Sir-- Khaled Amayreh's 'Palestinians want more than words' ( Al-Ahram Weekly 10-16 December) is eloquently stated and requires action to end their unconscionable suffering under Israel's vicious occupation. President Obama's speech in Cairo earlier this year is fading fast into memory as a mere footnote of history while Israel's brutal and oppressive stranglehold over the lives of the Palestinian people persists unabated.
On the West Bank, particularly in East Jerusalem, Palestinian land is still being confiscated by illegal Jewish-only settlements. The siege of Gaza goes on mercilessly, and the very survival of its 1.5 million people is threatened by severe food shortages and unsanitary conditions. Palestinian civilians continue to be murdered by Israel's Armed Forces, arbitrarily arrested, interminably imprisoned and incessantly humiliated. These are all heinous acts of terrorism being perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinians but the Obama administration has so far done nothing to alleviate their plight.
If President Obama was truly an agent of "change" he would have already acted to stop these horrific injustices. I for one am proud to stand with the Palestinians against tyranny.
Russia's game plan
Sir-- Re 'High stakes Great Game' ( Al-Ahram Weekly 17-23 December), I think that Russia's willingness to let US/NATO supplies transit through its airspace and territory can be explained by a number of pragmatic considerations. If there is one thing which Russia does not want in Afghanistan it is a return to power of the Taliban. That does not mean that Russia wants the US to "succeed" in Afghanistan. By allowing US/NATO supplies to transit through Russia, Medvedev is making US/NATO dependent on a Russian "service", something which they can cut off literally in one minute. Having US/NATO soldiers and Taliban fighters kill each other far away from Russia is actually something very good for Russia as it weakens both of its enemies. By keeping the US/NATO efforts alive in Afghanistan, Russia also keeps the US involved in Pakistan. You could say that the US is in charge of security in Pakistan. Considering the truly immense potential for catastrophic developments in Pakistan, having the US in charge there as the hated policeman is not a bad calculation on Russia's part.
As the saying goes, victory has many parents, but defeat is an orphan. What could better weaken NATO than a jointly lived defeat? Somebody once said that while the Americans play monopoly, the Russians play chess. The only strategy which the Americans appear to be capable of is to grab as much land as possible and to make others pay for "transit". The Russians are preparing themselves for the best possible position on the board for the endgame.
Sir-- In the restaurant review of Don Quichotte ('Quixotic choices' Al-Ahram Weekly 5-11 November) we get a potted history of the development of Egyptian wine, in a very disjointed way, a list of what was ordered but no indication of the quality, taste, or presentation thereof.