Letters to the editor
In all honesty
Sir -- In 'A critical patriotism' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 5-11 May) Osama El-Ghazali Harb writes refreshingly about a subject surely close to every aware Egyptian mind. "We deserve democracy, no less than other nations, and democracy in its fullest sense. It is embarrassing to see opponents of the government, whether at home or abroad, being denounced simply because they have criticised the government or the president... What is permissible and what is not in the conduct of the opposition, as individuals or as groups, at home or abroad, must be framed legally, must be defined by the law."
Nice language but is it not hypocritical to expect the opposition to abide by the law when the government itself acts as though it is above it?
Sir -- I am, as so many other Egyptian and other Arabs, completely frustrated at the political process or lack of it in the Middle East and particularly resentful of efforts to skirt around the real issues in the state-run media. We are still the exception to the rule of real and tangible political change or thorough and critical media coverage.
Ramy Kamal Aly
Sir -- Congratulations to Mr George Gallaway who showed the superbeasts in Washington who they truly are. Men like him give hope and optimism for the future of the human race.
Of a kind
Paul Wolfowitz and John Bolton are major players. The major difference between the two is, Wolfowitz says, very little and doesn't attract as much attention as Bolton. But Wolfowitz has more power. Besides the president, vice-president, Congressional members, and various pro-Israeli groups, Wolfowitz was the only other person Sharon wanted to visit on his trip to Washington to see the president.
If properly used
Sir -- I am disappointed with South Korea and Britain's refusal to accept the UN's ban on human cloning. Genetic science has great potential for either serving or degrading humanity. Its proper use requires moral reflection and the establishment of moral limits. There is no scientific evidence to suggest embryonic stem cell research has more potential to lead us to viable treatments for various diseases than non-embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cells carry the likelihood of immune rejection in humans. Animal trials suggest they are too genetically unstable and too likely to form lethal tumors to be used for treatment.
Tests using human adult stem cells, however, have produced significant and encouraging results in the areas of Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injury, cardiovascular disease, sickle-cell anemia, and dozens of other conditions without posing any moral problem. On a biological level the pre-natal being is not like any other tissue: it is human with its own DNA indicating that -- as a human -- it has the same fundamental and moral right to life as any other human being.
All governments have a moral obligation to protect human life in all phases of its existence from conception to natural death. Hence, the cry should be not for research into embryonic stem cells, but rather for an aggressive expansion of adult stem cell research.
Sir -- Greatly enjoyed your article 'Death by chocolate' ( Al- Ahram Weekly, 19-25 May). I have to go now to the nearest supermarket for a fix!
You referenced the movie Chocolat. I had the privilege to view that excellent picture. It shows how an entire town was gradually transformed when the chocolateir lady moved into the village, bringing her "sinful and decadent" chocolate to the ultra-conservative town. The movie brought a wonderful message about tolerance, acceptance and loving your neighbour regardless of their different characteristics. Hope you had a chance to see the movie. Thanks again for your wonderful essays.
Sir-- Thank you for Amirah Ibrahim's story on the air traffic strike ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 12-18 May). It seems there is a real gap between the aviation minister and the air controllers. It was expected that the minister not escalate the situation by cutting, docking and rescinding the wages of air controllers and even firing some of them, but rather meeting quietly with them to discuss their demands.
I believe when a boss describes his employees as liars and traitors surely no confidence will be built between them.
There is a Turkish proverb, "a good word can open locked doors".
Where it counts
Sir -- I read a 7 May news article from Sudan.net and Al- Ahram : "Egypt is to hold a regional summit [with Chad, Libya, Nigeria and Sudan at a Red Sea resort] on the crisis in Sudan's troubled Darfur region as part of an effort to help Khartoum comply with UN resolutions on the conflict."
How wonderful it would be to infuse economic vitality into Darfur by holding conferences on Darfur in Darfur.
Sir -- Anwar Abdel-Malik's 'Southern awakening' ( Al- Ahram Weekly, 12-18 May) was very enlightening. He has had a long and noble career, however, readers should take his conclusions about Latin America with a small dose of scepticism. When he writes about liberation theology and the South's dependence on the North, he reveals much about his own political economics.
The South has never been dependent on the North and they're not on the periphery of the North's centre because no centre or periphery have ever existed. These are all false philosophies created by Marxists to transfer the blame for failure from Third World countries to the North. Both concepts came out of Marxism and remain the dominant economic concepts in the Third World. Citizens have turned control of their governments over to leftists, not because they tried capitalism and it failed, for they never tried it, but because socialism is all that's taught them. Readers should keep in mind that Marxism destroyed the economies of Eastern Europe, the former USSR, China, much of Africa and Latin America. Europe's half-hearted embrace of socialism keeps their growth at small levels and their unemployment very high.
Latin America's drift towards socialism will mean nothing but increased poverty for the whole continent. As those nations have elected leftist governments, we have seen a dramatic increase in illegal Latin Americans fleeing to the US. The left is destroying Latin America as it destroyed the other socialist countries of the world, but in the end, they will find a way to blame the US.