Haditha war crime
Sir-- In 1942 during World War II, indictments were issued concerning alleged war crimes. They were known as the London Charter and were applied to Nazi officials at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. I believe their applicability with regard to the 19 November 2005 United States marine massacre at Haditha would qualify for such prosecution. The London Charter specifically prohibited "murder, ill-treatment of civilian population of or in occupied territory". Certainly the execution of 24 Iraqi civilians, that included women and children, would justify similar indictment for war crimes. The London Charter also declared that crimes against humanity would be punishable upon indictment and apprehension. This included "murder and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population". One of the measurements that the international community needs to monitor as it seeks peace and a greater avoidance of military adventurism is whether perpetrators of unjust wars and unjust acts in war, not required by military necessity, are brought to justice. The refusal of the United States to accept jurisdiction under the International Criminal Court does not bode well for such appropriate action against American war criminals.
Sir-- How many more massacres are necessary before the world wakes up to what Israel is doing to the Palestinians ('Another family down' Al-Ahram Weekly 15-21 June)? Unfortunately the world has run out of sympathy for the Palestinians. No one cares any more what happens to them.
Sorry is not enough
Sir-- The killing on the Gaza beach was a terrible, sad, inexcusable tragedy. I don't think that the Israeli government's apologies and offering of condolences (before any investigation took place) is adequate. I am not making any attempt to lessen the horror in any way. But amongst the questions still to be asked: Why were people allowed to fire rockets into Israel so close to a beach populated with civilians? Why didn't Hamas or the PA allow them to expose so many civilians to danger? Did they not think Israel would fire back?
Germany and America
Sir-- In my view Muqtader Khan's article 'Mosques with foreign flags' ( Al-Ahram Weekly 15-21 June) paints too rosy a picture of Islam in America, as opposed to Islam in Germany. Whilst the hoisting of national flags on mosques in Germany is unpalatable, the assertion that in America one can "be all you can be", even as a Muslim, seems difficult to fathom. The degree and extent of ethno-religious profiling that targets Muslims in America dwarfs any similar actions in Germany. The often vitriolic, Islamophobic diatribe that one reads in the media is more likely to emanate from American, as opposed to German authors. I would suggest that Americans as a loose grouping are more nationalistic than Germans, and just as nationalistic as the Turks. This can be attested by the flags that many Americans hoist in their homes, churches and schools. The American identity is certainly more heterogeneous and with no strings attached, as compared to the German identity. However, one should not overlook the impact of latent domestic Islamophobia in America which is naturally tied to international relations with the Islamic world.
We want out
Sir-- I have been reading some of your articles about the Iraq war ('What next Iraq?' Al-Ahram Weekly 15-21 June). In America we appreciate the free press. Other views are welcome and it's one of the things which we cherish about a free society. While I welcome the exchange of ideas I am deeply troubled by the anti-America slant you have in many of your articles. The view that America fabricates the war... to do what? That we plant car bombs in populated areas so we can blame other groups for killing civilians. Our county is not perfect to be sure. Our policies are sometimes not in the best interest of those we are trying to help but how can an educated society feel that Americans really want to even be in Iraq? Our soldiers in 99 per cent of the time are compassionate people trying to help. The normal soldier just wants to get the Iraq people to decide how to run there country and then go home to their families. Your articles do nothing in many cases but fuel the flames of hatred towards men and women who just want to go home. We just want all people to be free to run their country and do so in peace. Is that so hard to understand?
Sir-- 'The power of the imaginary' ( Al-Ahram Weekly 8-14 June) was very interesting. I would like to shed more light on the state of literature in the Arab world. It is still shackled by the fetters of government control. It's a shame people are still not free to express their views of a world as it is perceived by their imagination.
Sir-- I appreciate Hassan Nafaa's article about the situation in Palestine ('Referendum no solution' Al-Ahram Weekly 15-21 June). But simultaneously, why does he blame Israel? Israel is playing for its interests, not for the Arabs'. I totally believe that Israel has the right to look for its interests as any country would do.
Also, Hamas is being pressed by Fatah and Abbas as well as by Arab governments more than by Israel. I knew some Arab leaders would welcome talking with Olmert and avoid meeting any representative to Hamas.
Sir-- The decision to suspend all the activities of Zamalek club's president is a good step and more will have to be taken. It is about time to put an end to the chaos that has spread and which has deformed Egyptian sports. It was not only Zamalek fans feeling the insult and shame of Murtada Mansour's act but all Egyptian soccer fans. The suspension is the right decision to set matters right in this club after having reached such a disgraceful level.
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