Al-Ahram Weekly Online   17 - 23 September 2009
Issue No. 965
Reader's corner
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Readers' corner

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Pot to kettle

Sir-- In 'But did it happen?' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 3-9 September) Jonathan Cook writes, "Again, charges of anti- Semitism obscure grievous allegations levelled against Israeli officials." The reality is that there are no facts to back up the allegations. Would Egyptians call it racist and Islamophobic if someone published reports claiming Egyptians were engaging in this sort of behaviour with this scant evidence? Absolutely! Would Al-Ahram be willing to publish baseless accusations against Arabs and Muslims as though they were probably true? Of course not. Yet you claim the charges of anti- Semitism are invalid. Hypocrisy! And it is ironic that Muslims and Arabs are the first to level charges of bigotry when Europeans accuse you of being disproportionately involved in crime and terrorism. Yet you label them racist and Islamophobic, even when, unlike in this case, there are concrete facts to back up these accusations about Muslims and Arabs. In America we call this the pot calling the kettle black. And it seems to summarise Muslim and Arab society at every level, including the media such as yours.

Jack Straw

One state deplored

Sir-- Khaled Amayreh is way off base with his op-ed 'Mocking Obama' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 10-16 September). While the world thought Obama would champion justice, Israel has proven that his words are meaningless. It's a shame to see such a talented and dynamic Palestinian writer dedicate so much energy towards undermining Obama and the huge international push for a two-state solution. Former US president Jimmy Carter did not endorse the one-state agenda at all. In fact, he pointed out that it was a "deplorable" alternative. Carter wisely pointed out that the one-state agenda "is obviously the goal of Israeli leaders who insist on colonising the West Bank and East Jerusalem."

Anne Selden Annab

Right to release

Sir-- The release of Mr Al-Megrahi is not only according to Scottish law; it is an internationally acknowledged humanitarian principle to release seriously ill or dying prisoners to spend their last days in their own environment.

Recently Dutch Queen Beatrix pardoned a terminally ill prisoner who had committed a double murder.

Therefore I was shocked by American indignity over the release, from President Obama, State Secretary Clinton, followed by FBI chief Mueller.

Apart from the poor US human rights record, bombing the Libyan cities Tripoli and Benegazi in 1986, with more than 100 civilian death, the denial of a dying prisoner to spend his final days in his own environment is not only inhuman but a step backwards to the Dark Middle Ages.

The Lockerbie bombing in 1988, in which 270 civilians died, was a heinous crime and had to be punished. But since Mr Megrahi has served his punishment in jail and is dying, his release is a matter of common humanity and civilisation.

According to human rights values, all seriously ill prisoners should be released, regardless of the crime committed.

Astrid Essed
The Netherlands

He wasn't there

Sir-- I read your article 'Exercising Entebbe' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 10-16 September) with interest and I must say I found it well written. But, on the said presence of the former US ambassador to Ethiopia Donald Yammamato at the Butajira Centre of Excellence for Agriculture, I would like to correct you. Mr Yammamato did not attend the ceremony. For whatever connotation his presence may draw to your analysis, this is a mistake.

Silat Tikse
Addis Ababa

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