Sir-- I visited Egypt nine times in just over four years and have been living in Cairo for just over two and half years. Although I am not Egyptian I see the situation in a different light as the country I come from is not safe at all and that is one of the reasons why I am in Egypt -- because of its safety ('A safe place to live' Al-Ahram Weekly 16-22 November). All over the world countries have their problems and obviously in Egypt, because the lack of work and opportunities is an issue to a lot of families, stress becomes a problem. A person has to be in that position to understand and I sympathise with the local people as I know it is not easy especially if you are the only bread winner the family is dependent on to take care of them.
But besides all the above, Egypt is still one of the safest countries in the world and the Egyptian people are amazing and maybe if they just try to be more tolerant towards their fellow man it would help. The traffic and the number of people on the streets of Cairo while you're going to work in the morning is something that you have to experience and that alone is stressful.
I had many other choices of countries to settle in but I fell in love with Egypt.
Times have changed
Sir-- So true, this article. I'm a foreigner, living here for more than 10 years. In the beginning I felt safe and most welcome. But now, through the years, I see more and more violence, sometimes right in front of me. In touristic places, it is a struggle to do your shopping. Shopkeepers, mini- bus drivers and people on the streets are bothering tourists, especially women. I drive a car, and often I see accidents, along with the shouting, screaming and beatings. You hear the anger and you see it.
Men in the street think they have the right to touch you. The behaviour of the men on the streets is not normal. There is no respect anymore. And tourists are complaining.
Joan van Elsen
Sir-- Is it not time to stop cheering for our third degree football players and pay attention to our mothers and sisters who cannot walk the streets in peace and in plain view of security officers? It nearly drives one to tears to imagine that we cannot enjoy the most basic of human rights in our beloved country.
Sir-- There has been much talk about Kirkuk lately ('Divided they fall' Al-Ahram Weekly 16-22 November). Turkey is at the forefront of those voices objecting to the implementation of Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution. This is considered by Kurds as interference in Iraq's internal affairs. Regarding Kirkuk and Kurds, they are committed to Iraq's unity and its constitution. Historically Kirkuk has been part of Kurdistan as it is geographically. We challenge those who claim otherwise to come up with the proof against mountains of evidence that support Kurdish claims. If Kirkuk was not Kurdish why would Saddam Arabise it? Read the formation of Iraqi state history in 1921 and the annexation of southern Kurdistan in 1926 including Kirkuk. Kirkuk was Kurdish before the Ottomans and before the establishment of Iraq and Arabisation.
Sir-- I felt a great degree of disappointment reading 'The heart of the matter' ( Al-Ahram Weekly 16-22 November). Ahdaf Souef mentions Zionism again and again. There are often times when your editorial columnists repeat the same rhetoric. What is Zionism? I don't know. Most Israelis I meet here in New York don't know either. They're Israelis. Simple. De-humanising people to the level where you call them Zionists seems to be the same tactic that the US uses when we kill people and call them 'Islamo- fascists'. Empathy is indeed important but it goes both ways.
Sir-- The stereotypical portrayal of any group of people should be roundly condemned ('When they cry wolf' Al-Ahram Weekly 16-22 November). Crude portrayals of Arabs and Muslims in the West (not only in Hollywood) have a long, repulsive tradition. Just as repulsive is the frequent portrayal of Jews in Arab and Muslim media. Whether in the Egyptian television series Knight Without a Horse that depicts Jews in the most diabolical manner, or the frequent commentary on Arabic TV and radio about how Jews are descended from "apes and pigs", or that they are the most deceitful and treacherous people ever. Anti-Jewish cartoons in the Arabic press are so similar to those once found in the media of Nazi Germany that Goebbels would be proud.
I hope that Ms Abdel-Aziz can turn her critical eye to the racists and xenophobes within Arab society as well. Otherwise, her protestations would amount to nothing more than partisan finger pointing aimed at scoring propaganda points.
Sir-- Why do Arabs always wallow in ridiculous conspiracy theories ('The puppet's last dance' Al-Ahram Weekly 16-22 November)? When will Arabs as a culture finally stop pitying themselves and become a mature, thoughtful, rational force in the world? Instead they resort to... blaming others, religious bigotry, and playing the eternal victim.
Chance goes begging
Sir-- I find it ironic when I read that the incursion into Gaza is because of rockets raining down on Israel, then have the Palestinians complain that the Israelis are retaliating as if they were not supposed to protect themselves... Palestinians were given a golden opportunity to create a better life for themselves after Israel pulled out of Gaza. But instead they have made life worse, sending rockets into Israel. Then they complain to the UN when a severe response ensues.
For 60 years the world has asked Israel for restraint without slamming the actions of the neighbours of Israel who created this atmosphere of chaos.
Sir-- It is an indisputable fact that former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was ousted by Allied Forces (based on an obnoxious course of events and by unwarranted and uncalled for interference in the sovereignty of an independent nation), waging war, leading to the loss of innocent human lives and massive destruction. There is a strong case for appeal to the International Court of Justice.
Sir-- As for that former butcher of Baghdad, I can only say hang him tomorrow if you can.