Al-Ahram Weekly Online   13 - 19 October 2005
Issue No. 764
Reader's corner
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Readers' corner

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Thanks for the Nobel

Sir-- I'm truly glad that our country has won the Nobel Peace Prize for the second time. Choosing the IAEA and its head Mohamed El-Baradei is an excellent choice and a fitting tribute to a very decent and hard working professional. This award recognises the efforts and contributions of El-Baradei along with IAEA officials who have done a tremendous job. Their work has incalculable importance and is considered the most significant effort now being conducted in the promotion of peace and security across the globe.

Some people say that choosing the IAEA was a sign of desperation. But we all know that this organisation and its head performed a difficult and complicated job, without much backing from many countries, in order to stop states and terrorists acquiring WMD. Moreover, we cannot forget the IAEA's noble stand during the US war against Iraq, alongside El-Baradei's refusal to bow to Bush's demands. Clearly all these things deserve recognition.

Alaa Gamal Abdel-Hakim

How to change

Sir-- I would like to express my outrage at your article 'An American foothold' by Gihan Shahine ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 6-12 October). You openly admit that there are problems facing the Copts, but are outraged that foreigners are willing to talk about it. This is the only way things will change. Claims by Gamal Asaad that this conference is aiding the "colonial interests" of the US in the Middle East are unfounded. If the US had colonial ambitions, they would be in Tahrir Square now.

Rida Safwat
Los Angeles

Hide and seek

Sir-- Gihan Shahine's 'An American foothold' (Al-Ahram Weekly, 6-12 October) states that "most agree that Copts have problems that need urgent solutions" yet she claims that the prevalent logic for "both Coptic and Islamic intellectuals" is that these problems should be solved within what is called a "national framework". Does that mean that it ought to be swept under the carpet for a few more years or decades? And do those intellectuals subscribe to the notion that there can never be real democracy in Egypt without equal rights to all Egyptian Copts and Muslims alike? As the saying goes, you cannot be half pregnant.

One day fellow Egyptians will thank the expat Egyptian community for taking the lead to bring back to Egypt its former glories.

Reda Wassef

Don't count on them

Sir-- That Copts feel compelled to turn to the US for help against discrimination, as reported in 'An American foothold' by Gihan Shahine ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 6-12 October) indicates the degree of pessimism they must feel towards any real change taking place in Egypt. Many Americans are familiar with the problems the Copts face as a result of the US government reports on religious discrimination around the world. But here are some things that Egyptian Copts should consider: the US government is a fickle friend. Don't place too much reliance upon it. You'll need close ties with NGOs, especially religious ones, to keep pressure on the US government or it will fall asleep on the issues important to you.

Roger McKinney
Broken Arrow

Control of all

Sir-- The only thing I disagree with in 'Good-bye Bush era' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 28 September-5 October) is your reference to the "neo-conservative" blah blah blah. The problem is Jewish control of just about everything: politics, money, news and information, text books, magazines, colleges, and on goes the list. The war on terror is not some "neo-conservative" agenda. It's the Jewish agenda. Jews direct the war against everything they cannot control; even that which they do control while all others cheer from the bleacher seats.

Jack Wiesenmeyer

Right and right

Sir-- Azmi Bishara, 'From Palestinian to Arab cause' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 6-12 October) is right. Right, Sharon is a political fox and has outmanoeuvred the Arabs. He knows his enemy better than they know themselves. Right, major reform in the Arab world is needed. We do want the Arab world to be better than it currently is.

Bravo to Graham Usher, 'Hard rain' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 6-12 October). Great, realistic article. At least there are a few realists.

Kerry Winn

Worst possible

Sir-- This is the best written and most informative article I have read about Tom DeLay and his rise to power with the help of men like Jack Aramkoff, '"DeLay"ed Justice' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 6-12 October). None of the American media tell of his diversion of funds to Israel nor of his anti-Palestinian stance -- all for the purpose of gaining AIPAC support in the US for himself. Tom DeLay is representative of the worst possible men running the US government presently: arrogant, corrupt, not particularly intelligent and who are ultimately going to be held accountable through indictment, impeachment and the destruction of the Republican Party.

Judith Dowdal

Hard to believe

Sir-- How is it that a Qatari prince killed several Egyptians, then fled to his country without being caught? 'Race scandal' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 6-12 October). If the police had come immediately, this irresponsible prince would be arrested. I'd like to ask Al-Jazeera TV station which usually attacks everything Egyptian, why didn't they broadcast the news of this incident?

What's most important is that the government should fully investigate the case and should punish the persons responsible. The government must prove that the Egyptian taxpayer deserves the utmost care. Egyptian blood is not cheap.

Ahmed Hany

We were first

Sir-- It is said that Islam does not recognise the rights of women. But women in Egypt had the right to vote since 1932, before women in Germany (1919), the US (1920), UK (1928), France (1944), Switzerland (1971) and many other Western countries. My grandmother was still wearing the yashmak when she voted in 1923 and went to Paris to study law. We have three women as supreme judges (the highest rank) in Egypt for the last five years. Other Arab countries have women in their highest legal system.

Madina Lasheen

With or against?

Sir-- How ironic that you do not have a single positive comment to make regarding Turkey's EU accession, this in a newspaper that is published in a nation of more than 70 million people and one which is a very significant partner in the Arab and Islamic fronts.

Up until today, you can see in almost all Turkish newspapers the news of the Nobel Peace Prize being won by an Egyptian. This is a matter of pride.

Remzi Kocaman

Bits and pieces

Sir-- From reading both sides 'Basra goes Hollywood' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 6-12 October) my figuring of the events are such: two members of the SAS disguised as locals trying to apprehend a leader or someone involved with one of the militias were captured by local police. The British negotiated with the Iraqi government to have the men released into their custody and with probably some sort of agreement in regards to the charges. The Iraq government orders the police to release the men. Militia members that have illegally infiltrated the local police find out about the orders and abduct the men from prison, taking them to a militia house or office. When the British find out that the men are not to be released, they attempt to snatch them back. Despite having far superior firepower, they do not use the full force at hand. Instead they suffer causalities.

Could both the Iraqis and the British have handled it differently? Perhaps but it is clear that Iran has been working hard to ensure that the people aligned with them get into power in Basra. In fact one of the complaints of the locals there is of the militias illegally enforcing a strict interpretation of Islamic law and making life miserable for them. Both Syria and Iran do not care about Iraq sovereignty and will pursue polices to make life difficult for the US and British forces stationed there and to ensure that a regime is established that is aligned with their own beliefs.

This event was staged by the militia in order to create chaos and allow them to further their own agenda. The British are at fault for allowing the men to roam around as they did without stricter rules of engagement.

Colin Parkinson

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