5 April 2009
Millions of Egyptians should ask themselves why do we persist in fooling ourselves, continuing to live through situations that are flagrantly double standard?
We say we are against private lessons, while 99 per cent of Egyptian students take private lessons.
We say that seat belts are necessary for safety on the road, but most cab drivers do not use them; they just keep the belts across their chests for the benefit of traffic policemen who may otherwise fine them. The same may be said of the safety belt which is tied by the driver just before passing a Traffic Investigation point, or entering the Downtown area.
Our traffic law stipulates that taxis should have metres, and even though cabs do have metres, they are never used to determine the fare. This is agreed upon between driver and customer.
Some Christians insist that the Church should allow them to divorce and remarry, but insist otherwise that the Church should adhere to its conservative traditions.
Alfred Alfy, Cairo
Strikes are no solution
The global economic crisis, together with soaring prices and weak salaries in both the private and public sectors in Egypt, have left people unable to provide themselves and their families with a decent standard of living. To make matters worse, corruption and bribery are rampant social ills. In protest, workers—including those in the railway sector, the textile factories, the real estate taxes, and others have resorted to strikes. Even though strikes represent a democratic manner of protest, and no doubt embarrass the government, which ultimately gives in to the workers’ demands, they are deemed a passive solution. I believe the government would do better, however, to eliminate the reasons behind the protests by battling corruption and working to ameliorate the economic conditions.
Rifaat Younan, Samalout, Minya
A dangerous deficiency in our school curricula is the absence of the history of the Coptic or Late Roman period, the centuries before the Islamic invasion from history courses in schools. This can only be explained by a lack of understanding by those in charge of the path and stages of the Egyptian history. The Coptic era represents a link in the chain of the subsequent history stages where each evolves from the one preceding it and sets the stage for the following one. The history taught to our children in school is thus severely deficient. As for our universities, none boasts a department for Coptic Studies. Is it any surprise, then, that awareness of the Coptic tributary of the Egyptian identity goes largely missing? And is it strange that this leads to non-acceptance of Copts as Egyptian citizens equal to their Muslim counterparts? I think our school curricula require an overhaul.
Nabil Moawwad, Cairo
Leave judicial fees alone
Article 68 of the Constitution stipulates that every Egyptian citizen is entitled to judicial protection, that is taking any injustice that befalls him or her to court. The State and the judiciary, on their side, are responsible for making this right accessible to all. However, the bill currently proposed to increase the judicial fees poses a menace to those who need to take their cases to court, since it makes it an increasingly costly procedure. Moreover, it makes justice subject to financial ability, which in essence negates the very value of justice. The right to justice is no less than the right to education or healthcare, which are freely provided to all citizens. Once it costs a lot of money to obtain justice through courts of law, we can expect thuggery to flourish, since people will find it much easier to take the law in their own hands.
Sameh Lutfi, Assuit
Beware of oral exams
There has been much talk lately about making oral exams part of the requirements for passing the Thanawiyya Amma (Secondary School Certificate) exams, through which students qualify for university. Many correspondents, including myself, have repeatedly written that oral exams are the backdoor through which Coptic students are driven out of the elite student bracket and deprived of well-deserved top grades. The faculties of medicine, in which oral exams are mandatory, offer the best examples of such behaviour. Sir Magdy Yacoub, the world class cardiac surgeon who now resides in the United Kingdom is an obvious example of the injustice of oral exams. His professor gave him poor grades and told him he would never be a surgeon. If we wish to secure equality and justice in qualifying for university admittance, only written exams should be adopted.
Medhat Farid, Cairo