Al-Ahram Weekly Online   4 - 10 November 2010
Issue No. 1022
Reader's corner
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Readers' corner

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Strong on the MB

Sir-- I wholeheartedly congratulate and applaud Mubarak on his strong stance against the Muslim Brotherhood ('Solution under embargo' Al-Ahram Weekly, 28 October-3 November). Mubarak has shown the traits and convictions of a true patriotic leader in tackling this issue head-on.

The agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood, the use of religious slogans in elections, the pursuit of radical Islam and desire to impose Sharia laws will drag Egypt back to a draconian era that replicates modern-day Iran.

I am delighted that Egypt is slowly being transformed into a secular society that is independent of religious interference.

All Egyptians must utterly reject any discrimination in any form against any individual based on religion or creed. It is time for the NDP to demand that the Egyptian constitution be enforced in totality, with absolutely no religious undertones. The NDP should totally denounce and reject any call by any party to divide the country on the basis of any religion.

I believe Mubarak has the will and courage to restore Egypt to its former glory, a country of democracy and tolerance where everyone's rights are respected irrespective of their faith, creed, colour or origin.

Religion and politics are like mixing water with oil. They do not gel yet are perfect on their own.

Zaki El-Masri

UN impotence

Sir-- Re 'Bolstering the resistance axis' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 14-20 October) does Ahmadinejad really think that Israel wants the UN to provide "peace and security"? The UN couldn't even get Hizbullah to move a couple of miles off the northern border in the last skirmish. They just added their forces to the area so when the next skirmish comes, Israel will kill UN troops with the activists. The UN should set up a refugee camp in what's left of the West Bank so all Palestinians can be treated equally. No reason for Syria, Jordan and Lebanon to get to rope these people off and not the Israelis.

Karen Stall
New York

Back then

Sir-- I am 72 years old and still remember a Cairo where Muslims, Copts, Jews, Greeks, Armenians, Brits and other Europeans all lived in harmony. I remember the 1950s and early 1960s when walking in the centre of Cairo, one was as likely to hear English, French, Greek, Hebrew or Italian as one was to hear Arabic. Most corner grocers and café and restaurant waiters were Greeks, mechanics Italian, pharmacists English. The hotels and elegant cafés were mostly owned by Swiss and the big department stores by Jews. Tuning to Radio Cairo you could listen to English, French, Greek and Italian programmes in addition to the regular Arabic radio programmes. Each of these communities had their place of worship, cultural centres, hospitals, and retirement homes. Members of the different communities and religions lived together in harmony; they attended the same schools, went to each other's weddings and funerals, and had the same social activities. The only exception was that intermarriage was rare.

Butros Hanna

What we didn't know

Sir-- Re 'The sound of Iraq's whistle' (Al-Ahram Weekly, 28 October-3 November) some vital things are missing in the WikiLeaks Iraq report. Iraqi civilian deaths were far greater than Bush military officials publicly acknowledged. These include killings by other Iraqis, mostly in vicious sectarian violence, but also many previously unreported killings of civilians by US troops in what is sometimes called "the fog of war". Such killings are a central reason Iraqis turned against the American presence in their country, a situation that is now being repeated in Afghanistan.

The war involved an unprecedented surge in US reliance on private contractors to carry out the war.

US military brass turned a blind eye to horrible torture of prisoners carried out by Iraqi police and army officers, or at least by individuals wearing those uniforms.

Iran was actively involved in training, supplying and otherwise assisting Iraqi Shia militias carrying out armed attacks. Iraqis have long charged that they were caught in a "proxy war" between the US and Iran, one that continues today, and the documents support this.

Ahmed Abdel-Tawwab

Al-Ahram Weekly reserves the right to edit letters submitted to Readers' Corner for brevity and clarity. Readers are advised to limit their letters to a maximum of 300 words.

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