim compatriots in Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt. The same applies to many thousands of Jews who live in Morocco.
Islam (which is not my religion) holds Christianity and Judaism in the highest esteem , as was stated several times in the Qur'an. It was under Muslim rule that Jews prospered in Moorish Spain for almost 800 years, and it was the Muslims who welcomed Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquisition into their countries.
They again prospered in the Arab countries, from Morocco in the West to Syria and Iraq in the east. I am not even including non-Arab Muslim countries such as Iran and Turkey.
I think it is the duty of the Arab media to expose the fraudulent history and misrepresentations propagated by the Zionists and their cronies.
Fikry Boulos Salib
Sir-- In the 1960s, I was in the American military and heard stories of American atrocities in Viet Nam. I resolved to abandon the military even before the end of my involuntary service if I was ordered to violate the Geneva Convention.
The latest actions of the US in Iraq are shameful and show how degraded the US has become. A reading of an honest history reveals the love of economic slavery which the US pursues, and it is no secret to some 'Americans' -- I was raised by a Mexican -- why 'American' is an excuse for ignorance and self-indulgence. This has become true enough for me to long for Mexican rather than American citizenship.
The Hussein brothers should have been subject of a trial as in Nuremberg, but the coward and cocaine-abusing president of the US cannot allow truth to be told.
It's a science
Sir-- I agree that the Egyptian Pound foreign exchange Futures Market is necessary for the float maturity process and should enjoy greater transparency, but there is a misconception on Hossam Omar's part in 'A brighter forex future' (Al- Ahram Weekly, 24-30 July) regarding its working and mechanics. In the article, forwards/futures are in the realm of strong-hearted market makers who speculate in order to satisfy commercial demands of hedgers (entities wishing not to have a foreign exchange exposure). This is not true.
The quoting party (banks/participants) price transactions non-speculatively, through conservative methodology of what is commonly known as "Borrow, Spot and Invest", thus the future price reflects the underlying interest rate differential plus/minus the immediate spot rate. Bank fees/commissions are generally added thereafter.
There are two main venues for forwards and futures. First, forwards are based on fixed price over the counter contracts (two parties) that stipulate delivery of a currency or commodity at a set future date. Some banks in Egypt will quote forward prices US$/Egyptian Pounds to their select clients. Second, a Futures Market is a regulated exchange (non-existent in Egypt). The contract is a forward contract of standardised units (of trading, delivery and settlement dates, minimum price increments etc), that investors transact through the exchange's member brokers, but the counterparties will not be known to one another. The futures exchange itself acts as a counterparty through the provision of clearance and settlement facilities.
Distortions to the quoted future price do occur when market makers take on positions to satisfy an abundance of bids or offers, but generally arbitrage will smooth out the discrepancies over time. Mr Hossam Omar should have researched with a team of bankers since futures, forwards and options are not about speculative prophetic star-gazing that needs to be legalised.
Devil's in the detail
Sir-- I read in 'Dreams and delusions' (Al-Ahram Weekly, 21-27 August) that the United States of America has the largest number of executions than any country in the world. I think that the country with this sad prerogative is China.
I was also astonished to read in 'Curricular and extra-curricular battles' (Al-Ahram Weekly, 14-20 August) that the US invaded Korea. I am old enough to remember when North Korea invaded South Korea in June 1950, almost driving out of the peninsula the forces of the US and other countries in Korea under a UN mandate.
Then the US and other countries struck back -- still under UN mandate -- "invading" North Korea to the border of China, whose forces entered the conflict driving the forces acting under the UN mandate out of North Korea.
Sir-- I like the prominent novelist Ghassan Kanafani very much. That it is why I want to thank you for publishing 'Ghassan Kanafani (9 April 1936-8 July 1972)' (Al-Ahram Weekly, 11-17 2002) about my hero who has been forgotten.
Keep up the good work and continue to introduce the younger generations to such great writers.
Al-Ahram Weekly reserves the right to edit letters submitted to Readers' Corner for brevity and clarity. Readers are advised to limit their letters to a maximum of 300 words.