Al-Ahram Weekly On-line
5 - 11 April 2001
Issue No.528
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875 Current issue | Previous issue | Site map

Come back, Blake

Sir- We could not agree more with Dr Reine Naggar when she wrote a letter to the editor (Al-Ahram Weekly, 15-21 March) saying how much she missed the articles by David Blake on musical events in Cairo. His articles testify to his musical insights and are always original and fair, but are also literary gems that are a pleasure to read. We hope he will continue his recovery and be back at Cairo's wonderful Opera House and on your pages very soon.

Beatrice and Radinck van Vollenhoven


Sir- I cannot comment on your progress since the establishment of your paper, since I only began reading Al-Ahram Weekly less than three years ago. Egypt and many of its people have progressed tremendously politically and economically since I first began visiting here back in December 1981. I have been living here more than five years now and it has been an uphill climb/battle trying to understand "my" people or the descendants of my ancestors.

In addition, I will say this: you really have given me insight into the problems Arabs have faced politically within their native lands, of which I was unaware (having been raised in the United States). I did not fully grasp that Israel's goal is total destruction of Palestinians or any and all Arabs who are obstacles to its "homeland plan." For years, immigrant Arabs in the US did not speak of the economic and political reprisals they faced back home and many of us American-born Arabs were oblivious of the specific reasons behind the discrimination we faced in the US. We really did not have a significant understanding of our roots or the Zionist agenda.

So because my understanding and reading of the Arabic language is limited, your newspaper has helped me understand how the Israelis have been destroying the lives of Palestinians and other Arabs throughout the past century and into this century.

But, your newspaper is not all politics, thank goodness. I am learning about new business ventures, trade issues, the internal politics of the Egyptian government and the occurrence of negative and positive social issues.

We, as Arabs (Christians or Muslims), would never even mention some of these social issues, let alone print them in the newspaper or discuss them on TV or radio. We cannot say we are proud of the negative ones, but we can say that we are hopeful because we have the courage to stand up and fight to make Egypt and all the Arab lands a better place to live.

The first step is to recognise our problems and shortcomings as a people and a nation and stop the covering up and the lying. Recognition and admission is the first step, then we can go forward with finding a solution.

So your paper helps its readers understand the issues so we can assist lawmakers in passing legislation that will eliminate the problems. Even though I do not have the right to vote, I care because I live here and I am an Arab. What happens to Egypt and the rest of the Arabs concerns me too. The way the Arabs are perceived by the US is the way I am perceived by the US. It has always been that way, even though I was born in the US.

Still, I think sometimes things are said in the paper that will convey an impression other than that you want to portray.

Great paper, great work; I always wait for the paper on Thursdays.

Shadia Omar

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