Al-Ahram Weekly Online   2 - 8 July 2009
Issue No. 954
Reader's corner
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Readers' corner

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How to send a message

Sir-- Being both ancient and Hungarian-born, I recently realised why the events in Iran have been so moving for me: they remind me of the Hungarian uprising in 1956, which I also watched closely from afar. There are two crucial differences, though: there is no Soviet army behind the theocracy, and there is the Internet and a computer-savvy population in Iran.

I have an idea of what one could do from the outside to help, and am not computer-savvy enough to know exactly how. This is to get the message across to as many people as possible in Iran that millions throughout the globe are with them.

What comes to mind is an old Amnesty International story about a man who was imprisoned by the fascists in Northern Italy early in 1945 under the suspicion of being in league with the partisans. After spending a long time in an almost dark cell in solitary confinement and expecting to be executed at any moment, he was on the verge of giving up hope. Then, a guard threw a loaf of bread into his cell, and, as he eagerly broke off a piece, a slip of paper fell out with just one word on it: coraggio, courage. Seeing this and knowing that there were people out there who cared restored his will to live. What we could do is to send this kind of encouragement from all over the world electronically.

We freedom-loving men and women, young and old, from all continents, are sending our prayers, love, and sympathy to all brave Iranians.

Tom Pick

Call it cash

Sir-- Your article 'Reinventing the wheel' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 25 June 1 July) mentions an increased use of barter due mainly to the advent of the computer and global data communications. There is no need for mediums of exchange between countries when we have the means of instantly accounting for and recording all trades of goods and/or services within the global trade system. Money needs to stop being treated as a commodity and go back to its lowly function as a system of accounting, period! If Russia sells China a million barrels of oil and China pays for it with a thousand containers full of plastic widgets, then record it as such and move on. Where is the need for so-called tangible money/currency?

When I read about countries outside the US sphere of influence working at deconstructing the US empire via financial manoeuvring, I am encouraged. I feel like there is hope for the world. However, when I read some of the suggestions of these other world leaders I have to wonder who they are really working for.

John Lodge

Just a deep voice

Sir-- President Barack Obama is a novice in serious matters of international foreign policy. For example, the Korean Peninsula. Obama's advisers are even more deficient in this area of experience than he. Only that Obama's advisers are devoid of any stalwart moral character.

Why is it that the entire world puts so much stock in this naïve fraternity brother because he has a deep voice is absolutely a mind-numbing mystery. The entire Middle East is facing a dark existential cloud unlike any in its 5,000-year-old history. Yet a bickering childish President Obama portrays the genuine nationalistic concerns of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as a "selfish endeavour". He insists upon obfuscating the peril with diplomatic statements of the obvious. This is an extremely dangerous diplomatic atrophy that Obama exemplifies at a time when leadership is needed most. The Middle East and the world are left wanting, sitting across the table from a vacuum vacant American leadership seat at the Iranian nuclear crisis table, a perilous situation that has never occurred before in the history of the United States. Unlike the US economy, Obama cannot throw wasteful mismanaged taxpayers money at this palpable problem and just hope and change it away.

Josey Wales

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