Give him time
Sir-- Despite worldwide joy, I am appalled by the degree of cynicism that yet remains about the election of Barack Obama, the first African-American, the first person of partial Third World descent, and first person of partial Muslim descent, as president of the United States.
Because of his ancestry and his apparent intelligence and strength of character, the hatred against Obama among right- wing elements in Israel and the West is unremitting and relentless. The right-wing agitprop in papers and talkbacks and blogs is intense.
All hope leads to the risk of disappointment, but it seems to me that if there is ever going to be any time that the suffering peoples of the world -- from Palestinians to equatorial Africans -- have a right to deserve to hope, even at the risk of disappointment, this is it.
All people of goodwill need to hope and help. Some suggestions -- or pleas -- about how: with our goodwill, a measure of our patience, and a measure of advance forgiveness of some of the errors, misjudgements, and frustrating zigzags that he undoubtedly will end up making.
Perhaps the biggest gift we can give him, and what he will need most in order to be able to do even a little bit about so many entrenched problems, is an ample and sufficient and forgiving allotment of that most hard-won of all commodities: time.
Sir-- On the prospects of the Obama reign, what can he do about the derivative meltdown? Nothing. The system is broken. And before long there will be riots in America and a new war somewhere, just for distraction, I fear.
Sir-- Congratulations on your balanced and complete coverage of Israel's dastardly killings in Gaza as they try to liquidate the remaining Palestinian resistance as part of one of the most brutal occupations in modern history. I would like to add a few points to Mustafa Barghouti's excellent exposition of Israel's slick media myths that have inundated the world, especially in the United States and Europe. ('Palestine's Guernica' Al-Ahram Weekly 1-6 January).
Hamas did not refuse to extend the truce with Israel that ended last month. Indeed it was willing to renew it if it was accompanied with ending Israel's suffocating economic closures and siege which started as soon as Israel left Gaza.
Israel's slick and slimy propaganda machine refers to Hamas fighters as "Iran-backed Palestinian terrorists..." even though neither Iran nor Hizbullah can in any way assist Hamas because of Israel's choking blockade.
Olmert, Livni and Barak (all with top-notch ethnic cleansing and terrorist lineage) went on the net and TV the first day of their treacherous attack to say how much they cared about the safety of Gaza's Palestinian civilians and that they were only trying to save them from the deprivations brought upon them by Hamas policies. These lies were augmented by more lies from the Israeli ambassadors to the US, UK and the UN, all the time emphasising how Israel has the right to defend its citizens in southern Israel from Hamas's rockets which have killed 20 Israelis in the last 10 years (half of them Israeli Arabs) whereas Israel has killed tens of thousands of Palestinians and Lebanese since 1982, and even more Egyptians since 1948.
Israel kills civilians on purpose and then blames it on Hamas, hoping that the civilians will turn against Hamas because of their plight. So much for Israeli ethical and moral standards, their respect for the Geneva Conventions, their much touted superior democratic and Western values, and taking extra care not to harm children and civilians.
On whose side?
Sir-- After reading 'The inconvenient truth about Gaza' Al-Ahram Weekly 8-14 January) I am curious as to whether or not Mr Doebbler accepts Israel's right to exist.