Coming up roses
In the space of a week, the world showered roses on Nelson Mandela on his 90th birthday while Omar al-Basheer was required to appear before the International Criminal Court, to be tried as a war criminal for causing the death of a million Sudanese.
This—in my opinion—implies that the international restructure is independent and unbiased, as evidenced when the former Serbian president was arrested and indicted for massacring Muslims in Serbia.
People under authoritarian regimes are oppressed; they have no wealth; they have no authority, nor do they have the power to change anything. Those people have to wait for heavenly justice. I say to these people: Do not be deluded into thinking that the intervention of the international community is tantamount to ‘foreign interference in domestic affairs’; quite the contrary. Oppression may be national and local, while justice may be international and foreign.
Sameh Lotfy Habil, Cairo
The green light
Violence and thuggery have long been the bane of Copts in all parts of Egypt. Violations do not stop at committing arson on people’s belongings, breaking up their homes or destroying their property, but have reached their peak with attacks on religious men and places of worship. Nobody appears to care much, except for the glittering facades of reconciliation sessions that follow sectarian attacks and serve only to ‘protect the image’ of Egypt. I have a perpetual question on my mind; what if the Muslims were the oppressed party? Would they accept such terrible conditions?
All Copts need is to live in peace with their fellow Muslims. In fact, Christianity’s message is to love our enemies and not fight back except with goodwill and benevolence. But since all officials and security men seem to care for is repeating blatant slogans of fraternity, and since many religious men in mosques are still propagating hatred and contempt towards the other, then the lights are still flagrantly green for all those criminals to exercise vandalism, theft and murder without any fear of a law that turns a blind eye. We need a true move to awaken our dormant conscience from its long latent position.
Maher Wahba, Minya
Sadly, some voices on the Internet and in the Arab press present a one sided version of the Palestinian case, focusing on a religious viewpoint as represented by Hamas, and rejecting or disregarding all national Palestinian resistance since 1948. No historian can ever ignore the patriotic role of Christian Palestinians such as George Habash and Nayef Hawatmah, or the Christian martyrs such as Kamal Nasser and Wadie Haddad. Many Christian Palestinians played key roles in bringing the Palestinian cause to world attention, and many of the Politicians carried the case to world circles, including Sayegh al-Naqqash, Edward Said, Azmi Bishara and Hanan Ashrawi, to mention but a few. Disregarding all these and others has served to reduce the case from a national into a Muslim one, with all the implications that this carries.
Youssef Helmy, Qoussiy
Even though Africa—including Egypt—can expect unstable weather conditions in the future because of climate change, in addition to water shortage owing to the perpetual increase in population, people are still heedless of the problem. Water is used to wash cars, streets and pavements, while water networks are not periodically maintained or repaired.
When Talaat Harb thought of building an Egyptian bank he called it Banque Misr—Misr is Arabic for Egypt. Every company for spinning and weaving, sugar refining and fertiliser manufacture set up at the beginning of the 20th century held the name of Egypt, but nowadays we don’t see any companies thus named. Corruption is like cancer, rapidly grown and widely spread. Corruption has attacked the foundations of places of knowledge and education exemplified in schools, universities and institutes. No wonder the young generations are vulnerable to currents of moral deterioration and society is suffering a severe blow to the standards of values and ethics.
Mazhar Naguib, Cairo
Good for you, Sawiris
Out of patriotism and humaneness, the Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris has set up a national project under the title “Egypt has earned its children”. The project aims at affording 2,500 job opportunities for relatives of the victims drowned while trying to reach Europe on ships carrying illegal immigrants.
Mr Sawiris’s project is clear evidence of his concern; a step that should be taken by the government. I am proud of his intelligence, and although I have never met him I wish to say, “good for you, Sawiris.”
Medhat Farid, Cairo
Ethical five-year plan
As with five-year plans to upgrade and advance the nation on economic, social and services levels, we need a five-year plan to advance the level of social behaviour and ethics. We need a moral revolution to get back to those noble values that are vanishing so rapidly.
If people adhere to the teachings of religion, their morals improve and their sins decrease. If people return to ethics with a good conscience, the corruption from which we suffer so badly would be greatly reduced.
Magdy Badie, Sohag
Watch out, please! The call to “go back to religious teachings” has been behind many an extremist movement. We need to differentiate between religion and religiosity, between religion as a source of spiritual peace and ethics which have more to do with a person’s conscience and code of conduct. People with no religion also embrace ethics and values.—The editor.