Al-Ahram Weekly   Al-Ahram Weekly
16 - 22 December 1999
Issue No. 460
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875 Issues navigation Current Issue Previous Issue Back Issues

Front Page
Refreshing honesty

Sir- I am a British citizen currently residing in Cairo. I have always enjoyed reading any articles or comments by Edward Said, to the point of simple ecstasy, if I may use the term in this context. His honest and sincere experience in life, particularly coming from a Middle Eastern background, where talking about one's life in such an open manner is traditionally not acceptable, is always refreshing (Al-Ahram Weekly, 2-8 December).

Sadly, I cannot buy or even find his book Out of Place in Egypt. To ask a reputable book shop in London for a copy will cost me a fortune, which unfortunately I do not have at the moment. But I feel lucky Edward Said allows me from time to time to read an extract from it. For this, thank you.

Zora Al
Garden City

Advocating Assiut

Sir- I was disheartened by what Madame Sosostris wrote about Assiut in Al-Ahram Weekly of 25 November - 1 December. If I hadn't lived in Assiut for more than half a century, I would have imagined that it's just a poor governorate, still living in the ignorance and darkness of the Middle Ages, the inhabitants of which are all thugs known only for "their violent clashes with the authorities".

Is it Assiut which has "few landmarks, little economic activity and little scope for the kind of educational interaction that is so important for the development of young minds"?

Who put this nonsense in your head, Ms Sos?! Don't blame the black cloud.

Nemr Mehanni Aziz

Party time

Sir- I am writing in response to what Amin Iskandar wrote in your esteemed paper under the title "Unity and democracy" (Soapbox, 2-8 December). Perhaps Mr Iskandar has the right to be very enthusiastic about the formation of the new political party Al-Karama, of which he is a founding member. The question now is: Will the new party really come up with something new? Do we really need any more parties in Egypt? What have the existing political parties done so far to serve the interests of the public and solve their persistent problems? Isn't it true that the slogans raised by political parties are almost the same? Do ordinary people take part in political activities?

The problem is that each party claims to have the support of the grassroots, but the reality is that political parties in our country are acting under false pretences. Even the atmosphere of democracy is not a healthy one. Democracy is a word all politicians use, and very few seem to understand. A man goes into politics with a bright future and comes out with a horrible past. And if we could use the money political parties spend on things that have nothing to do with the people, we could cure a lot of the ills they complain about.

The painful fact is that the general political malaise in Egypt is causing people to refrain from taking an active part in political activities. We have got to find out what is really causing the rot in the whole political system.

Essam Hanna Wahba

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