Letters to the Editor
Sir-- Your article 'Bloody denials' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 29 July-4 August) is the one and only by any Arab journalist about the racist campaign in Darfur.
Arab journalists are very upset about the free world's uproar, and they forget the near-genocide carried out against African tribes in Darfur.
We can't just condemn the harm done to the Palestinians, we have to condemn any harm done to any one, regardless of their colour, religion or ethnicity.
Check for yourselves
Sir-- Regarding 'Sudan next' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 29 July-4 August), I consider it extraordinary that you would take the position that there is anything less than a disaster occurring in Sudan, and one that demands immediate pressure to be exerted in some fashion to stop it.
People are being chased from their land, killed, raped and made dislocated in a region of the world where people are not often apt to do well, even at the best of times. The ripple effects to be felt from the massive dislocation will be apparent in increased death rates and poverty for years to come.
You argue for an official report from the UN to validate what you've been reading in newspapers throughout the world. Has a reporter from this paper taken the opportunity to do their own investigative journalism, to see for themselves, or maybe has the ambassador from Egypt gone out to get a sense of what's going on? No, it's best to wait for the UN to file a report; no need to be concerned about those dying in the time it takes for that to happen.
It's wonderful for Arabs to sit back and not take any action in this situation; for the Arabs to not come up with a plan; for the Arabs to not stop the needless slaughter and diaspora of people, be they Christian or not, whether they're attacked by Arabs or not. Please, your inaction is in favour of us Americans, as it affords the US and other Western countries -- whose sole interest is oil to come in -- to set conditions and possibly lay down the groundwork for invasion to steal that oil, the indigenous people be damned.
Yes, indeed, Arab conspiracy spinning strikes once again, along with blaming the Jews for 9/11 and most else of the regions ills. I suppose it does make it easier to blame your own inactions, your own problems, and your own disconnectedness for a country that's far more your neighbour than it is the US's, when you have oil thievery or Jews to blame everything else on.
Arabs once represented a great civilisation, Egyptians specifically so. Now, far too many Arabs are merely great complainers, great blamers, and great do-nothings who'd sooner spin conspiracies about how it's all someone else's fault, and how the other guy is merely involved to strike some sort of nefarious advantage or theft. How simple the world is that way, and how ineffectual you become when that's what it's reduced to.
Sir-- With regards to 'Sudan next' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 29 July-4 August), it is not just the United States that is angry, it is the entire Security Council.
To somehow paint this as just a US plan is inconsiderate of what is occurring in the Darfur region -- ethnic cleansing is taking place. Whether these things happen in Darfur, in Kosovo, in Rwanda, the people perpetrating them or allowing them to occur are equally responsible. We are all human; and we all need our fellow man to stand up for us when no one else can.
Palestine is a perfect example; there, innocent Palestinians are harmed by Israeli tanks. Rock-throwing children are gunned down -- such incidents are said to be "accidents". The wall arcs into what should be Palestinian territory, when it should only be on the Green Line.
I want my government to be more responsive to such issues, but ignoring Darfur is just as reprehensible.
Justice for all
Sir-- I find your indignation in your editorial 'Sudan next' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 29 July-4 August) at the US-led threat to aggressively intervene in Sudan puzzling. The atrocities committed in Darfur, and the countenance of the same by the Sudanese government, has been documented in well-researched reports by several neutral groups, including the OAU, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.
Clearly, the Sudanese government lacks either the desire or the ability to protect the vulnerable civilian population in Darfur. In this situation is it not the duty of the international community to step in?
I often share the outrage expressed in your newspaper at the ongoing atrocities against Palestinians, however, I am disappointed that you do not rush to the defence of the people of Darfur with equal vigour. I believe that the demand for justice must be consistent in order to be convincing.
Sir-- I am from North Darfur. Regarding Mr Al-Mahdi's commentary on the Darfur problem in 'Sadig Al-Mahdi: The comeback king' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 15-21 July), it is unsurprising that he knows so much about the factionalism and warring potential of Darfur.
The pro-democracy campaigner himself led an expeditionary force from Libya through Darfur, with the aim of toppling the Sudanese government in Khartoum, in 1976. He failed in that attempt and then, just as today, much blood was spilt.
Sir-- Mr Nkrumah's profile 'Sadig Al-Mahdi: The comeback king' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 15-21 July) was a poignant, eloquent piece of irony.
With the suffering that is taking place in Darfur before us, how ironic is it that Sadig Al-Mahdi, who fuelled subversion and armed certain Darfur tribes in 1976 in an extraterritorial armed attempt at regime change, can so flawlessly describe the situation there.
