Letters to the editor
What about Bose?
Sir-- Surely Abdel-Moneim Said, 'Why didn't the Indians do it' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 25-31 August) in claiming that India liberated itself from British imperialism/colonialism by predominantly peaceful means, is underestimating the role of a militant leader like Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose? In present-day parlance the relationship between Gandhi and Bose would be called a "good cop/bad cop" relationship. It's arguable that both approaches were necessary.
Sir-- With reference to Abdel-Moneim Said's article, 'Why didn't the Indians do it' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 25-31 August) I wish to state that Mr Said should study the subject more deeply. As a matter of fact, Indian Muslims were more enlightened in the last decades of the 19th century, when they had a more enlightened reformist in the shape of Sir Sayed Ahmed Khan, who eventually established the Alighar institution on more modern and Western lines and thereby moderated the extremist sections of the Muslim society in India.
Though Indian Muslims have produced great intellectuals, they drew inspiration from Middle Eastern and European history but of late they are being oriented towards a thinking that does not represent progress and that will eventually pull them towards the bottom of India's social ladder. Moreover, extremism is an evil propagated by religious fanatics who do not relish the progress of Western science, education or culture. This evil is not confined to the Middle East only.
Sir-- I would like to congratulate Abdel-Moneim Said on his excellent article 'Why didn't the Indians do it' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 25-31 August) and how they have created an independent and respected nation. Thank you for the insight. I understand and agree with people's anger against oppression but I have thought that those who push for adherence to past traditions or ideology without thought to their value today, or goodness for all, do so for political or social power over others, for greed or for both.
In Australia it is compulsory to vote but even without it being so, I would keep trying to do what the Indian people have done and have a truly independent government that will put the wishes and needs of their voters and country first. Lets all look forward.
Sir-- Thank you Ian Douglas for your brilliant interview with Mordechai Vanunu, 'Inside the machine' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 25-31 August) a former Jew who told the truth about Israel's "secret weapons of mass destruction", some 200 nuclear heads. He said it in 1986 and paid for it by 18 years in jail. He was kidnapped from Italy and smuggled to Israel, tried before a kangaroo court and sentenced to life. With the intervention of the pope and archbishop of Canterbury his sentence was muted to 18 years, and he is still in jail in Israel.
I should like to quote one telling passage from the interview with this great man: "Israel still believes that it is a super-race, the only God-chosen people, while the Christian faith accepts all kinds of people..."
There is no super-race. We are all children of God. Israel is exporting this "negative democracy" to the US where it has become the model for what the US is doing in Iraq. Well said. Thank you for telling the truth.
What might have been
Sir-- Referring to 'Why didn't the Indians do it' by Abdel-Moneim Said ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 25-31 August) if the Russians had invaded Pakistan instead of Afghanistan and the Great Satan had used India's Muslims in combating the ugly Big Bear, things might have been different.
A long way
Sir-- Professor Immanuel Wallerstein 'The game is over' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 18-24 August) is the best known political philosopher not only in the US but I dare say the world over. He is a true, able and logical successor to Fernand Braudel. Obviously, the fact that his valuable and viable view of the Bush adventure in Iraq had to cross both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean to get published says something about our media here in the States and naturally about your great and venerable Al-Ahram Weekly. Thank you.
Sir-- I want to thank you for the article on Mordechai Vanunu ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 25-31 August) as it illustrates beyond any shadow of a doubt that he is a hateful lunatic who should be taken seriously by no one.
Not what she appears
Sir-- Well, to be honest, I didn't read all of the article on Cindy Sheehan, 'The power of the ordinary' by Ramzy Baroud ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 25-31 August). I stopped, after reading about her meeting with Bush. Right after meeting him, her comment was that he was a very caring, sympathetic man. It was only after her "handlers" revised the meeting that she came up with this latest. Casey was not drafted; he signed up, not once, but twice, which shows that he believed in what he was doing, and in my way of thinking, he was proud of what he was trying to do.
I just wonder how proud of his mother he would be. If I were a child of this woman, I would be so embarrassed, as is her family. She is not a grieving mother, she is someone who likes the attention and her 15 minutes of fame. Personally, I am quite tired of her antics.
Sir-- 'A hat is a hat' by Nevine El-Aref ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 25-31 August) thoroughly sheds light on Egypt's foremost archaeological technocrat Zahi Hawass. However, what is of more interest is Hawass's views on the Africanness of Egypt's ancient civilisation.
Sir-- In 'Spoils of war' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 25-31 August) Ibrahim Nafie writes... "Even at the end of World War II, when Berlin fell to the Allied forces, acts of theft and plunder were stopped and the guns were silenced, allowing the people to go out and bury their dead with the solemnity and dignity they deserved."
The Soviets took Berlin. Over half a million people in total died on both sides in the battle and its aftermath. Berliners suffered an orgy of rapes, looting and vengeance killings conducted by ill-disciplined Soviet troops for several weeks after the battle was over. I'd say art was the least of people's worries in Berlin in 1945.
Where to look
Sir-- Thank you for your stories on current events in Gaza. Western media is polarised and it's difficult to get the entire story from the US. Ironic but true given the overwhelming noise level.
Specific to your article, thank you for the insight into what makes this glorified step by the Israelis a bad thing for Palestinians. I assumed it was a left-hand, right-hand operation, and your article helps me to gain some understanding of the details.