Not a minority
Sir-- I refuse to be called a minority! After the sad Alexandria incident, we -- the Copts -- have been repeatedly defined as a "minority". What is a minority? This division of minority and majority should disappear if we really want to help the unity of Egypt. The word and attitude of a "minority vs majority" will keep on stirring anger between the Egyptians. The real solution to this problem is that the words "majority" and "minority" should disappear. Both should be treated as equals. Parliament should hold a contingency of equal number from both religions.
I never felt segregated in my country until the last events developed because my best friends since school are veiled Muslim and amazing girls. They are the real friends I have and we celebrate both religious events together. I never felt the difference -- until I was called a minority.
Sir-- I perused with interest your article 'Calm before the storm' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 27 October-2 November). As a Copt who lived in Alexandria for four years spanning the late 1950s and the early 1960s, I am disappointed, indeed dismayed at what happened. This is something totally alien to what I then experienced during my years of university study. Any investigation of the reasons behind what happened should have wide-ranging terms of reference. This should include the state of education -- or rather the lack of it -- as well as political motives of those with vested interests. One cannot gloss over socio-economic issues either.
Your article made a reference to the lady who was at the centre of some controversy not so long ago, Wafaa Costantine. She was referred to as a "bishop's wife", a gross inaccuracy. Bishops in the Orthodox Church are ordained from the ranks of monks who never marry. The truth is that she is the wife of a priest. To ordain a priest he must be married.
Sir-- As an expat patriotic Egyptian who loves Egypt and all its people, and despite living abroad for more than 35 years, I and plenty more like me are always at a loss to understand why these shameful events like Moharam Bek take place at all. Can someone tell me what has changed? In the 1919 Revolution we Muslims and Christians alike, marched together, died together and loved Egypt together. Egyptians fought off the British "divide and conquer" doctrine and, I hope and pray, will fight off similar doctrines wherever they come from, for the glory that Egypt deserves.
I believe that in the present world-wide anti- terrorism environment such actions not only tarnish the image of a peaceful and kind Egypt but puts every Egyptian in the pro-terrorism camp, which is neither fair nor true. I believe we need grassroots leadership to actively promote what we Egyptians are famous for, kindness. Let our religions guide us to love, care and kindness to each other. We are all Egyptians.
In a world-wide environment hostile to extremism and terrorism, the last thing Egyptians ought to be doing is appear to be terrorising each other.
Hear the message
Sir-- Will things ever be the same again? It is a sad state that we cannot love each other, as we are all the children of God, and of one nationality. If we respect each other, and give liberty to each citizen to truly worship the great and merciful God, then we have to act mercifully to each other, and show respect to each other. If religion incites such an uproar it is neither a religion of Christian love, nor a religion of peace as Islam teaches. When we start to hear this message from the mosque imams, and church pastors, and to denounce any call for hostility and rivalry, then the atmosphere in Egypt will change. Let us all work together, both government officials and religious leaders. This should be our goal before we embark on any local election that might inflame these underlying animosities.
Sir-- As the UN considers action against Syria for allegedly not cooperating in Rafik Al-Hariri's assassination, let it also consider pressuring the US regarding illegal wars where hundreds of thousands are unjustifiably "assassinated" as collateral damage and the life-lines of entire cities are cut off to force mass evacuations. Let the UN also pressure Israel for its numerous, well- advertised, extra-judicial assassinations of Palestinians, not to mention the over-50 years of UN resolutions that Israel has been violating and disregarding, supported avidly by the US.
The pressure on Syria proves once again how the higher immorality, the impersonal yet massive corruption of the US elite operate: the assassination of one person (Al-Hariri) can be used in order to cause misery, suffering and death to millions by economic sanctions and deprivation, helped by the so-called "international" bodies like the UN. Even though the conservatives in the US consider the UN with suspicion, the UN by its actions and what it considers important and unimportant, proves itself to be just another agency for legitimising US global hegemony, through its many "rackets" of global partnership.
Said the best
Sir-- Thank you for continuing to publish the work of Abdel-Moneim Said 'Better late than never' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 27 October-2 November). I have no idea how he managed to rise to his position when he seems to disagree politically with every other Arab in the known world, but it is a credit both to your newspaper and to the Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies that his voice continues to be heard. He is the lone voice of dissent and, in my opinion, reason, among your regular contributors (Mohamed Sid-Ahmed occasionally accepted). And it is only the hope that one day he will succeed in persuading at least some of his compatriots to re- think their positions that allows me to continue to read your paper without suffering an aneurysm. 'Better late than never' includes reasoned and thoughtful analysis of the likely role that Iraq will play in the future Middle East and of the most rational and potentially fruitful response for the Arab League and its component states: accommodation.
In the end, I am convinced that the Arabs will adjust to the new Iraqi reality much as Said suggests they will, but not without plenty of high- pitched sloganeering first.
Sir-- From looking at the various governments that have condemned Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's call for Israel to be wiped off the map, you would think that his statement was unexpected. But Iran has been calling for Israel's demise ever since Ayatollah Khomeini led a coup that deposed the shah of Iran back in 1978. Ever since, the Iranian government has been waging a low-level war against Israel.
How dare you
Sir-- It is a big farce [for America] to say to the Arab people that you want only their good, 'Push and push' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 27 October-2 November). Your government (I should say your big corporations) destabilises other governments to dominate their economies.
Where are you coming from to state you are the best to export and impose your way of life on others? Open your eyes and look at the other side of the story. You might be able to look at yourself in a mirror and not be ashamed of what you are saying to others.