Al-Ahram Weekly   Al-Ahram Weekly
27 May - 2 June 1999
Issue No. 431
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875 Index of issues This week's issue

Front Page
Barriers beyond the Web

Sir-The article entitled Internet or Bust (Al-Ahram Weekly, 20-26 May) got carried away with the possibilities of e-commerce in Egypt. While the Internet itself knows no barriers, the goods that are sent certainly do. To say that "the Internet has lifted geographical barriers to the extent that it is no longer a matter of relevance" is not true. As a publisher and exporter of books, we are only able to supply small orders from outside Egypt through a distributor holding stock in the UK, which naturally puts the end cost up. We learned from painful experience that sending goods via the Egyptian Post Office only led to delays and, in many cases, lost goods. For goods coming into Egypt there is the double hurdle of the Post Office and the Customs to overcome. The buyer may find him/herself charged more than the value of the goods, simply to release goods that should -- as personal purchases not intended for resale -- carry no customs at all.

Andy Smart

All too human

Sir-Fayza Hassan's Pot Pourri column "A more humane way", in your 8-14 April edition, expressed my feelings exactly. The way animals are treated in Egypt is appalling.

It would seem obvious to anyone that animals have feelings just as we do. In the Hadith the Prophet Mohamed says that in order to go to heaven you must be kind to animals.

Some people say that since so many people are poor and can hardly take care of themselves that they cannot be expected to care for their animals. It is one thing to be unable to give your animals the best of care, but it is quite another to be deliberately cruel. All living creatures deserve respect and humane treatment, not just human beings.

I think the only way that attitudes of people can be changed is to start educating children in the schools at a very early age.

I wish there were more articles like this one.

Patricia McDonald

Book worm heaven

Sir-Hearty congratulations on your new monthly book supplement! As one of your oldest readers (if not the oldest) and something of a bibliophile, I am delighted.

I have always had trouble keeping abreast of what was being published in Arabic and now you have given me the opportunity to plug large gaps in my store of knowledge!

I do not have any trouble with English language books, though, as I subscribe to several book magazines in the UK, of which the Good Book Guide serves my purpose best. And Hatchards and other leading bookshops supply me with their seasonal catalogues, so I cannot complain.

I wish you the best of luck with your new supplement.

Mamdouh El-Dakhakhni

Tipsy turvy

Sir-"The Gouna Beverage Co. announced the launch of Sakara Premium, the first authentic Egyptian beer brand name since the times of the Pharaohs." (Al-Ahram Weekly, 22-28 April). Capital!

Now, the correct pronunciation is 'Sakkara', with a double 'k'. In Arabic, 'Sakara' means (notice that) drunkards!!

Mahmoud Hussein Hegazi


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