Sir-- Thank you for two interesting political analyses of the phenomenon of globalisation and international justice. I am referring to the articles by Mohamed Sid-Ahmed 'International justice' and 'Why the US will lose' by Abdul-Ilah Al-Bayaty ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 3-9 November). The first author shows how turning the moral authority for justice to the judicial branch of the government does very little to ensure justice after the harm of war is done. The author does not make any reference to Iraq. But Al-Bayaty shows how the injustice inflicted by the US invasion of Iraq is bound to fail. The case is being tried now in court as "lying deliberately to the American people about the weapons of mass destruction". Two-thirds of the American people now see what this administration has done in the name of protecting "security of the American people". It turns out that the war against Iraq brought more harm to Iraqis, the US, and the whole world. Can the judicial branch of the government undo the harm done? An official or two will take the blame and the administration will declare victory as usual.
Sir-- The article by Abdul-Ilah Al-Bayaty 'Why the US will lose' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 3-9 November) is a brilliant, comprehensive and precise exposition of the truth of the matter in Iraq. Unfortunately it will take a while for such rational thoughts to prevail -- it may even take a change of administration in America. Meanwhile, of course, it is the innocent who pay the price.
Sir-- In response to the article 'Treading a tightrope' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 3-9 November) it is my opinion that Western, more specifically US interest, in the investigation behind the murder of Rafik Al-Hariri is at best disingenuous. And the Mehlis report, used to implicate Syria's involvement in his assassination, should be questioned in light of Iraq's supposed "weapons of mass destruction" programme and forged documents from Niger sent to the US and used as evidence to launch the debacle in Iraq.
The mere fact that the US is pressing for rapid action on a UN resolution should send alarm bells throughout the international community. The push is yet another example of the Bush administration's shoot-first-then-ask questions-later philosophy. This tactic is a ploy designed to prevent a thorough investigation of the events surrounding Al-Hariri's death in order to avoid what will surely be another embarrassing instance of fixing the facts to fit another woefully misguided reason for war or (as we've seen in Iraq) destructive sanctions.
I also feel that 'Smoking gun or smokescreen' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 3-9 November) was on target and I could not agree more with the writer's points. I would however like to add one more factor which resulted in the creation of this report: the lack of support for the US and UK in the run up to the war in Iraq by the other members of the UN Security Council and Kofi Annan's statements challenging the legality of the war. It is of utmost importance that the international community understand that this is a politically motivated report, generated by the rage of America's religious right who are not only vindictive but also the most influential supporters of the current administration.
Sir-- Thank you for publishing Khaled Amayreh's 'The tragic continuum' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 3-9 November). Amayreh's eye-opening reports on Palestine are not published in mainstream American media outlets. The fact that such facts about blatantly racist Israeli injustice and stories about the very real plight of the Palestinians are not easily available to Americans is part of the tragic continuum that helps make this terrible situation possible. Thankfully more and more people worldwide are turning to the Internet and international news to find out the truth about that place so many call the Holy Land. Someday soon, I hope with all my heart, the Palestinian refugees will be welcomed home with full and equal rights and freedoms in the land of their birth.
Sir-- With respect to 'Standing by Syria' by Hassan Nafaa ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 3-9 November), his suggestion that Arabs unite is one of the best ideas presented. Divisiveness is exactly what the US desires, as it makes it much easier to deal with small powerless groups than with a united and powerful single entity. One of the greatest mistakes would be to allow them to divide and conquer piecemeal. Certainly some groups are less than desirable, but in the main, Arabs wish to co-exist peacefully with the world at large. Open the lines of dialogue rather than having them dictate terms. But dialogue must begin among Arabs first, and consensus reached among yourselves before you are able to deal with the outside world. Change is inevitable, but should not be forced upon you, when it is possible to reach that goal yourselves. It takes work and sacrifice, but the end result is much sweeter when brought about by your own hands than forcibly imposed by outside imperialists.
Sir-- Concerning Amin Howeidi's 'In Bush's mind' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 3-9 November) Mr Howeidi has the unusual power to divine what Mr Bush thinks and feels, a talent or skill usually reserved for the mystical and fortune-telling sorts.
Sir-- I was surprised by the tone of your article 'Too late for denials' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 3-9 November). You seem to assert that the play did in fact defame Islam, and you described it as offensive. But I gather from other reporting that the play actually criticised religious extremism, and that the claim that these church members insulted normative Islamic belief is untrue.
But this argument misses a much more fundamental point: freedom of expression. I should think that a journalist would be sensitive to the right of people to express their views, even controversial or "offensive" thoughts and feelings, without experiencing violence and persecution. The persons who reacted with violence are in the wrong, and it is they who should apologise. Ironically, they are confirming the accuracy of the play's statement about reactionary religious behaviour.
He's no Roosevelt
Sir-- 'In Bush's mind' by Amin Howeidi ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 3-9 November), is sadly and tragically accurate, at least from the point of view of this American reader. But his comparison of President Bush with President Theodore Roosevelt is as wide off the mark as the Nile Delta, as is his assertion that Roosevelt used "power" as freely and recklessly as President Bush has done. I could cite example after example taken from a recent, excellent biography, Theodore Rex. I will simply quote from President Roosevelt: "To announce that there should be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American people."
Sir-- 'A preacher puzzle' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 20- 26 October) is one of the most impressive pieces I have read in a long time. Amr Khaled's elegant manner, gentlemanly persona alongside his marvellous sermons about Allah's forgiveness and mercy have distinguished him from many other preachers who portray Islam as a demanding religion, prescribing behaviour that is driven more by fear of hell fire than by love of a merciful God.
There is no doubt that the role of such a moderate and enlightened preacher is crucial in combating "Bin Ladenism" and in protecting the young from falling prey to stateless terrorists who promise them a martyr's place in paradise or misguided zealots who insist on fuelling tension between Muslims and Christians.