Don't pay attention
Sir-- Whenever I hear someone denigrating Zahi Hawass, I simply tell them that nothing speaks louder than results ('What can I do?' Al-Ahram Weekly 21-27 May). Prior to the time of Hawass, discoveries were sparse and not very well covered or documented. But just look at the sheer number of very important discoveries over the last 20 years -- it's staggering. There is more being done, more being published, more getting out to the public than ever before.
There is also more cooperation. Because of the energy and enthusiasm of Hawass, a whole new generation of kids now want to be archaeologists and Egyptologists. Because of his love for Egypt, there is more cooperation and more digs and discoveries are being made almost daily.
So I hope he will not be put off by any of this nonsense. The work he is doing is too important. I say bravo to Hawass. There is nothing else you could, or should do. You are already doing everything right. It is unfortunate that we live in a world where shallow, envious persons seek to knock down anybody who stands up for something and who accomplishes something. These grumblers are small people. None of them has a legitimate complaint or concern.
Only when they're ready
Sir-- "The rest of the detainees must either be released, transferred to other nations or tried by civilian prosecutors in US federal courts" ('Action, cut!' Al-Ahram Weekly 21-27 May). Really? Why? Who says so? Who's going to make them? And, please, do not insult our intelligence with the Bill of Rights or the constitution or international law. The reality is that nothing has to be done, nothing has to happen unless the powers that be so desire it. They'll do what they want, when they want and how they want it. And, yes, Guantanamo can stay open forever and the detainees can be in legal limbo and showered with American-style hospitality till the day they die (whether it be of natural causes or at the hands of their torturers) and there isn't anything anyone is going to do about it.
What Mbeki left behind
Sir-- The legacy of the Mbeki presidency will be one of corruption, mass illegal immigration, murder, nepotism, selective justice and racial division caused by racism. It is arrogantly presumptive, hypocritical, self-righteous, cowardly and a desperate attempt to try to shift the focus from the dismal failures of the former ANC president and most of the current executive to members of minorities. I do not believe, as Mbeki clearly did, that most black people in this country are stupid. This is typical of the statements South Africans have come to expect from the former president. The use of the term African to refer only to black people is racist. Whites, Indians, Coloureds, Arabs and Chinese people, among others, are also African. They see for themselves and comment daily on the worthlessness of the former executive. The hard reality is that the racist conviction that Africans are naturally prone to corruption, venality and mismanagement persists.