The only hope for Darfur, Sudan, Egypt and wider Africa is that our sons do not follow in the discordant footsteps of their forefathers.
Why the opposition?
Sir-- I am a very affectionate reader of your online edition and have often recommended your articles to friends, relatives, my high school pupils, and as a teacher of history and philosophy, have used them as educational materials.
I think that your work of presenting to the Western world the reflections of an Arab culture concerned with the problems of peace, education, justice, freedom and democracy, is of the highest importance in order to combat prejudices and misrepresentations. In reading your Issue 700, however, I felt hurt by the cartoon by Fathi which represented the Darfur crisis as a manipulation by "Uncle Sam", who holds his hand on one plate of a strange balance, opposing the refugees of Darfur to the Palestinians.
First, I wonder, why a balance? Why should the attention and the compassion for Darfur victims be an alternative to justice for the Palestinian people? Are the Darfur refugees responsible for anything taking place in Palestine? And why can't the misdeeds of an Arab government (the Sudanese one) be denounced by those who really want to improve the Arab cause? When seeing that cartoon, I remembered the excellent article by Abdel- Moneim Said, 'Iraq, Sudan and the others', published earlier.
Mr Fathi is a gifted cartoonist; the better use of his talent would be, in my opinion, to protest against every kind of oppression, not the opposition of a victim against another. It's a matter of that sense of humanity (the contrary of de-humanisation), about which you and I and all of us have learned so much from the teachings of the late lamented Professor Edward Said -- whose writings I have known and appreciated thanks to your newspaper.
Sir-- The Abu Eissas of the Sudanese political scene are well past their sell-by dates and far too frequently quoted in your articles on Sudan.
Not taken seriously by many Sudanese both inside Sudan and abroad, certain "leftist" elements of the NDA live a life of luxury in exile and yet claim to speak for the Sudanese people.
Who entrusted him with such a role? [Farouk] Abu Eissa represents the interests of the Sudanese as much as (the unelected, now defunct) Ahmed Chalabi represented the interests of Iraqis.
Jalal Abu Sin
Sir-- I followed with interest the kidnapping of many innocent people in Iraq, and after reading 'Diplomatic kidnapping, an effective warning?' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 29 July-4 August), I wonder about the form of resistance these factions choose, and how they use these kidnappings of innocent hostages as a pressure card against the occupation forces.
I would like to ask these factions, what wrongdoing have these innocent hostages done? The Indian worker, the Jordanian driver and the Egyptian diplomat are only seeking a livelihood.
I think this form of resistance will beget enmity in many countries that lost innocent citizens. I am not opposing resistance against the occupation, however, it must be accompanied by intelligence and awareness; it must be directed only against the occupation; it must be based on creating friendships with many countries; it must generate a huge following to oust the occupation. As the old proverb goes: If you want to beat your enemy, he must be surrounded by your friends.
Sir-- Mr Nafaa's comments in 'A dangerous summer' ( Al- Ahram Weekly, 29 July-4 August) are well taken.
Rather than hoping to get the people's consent for an attack on Iran or others, it is more likely that a pretext would be concocted, followed by an attack, followed by an executive exercise of "war powers" to postpone the elections -- with "postponing" meaning in Orwellian fashion "cancellation".
All of this has been pre-justified by legal work done by both the Justice and Defense departments. Given the Patriot Act and the war on Iraq, those two names themselves have an Orwellian ring to them.
Recently, an obscure agency floated a trial balloon suggesting that contingency planning be done for an election delay, in case of a large incident of some kind. Although the suggestion is actually a responsible one, reaction was so negative that it was quickly dropped.
Like Mr Nafaa, I believe that the spreading paranoia on this subject is not justified. But I also believe that if the neo-cons are up to something, they'll make their own Reichstag fire, and it will likely take the form of a "pre-emptive" attack on some putative menace in the Middle East neighbourhood.
S G Briggs
New Orleans, LA
New way of life
Sir-- I would rather ride a dog sled to work than have my son killed in a war for oil.
We consume like there's no tomorrow and have to change our way of life so all of us can share the good of the world. Just give us some time to re-direct our efforts and be able to be helpful. We will.
Sir-- It is extraordinarily humorous to hear you criticise in 'Grooming Guantanamo' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 29 July-4 August) the lack of due process for terrorists at Guantanamo, when everyone in the world knows that due process is non- existent in Egypt, and torture is an every day occurrence.
New York, NY