Sir-- I refer to the article by Mr Galal Amin ('Ferryboats and cartoons', Al-Ahram Weekly 16- 22 March) in which the author underlines the moral responsibility of the Italian company which sold the ill-fated Al-Salam 98 to an Egyptian company. In Mr Amin's opinion the ship was decommissioned "when Europe discovered that this type of vessel was unsafe". To this regard I wish to draw your attention to the following:
The ship Al-Salam 98 was sold in 1998 to Pacific Sunlight Marine Inc. At the time of the sale, the ship was fully compliant to international maritime standards.
Furthermore, between 2002-2004 the ship operated in European waters (Mediterranean) and in that period had no port state control detentions as it was considered perfectly compliant with international maritime regulations.
I believe this should be sufficient to dismiss any connection whatsoever between the dramatic accident and the Italian company which in addition can bear no responsibility of consequences of any mismanagement that may have occurred after the sale of the ship.
Sir-- Have you noticed how no matter what the United States does, it's never right? ('So why are you still here?' Al-Ahram Weekly 16-22 March). For the longest time, all Americans heard was how they have all this power and never help other countries. Now, as American soldiers are being sacrificed for Iraqi civilians, it's being said that Americans are horrible murders that have waged war against Islam, are there just to get oil, and have no legitimate reason to be there. Now that Iraq is on the verge of a civil war, it's again the Americans' fault.
President Bush made it quite clear what his mission is in Iraq: to get rid of Saddam Hussein and bring democracy to Iraq. Iraq doesn't have a stable government yet so the mission isn't complete. What kind of people destroy a country's government then leave before it's rebuilt? Regardless of whether Bush was right or wrong about the weapons, Saddam was a merciless killer and needed to be removed from power. People say that he wasn't a threat to the US but he had shown that to be not rue when he attempted to kill the former president Bush. I hope you realise that regardless of what you think of President Bush, not all Americans are horrible, murdering, Islam-hating warmongers. I'm just tired of reading about how horrible Americans are when most US civilians are genuinely concerned for the future of the Iraqi people.
Not in need
Sir-- The world in general has a poor opinion of the USA. Donald Rumsfeld's plan to counteract this is typically American. It's the foreigners fault for not understanding the US therefore they have, in effect, to shout louder by flooding the media with their views and explain more clearly what they want to do in the world. They fail to see that the world outside the US is tired of hearing what the USA wants. The world already understands the Americans only too well.
Perhaps if these egotistical, would-be saviors of humanity would try to understand the rest of the world. If they would listen for once, instead of attempting to force-feed their culture down the throats of non-American people, perhaps they would find that people who live in other countries than the USA are quite capable of taking care of themselves.
Denmark and Rwanda?
Sir-- Abdallah Al-Ashaal makes in 'In search of sanity' ( Al-Ahram Weekly 9-15 March) some general points about the Danish political climate. "Surely Danish officials must be aware that their country has become a flashpoint for xenophobic hatred and violence directed against Muslim immigrants. Surely they do not want their newspapers to fan the flames and generate a situation for Muslims similar to that which awaited the Tutsis in Rwanda."
The idea of comparing the discussion in Denmark to the situation in Rwanda is one of the reasons why most Danes have problems taking Muslims seriously.
Both national and international polls, as documented in a 1999 survey by the European Values Study of 31 European countries, show that Danes have some of the least xenophobic attitudes among European countries. A poll by the analysis bureau, Catinét Research, showed that more than 66 per cent of immigrants feel well integrated into the Danish society. If it wasn't so, how come Muslims are strongly critical of the changes that have been made in the family reunification policy?
Sir-- As an interested party in the happenings of the Middle East I found 'Ethnicity versus theocracy' ( Al-Ahram Weekly 16-22 March) very informative. I believe Mr Bradley hit the nail on the head when he brought out the subject of the US going into Iran to try to stop them going on with their nuclear power experiments. We need to leave this up to the UN this time instead of going in like we did with Iraq. Mr Bush needs to realise there are rules to follow in this world and they apply to our country and him also. If as a last resort, then we can do what Israel did before and eradicate the nuclear capability of Iran. Mr Bush knows how to do that and how it was done before. But talk first for as long as it takes and get the inspectors into Iran. Don't make the same foolish mistakes we made in Iraq, the lives of our people are too precious to waste.
Sir-- Who supplies Israel with the fuel for all its powerful weapons? I know my taxes pay for them and any complaints I make to my government get ignored. But someone nearby sells the fuel to make things go.
Sir-- In 'The enemy within' ( Al-Ahram Weekly 16-22 March) the author makes the following statement about the Red Mosque in Safed. "Approaching the ancient mosque two large signs are plastered near the carved stone entranceway. Bearing red Hebrew letters, one reads 'Church' with a large arrow pointing to the doors." The sign does not say "Church". In Hebrew, church is "kneseeyah". The sign on the Red Mosque says "kneesah" which means "entrance".
Sir-- In 'Palestine between Balfour and Straw' ( Al-Ahram Weekly 16-22 March) you cut to the very core of 40 years of military occupation -- the heart of the matter -- with one simple sentence: "We must look at them in the context of him representing the state that created the problem by giving what it did not own to a group who did not deserve it."
Bridging the gap
Sir-- I think it is a wonderful thing what Amr Khaled is doing, trying to bridge the seemingly ever-widening gap between Islam and the non- Islamic world. I am not a student of Islam, but believe that there is one God, and that Christians, Jews and Muslims all worship the same God. The difference is in how we do it. But your God and mine, being one and the same, must be saddened greatly to see how we fight over the "right" way to worship Him. Let us hope that Khaled's message will bring some sanity to this conflict. It would be wonderful if there could be an English version of his website.
Sir-- There is an enduring tenderness in the love of a mother to a son that transcends all other affections of the heart.
It is neither to be chilled by selfishness, nor daunted by danger, not weakened by worthlessness, nor stifled by ingratitude.
She will sacrifice every comfort to his convenience; she will surrender every pleasure to his enjoyment; she will glory in his fame, and exult in his prosperity -- and if misfortune overtakes him, he will be the dearer to her from his misfortune; and if disgrace settles upon his name, she will still love and cherish him in spite of his disgrace; and if all the world casts him off, she will be all the world to him.
The only thing bad she ever does to him is to die and leave him.