Sir-- As far as corporations killing for cash, if I may remind you, that right from the beginning Cain killed Able because Able had more than Cain did, so there is nothing new in that ('Corporations that kill' Al-Ahram Weekly 22-28 June). And as far as the Israelis using Caterpillar tractors or tanks or whatever, the result is the same. The object of the Israeli aggression is to take someone else's land and to kill or jail or silence anyone who objects. And any violence by the Palestinians is used as an excuse to do more of the same, as is evident by the reality on the ground. All the while the Israelis claim to be trying to make peace -- if only those people whose land they are stealing would stop objecting and fighting back. Can anyone else see the hypocrisy in this shameless land grab and what seems to be some sort of ethnic cleansing?
The way it happened
Sir-- Aren't Jews supposed to be smart? The one sure accomplishment of year-in year-out pulverising Palestinians is to ceaselessly remind the rest of the world of the unwholesome way Israel was made -- which is something Israel's supporters should not be anxious for everyone to review all the time.
Sir-- Most certainly the Arab world would not have had the same reaction if Pantsil would have pulled out a Palestinian flag ('Out of Africa' Al-Ahram Weekly 22-28 June). While Ghana is clearly a multicultural and tolerant place, the Arab world certainly doesn't seem to be. It is time for journalists around the Arab world to start looking inwards at their intolerant societies rather than finding offensive things in other people's perfectly natural rights to express their simple gratitude (in the case of Pantsil) or simply their religious persuasion. Surely these were not acts specifically targeted to offend anyone.
Sir-- I am one of many American Jews who recognise the suffering of the Palestinian people and the wrongs done to the Muslim world by Western power politics. If we look back through all of history we have wronged each other many times and usually the wrong doing is done by those who are most powerful at the time. Nonetheless, I am most disappointed when Muslim public behaviour is childish and mean spirited. A young soccer player waved an Israeli flag and Muslims denounce him. It is his country of work so why not? If another who works in Egypt or Iran had waved an Egyptian or Iranian flag no one would have said a word. You have the moral high ground on the Palestinian issue, but you undercut yourselves and those who support justice for the Palestinian people and the entire Muslim world when your news media behave this way. Focus on the issues.
Respect for religion
Sir-- The banning in Egypt of The Da Vinci Code, both book and film ('Black and white and Brown' Al-Ahram Weekly 22-28 June) highlights a certain respect for religions that is now unfashionable in the Western world. Many Westerners could not comprehend the outrage of Muslims over cartoons insulting the prophet. The banning of the novel will hopefully illustrate that respect of religion in the Muslim world is not only confined to Islam but indeed to all religions. Whether your readers agree or not with banning the novel, it so remains that the East is the East and the West is the West and to be different is understandable.
Avoiding the truth
Sir-- I agree. Banning anything has never helped anyone or any country ('Lethal code' Al-Ahram Weekly 22-28 June). Rather, it's one more reason to oppose the people in power in that country, especially if they no longer represent the majority's views. The subject of this commentary reminds me of present-day United States under the Bush administration. Banning books and films is just another way of avoiding open dialogue that could prove their ideologies wrong-headed.
Sir-- Thank you for giving some space to the memory of Ahmed Abdallah. He was a brilliant intellectual, a great speaker and a close friend. I deeply mourn his passing away. My thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues. I hope that Abdallah's social and academic work will be followed up.
Sir-- This administration misused our military forces and the people of Iraq ('Itching for a fight' Al-Ahram Weekly 22-28 June). They thought they could get away with it, but most Americans are onto them. I have had the pleasure to meet Greg Palast last week and heard him say what you have quoted. Many Americans don't know what to do about Bush because many lack valid information from the American media, as I'm sure you know. Operation House Call is going on in Washington DC, Monday through Friday, in front of the Cannon Building until 7 August, when Congress breaks for recess. There is a display of empty boots for all the soldiers and civilian shoes for the Iraqis who have died since the 15 June fake "debate" on Iraq, which took place in the White House. We are going to follow them home too. We are demanding our soldiers be brought home now. Having military families demand an end to the occupation is not good for neo-con business, but this insane war must end.
Not so close
Sir-- In 'Other Arabs' ( Al-Ahram Weekly 15-21 June), Professor Yunan Labib Rizk fails to make mention of Sudan when chronicling pre- revolutionary Egypt's ties with Arab countries. Had Professor Rizk included Sudan within his article, the rosy interpretation of Egypt's Arab relations would have been undermined. After all, Sudan was under British-Egyptian military and politico-administrative occupation and enforced domination for much of the period that Professor Rizk covers in his article.
Sir-- I don't see a good enough reason for the indignation that Mr Brown of Illinois felt having read only the first paragraph of Hamid Dabashi's 'Native informers and the making of the American empire' ( Al-Ahram Weekly 1-7 June). Mr Brown's frustration over what he sees as glaring mistakes in the article cannot in any way undermine the academic integrity and intellectual verbosity of the writer and his work. Mr Brown's rash decision not to keep reading and the concomitant damning conclusions on the article leave the image he tries to have us have of him as an upholder of the rule of academic law in serious doubt. I wish Mr Brown could break this "bad habit" of his to stop reading an article or a book halfway through or a little earlier for what he and nobody else assume as "blatant errors". Sir, Mr Brown has but himself to blame for the pleasure and knowledge he decided to forgo by declaring in feigned self-righteousness that Dabashi's article is not worth his or the readers' while.
Sir-- For 15 years, Somalia has been the epitome of a failed state. There has been no functioning government in the country since 1991, when the dictatorship of Mohamed Siad Barre was deposed. Since then the country has been sucked into a cauldron of lawlessness, clan warfare and misery. Life expectancy has declined dramatically and thousands of refugees leave the country each year. But there are signs that Somalia's power vacuum is, at last, being filled. A coalition of Islamist militias, supporting a group known as the Islamic Courts Union, took control of the capital, Mogadishu, this month, driving out the warlords who had carved up the city between themselves. The ICU's forces have since taken control of two other Somali towns. Somalia still nominally has an official government, led by President Abdullah Youssef, but this has no real hold over the country. The Islamists are now widely acknowledged as the dominant power in the land.
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