Al-Ahram Weekly Online   4 - 10 September 2008
Issue No. 913
Reader's corner
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Readers' corner

Serious visa people

Sir-- Re 'Unacceptable treatment' ( Al-Ahram Weekly 21-27 August), there is definitely no balance in the way Egyptians get their visas and the manner Europeans do. A European can enter and simply "buy" the entry visa at the airport for 15 euros. For an Egyptian, having a visa to the EU entails a mass of paperwork, bank account statements as well as guarantees. Are EU embassies treating Egyptians unfairly? I don't think so. The process might be complicated but it's straightforward and clear. There is little manoeuvring an EU embassy official can do to deny a visa if documentation is correct and complete.

The Schengen visa constitutes 25 countries today, and many people "shop" around trying to see cracks in the system and see which embassy is the easiest to trick, not knowing that the News SYSII has all shared data and information across the entire EU and Switzerland. I do not want to imply that any Egyptian applying for an EU visa is trying to go with an ulterior motive, but sadly we have to look at the reality of the day and that sums up the situation in economy terms.

Europeans are in large measure tourists and they come helping the economy spending their euros. I doubt that anyone will arrive to the shores of the land of Egypt to seek illegal employment or asylum. Given the official statistics, Egypt, after Iran and Pakistan, holds for the European Union the most number of forgeries, attempts at cutting the system and definitely trying to work, or as an asylum seeker, when travelling on the basis of a tourist visa.

Do Egyptians feel that they are badly treated? I guess they do, but Europeans never were "too warm" or like Egyptians who like to be "friends" from the first encounter. It might seem rude to Egyptians but from a European point of view, you are a visa applicant. Their process is emotions-free.

Farouk Mogheth

Occupation compensation

Sir-- Ever since Israel forced several countries to pay it back for the Holocaust, I have always wondered why Egypt never asks England and France to pay us back for their occupation of Egypt. Now that Italy has decided to pay Libya $5 billion for its occupation why can't Egypt take advantage of these events and ask both France and England to repay Egypt for their occupation? Why can't we ask Israel to pay us back for their occupation of the Sinai Peninsula? If we can get occupying countries each to pay Egypt as much as Italy paid Libya, we can collect more than $20 billion of very much needed money and recapture our dignity.

Waf'a El-Desoki

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