Sir-- The real crisis in Gaza has nothing to do with Israeli oppression or the United States favouritism towards Israel. The real problem is overpopulation. Throughout much of the Muslim world, overpopulation is the real cause of poverty. Birth rates in the Muslim world are quadruple that of European, Israeli and US rates. Overpopulation is the greatest cause of poverty. But the Palestinian culture and almost all other Muslim cultures are unwilling to stop the practice of having 10 to 20 kids per couple.
M Craig Thompson
Sir-- It is indeed alarming to see the misguided joy being expressed over the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. This is but a smoke screen to divert attention from the escalating expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank. The criminality persists. Does anyone really believe that the Zionist state will ever relinquish control of these areas? The so called "roadmap" is meaningless, yet another example of Western duplicity. Will the Arab nation ever learn?
Sir-- Expect Netanyahu to replace Sharon, and continued assaults on the UN via Fox network reporters/operatives, 'Exception to the rule' ( Al-Ahram Weekly 18-24 August).
Unless there is a defined mutual allegiance of cooperation among all the Palestinian parties to work honestly in sacrificing self interests towards the common goal of continuing to show the world the real menace to peace, Israel, which is making much ado about moving some rabid individuals from stolen land, will be even more cunning and brutal in keeping everything else it has stolen, and if opportunity presents itself, could easily destroy Gaza and literally bulldoze the buildings, and the corpses, out into the sea.
How to overcome
Sir-- Abdel-Moneim Said's 'Shared pasts, different futures' ( Al-Ahram Weekly 18-24 August) has laid out the case of Chinese dehumanisation by the West. He has not, however, probably because of space limitations, told us exactly what the Chinese did to overcome [their problems] and now threaten to be the dominant world power. How does one throw off the yoke of oppression?
Sir-- Referring to 'Shared pasts, different futures' ( Al-Ahram Weekly 18-24 August) despite the shared historical background between China and the Arab world which is to a great extent related to colonialism, both faced different experiences following their independence. For instance, I see no occupation of parts of China. I see no exploitation of Chinese resources. Moreover, when China was subject to foreign exploitation, many national groups launched countless attacks targeting foreigners. Hence, even though everyone should condemn terrorist attacks against civilians, one can find some sort of motivation among Arabs which is totally absent among the Chinese.
Man of courage
Sir-- In Mustafa Barghouti's 'Beginning of the end' ( Al-Ahram Weekly 18-24 August), there is much appreciation for your courage to believe in a decent Palestine, and your encouragement of others to believe in this state as well.
Johan Van Hulle
Sir-- It is apparent now to everyone: A majority of the American public sees the Iraq war as a dreadful mistake. As the country's constitutional assembly blows through its deadline without working out major points like the rights of minorities, women, and whether the country will be ruled by Islamic law, there is no doubt that radicalism is playing a larger role now in Iraq than any time before the war.
Biting the hand
Sir-- Referring to Ahmed Reda's article 'The gloves are off' ( Al-Ahram Weekly 11- 17 August) it is bizarre to discover that those who live with full citizenship rights, and sometimes enjoying unemployment benefits, demonstrate no loyalty to the society they live in. Most of them emigrated where human rights can hardly be seen.
Sir-- 'Welcome to the club' ( Al-Ahram Weekly 11-17 August) is an exemplary critique of the dilemma facing the United Nations on its 60th anniversary. Nihal Fahmy's article is succinct, clear and highly informative in displaying the facts of an issue that has baffled the deliberations and manoeuvres of the world body for so many years, and still no solution appears to be in sight. She has adeptly outlined the confrontation between a handful of permanent veto-wielding states clinging to their post-war victory privileges and a majority of developing post- colonial states that aspire to have their share in the international decision-making process.
Muslim and Hindu
Sir-- This refers to 'The spectre of theocracy' by Faleh Abdul-Jabar ( Al-Ahram Weekly 11-17 August) one must congratulate the author for his forthrightness about the political situation in the Islamic world. I come from India where the Muslims are a minority or may we call them second majority after the Hindus, as terming 130 million people as a minority would be unjustified. Though there have been communal riots and ethnic disturbances due to the politicisation of the religious agenda, by and large both the Hindus and Muslims have lived peacefully because both communities totally depend on each other.
It is wrong to say that Muslims do not have the will to live in a pluralistic society. They have been contributing more than enough: Indian music, Indian literature, Bombay films, the classical music of our country, our sports, all is unparalleled.
You are Muslim, I am Hindu. We can still be best friends despite our different religious beliefs. In India, when incidents like Gujarat and Babari Masjid happened, all the democratic secular forces and different communities came together and raised their voices against this fascist onslaught. The result is that politically Muslims are the most vocal community in India.
Vidya Bhushan Rawat
Sir-- Regarding the commentary by Naguib Mahfouz ( Al-Ahram Weekly 11-17 August) he states that religion was not to blame in the case of the Catholic Inquisition that murdered untold innocent people. Religion was totally to blame. The pope ordered the mass murder of all Protestants (people who protested against the teaching of the pope). This action was pursued with vigour across all of Europe. All this information is written in history books.
Rise to the occasion
Sir-- In response to Haifaa Zangaana's article 'Women of the new Iraq' ( Al-Ahram Weekly 4-10 August) I would like to say that what she said makes a lot of sense. Western feminists especially are forever whining about deprived Muslim women but few are interested in commenting on, for example, Lynndie England. Few stand up and denounce the rape of innocent Iraqi women by US military personnel. Why? Nobody seems to be interested about the facts on the ground in everyday Iraq. This has served as a tool for all types of groups wanting to hijack the issue of Iraq to pursue their own personal crusades. The Muslim and Arab communities need people who will campaign for us, our dreams and hopes. It is sad that female leaders in Iraq choose to be selective in standing up for women.
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.