The numbers please
Sir-- Thank you for your profound and touching essay "Democracy and necrology" ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 27 January - 2 February 2005). I am an American citizen who was against this invasion from the beginning, but I do hope this election helps lead the Iraqis where they want to be.
There is a question, however, that has troubled me for some time. The US government had no trouble coming up with an exact count of Iraqis in mass graves as a result of Saddam Hussein's reign, yet they cannot come up with figures of civilian dead as a result of this invasion and occupation.
They recite as gospel the figure of 300,000 dead under Saddam, but object long and loud if one even suggests that as many as 10,000 have died in these last two years.
My heart bleeds for your country, for your people.
Sir-- Re. "Democracy and necrology" ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 27 January - 2 February) I cannot apologise enough for the terrible actions of my country. This is not the first time I have thought that the ideas trumpeted by America were based on ignorance and some kind of misconceived belief that the USA can not do, and never has done, wrong.
I hope for change, but I am not hopeful for it to happen. And as the world develops and peoples around the globe advance their economies and standards of living, what do we say to the many who are left out?
The dead vote
Sir -- In "Democracy and necrology" ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 27 January - 2 February) you say: dead people don't vote. Since when? As a matter of fact, they have been voting in the US, on and off, for quite sometime. Sometimes a dead person even wins an election, as was the case when a dead Democrat beat John Ashcroft for the Senate from Missouri.
Come to think of it, we would have been better off with dead officials this last time.
Sir-- I salute the author of "Democracy and necrology" ( Al- Ahram Weekly, 27 January - 2 February) and I cry the same sentiments many times a day.
But what else can we expect from a world (not just the US) that insists on dealing in terms of "power" and "control", and depends on brutality to advance both or either of these disreputable, totally futile objectives?
I am thoroughly sick of the world of men and what it finds valuable.
When the women of the world realise they can stop all this brutal nonsense, it will stop.
Sir-- Omayma Abdel-Latif's "Empty promises" ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 27 January - 2 February) nicely summarises the pre- election situation in Iraq.
After listening to a lecture at Georgetown University on 27 January, I -- more than ever -- think that these elections are pure folly. At the event Christopher Hitchens ranted about the legitimacy of the elections to some Iraqis. His rant notwithstanding, these elections are completely illegitimate since the US occupies Iraq, does not provide effective security for normal life let alone elections, and there are no independent monitors.
One only hopes that the groups that gain power can manage to force US withdrawal.
In memory of the lost
Sir-- I am in the process of creating a memorial to mothers killed in the Iraq war. I am engraving the names of those killed on the memorial sculpture.
I have the names of four American women soldiers but have been unable to locate more than six civilian Iraqi mothers names.
Any assistance in getting more Iraqi mothers names who have died as a result of hostilities will be greatly appreciated.
(Anyone who wants to help the artists out can write to email@example.com )
Sir-- Bush has a unique opportunity to bring freedom and democracy to the world. And yet he and the neo-cons in office have proven too bloodthirsty.
And as I watch the scenes of brutality from Afghanistan, Palestine and Iraq on my television screen I wonder: what of tolerance, nobility and compassion? History will not forgive him these ravages of humanity.
Sir-- I read with interest the article on brain drain (27 January - 2 February 2005). And I wondered: why do so many Egyptian scholars prefer to emigrate?
I was recently reading a report on the best universities globally and was shocked to discover that it did not make reference to one Egyptian university. Is it reasonable for a country like Egypt -- with all of its history and civilisation -- not be mentioned and yet newly created countries such as Israel be listed?
I guess it is not about history or population after all but the respect a country has for research and researchers.
Left high and dry
Sir-- This is in reference to the water cut that has taken place in Nasr City where residents have not been getting water since early the morning of 28 January.
Repeated contact of the water department resulted in vague answers: the water will come back today, maybe tomorrow. Then it was announced that water service would not resume before 31 January. And finally, newspaper reports mid-week claimed the water cut could be extended to 7 February.
Is this some kind of a cruel joke? We can move in with relatives for a couple of days and then what? And what of the poor who must walk up to 4km to get water?
In this day and age is it reasonable that the Egyptian people continue to suffer in this manner? Is there anybody who can provide answers?
Together in ignorance
Sir-- Today we are witnessing a stagnation of society brought about by religious pundits across the globe. As a Muslim and a scientist myself, I thought the decline in Muslim society was a rejection of the teachings of great Muslim thinkers and scientists. But I fail to understand the American mind, the mind of a scientifically advanced nation, as it succumbs to religious Christian fundamentalism.
The new rise of the so-called moral majority among the American nation seems to parallel the rise of Wahabi or puritanical Islam of the past century. At that time, rationalist Muslims either had no following in their own country, or were close to extermination. We may see a similar fate of rationalists in the West.
Religious belief in America is casting a tragic spell on the advancement of science, such as stem-cell research, limiting chances of major discovery in neurological and cardiovascular diseases. It seems the Americans are heading towards an era of darkness in spite of all the technological advances they have made so far.
It is unfortunate in this new age of intellectual and moral bankruptcy; we will not see the birth of a new Averroes to take America out of the darkness. The present challenge will have to be addressed by the saner Europeans to take the world out of the political and religious abyss.
Sir-- With reference to Tariq Ramadan's "Open letter to President Bush" ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 20-26 January) I am wondering if he has ever written an article as critical of Al-Qaeda and those who are beheading people in Iraq.
And that's what bothers me about people like Mr Ramadan. Has he criticised radical Islam? Has he urged fellow Muslims to conduct a jihad against Bin Laden, Al-Qaeda, and others who support them and their methods?
Mr Ramadan mentioned that Muslims needed -- in the aftermath of 9/11 -- to clearly denounce terrorism and extremism. That's a good start but what I wanted was a Muslim of prominence to stand up and say: "Osama Bin Laden is NOT a Muslim. He is a killer, a hater, and a terrible human being. He does not speak for Muslims, Muslims should shun him, and Muslims, along with the rest of the world, would be better off without him and his group of supporters."
And let's face it, Mr Ramadan, there are quite a few Muslims around the world who in fact support Bin Laden. Polls in Arab and Muslim countries clearly show this. I read one poll that said a majority of Jordanians would consider him a good world leader. Do you really, honestly think that Muslims have confronted Bin Laden, his ideology, and his supporters adequately?
You have fully and completely condemned Mr Bush. That is clear. Will you do the same to Bin Ladenism?
Sir -- Tariq Ramadan wrote a wonderful letter to Mr Bush " ( Al- Ahram Weekly, 20-26 January). It's a shame the president will never read it.
I thank you for writing it.