The Financial Crisis
The financial crisis has exacted a toll on every part in the world. Democratic countries have candidly declared the effect of the financial crisis upon their economies and have set up plans and proposals to face it. Leading officials here in Egypt, on the contrary, have declared that we are a safe country and the crisis will have no harmful effect on our economy, companies and banks. Yet reports of the swiftly declining index of our stock exchange give the lie to all that talk. Are we, in the age of globalisation, that isolated from the world? Don’t we have any transactions and investments abroad, and don’t any foreigners have investments in Egypt? Our officials should learn to be more transparent and honest in confronting the crisis. It is no good to hide our heads in the sand like the ostrich.
Attiya Amir, Sohag
Responsibility of Coptic TV Channels
After I read about the Coptic conference in Cairo, I caught myself asking if we really are ‘Copts’. Language represents a significant foundation of any culture; how much do we use the Coptic language? Actually, never outside Church rituals. How many people in Egypt know the Coptic language, and how many are familiar with Coptic history, customs, habits and traditions? Syrian Christians own two TV channels that use the Syriac language, and the same is true in case of the Assyrian Christians. We hope that the Coptic channels will allocate more broadcast time for the essential foundations of Coptic culture.
Nagy Youaqim, Beni-Sweif
In government circles, a day’s a year
An old legend says that a king wished to teach his ass to read and write. He announced to his subjects that whoever undertook this task would be given a huge monetary prize should he succeed, and would be beheaded should he fail. Scientists and wise men stood aloof from such an unreasonable mission, but Goha, a legendary simpleton and adventurer, accepted the challenge provided he would be given a period of 10 years to teach the ass. To the amazed people who asked him how he could accomplish that, he replied that in 10 years’ time, “The king will be dead, I will be dead, or the ass will be dead. No problem.”
I remembered this story during a recent visit to Egypt. More than 15 years ago, the Qoussiya sewerage project was pledged. Until now the project has not been executed and the city is covered with garbage, dust and building residue. Repeated campaigns for local elections have promised that the Qoussiya project would be completed, but nothing has been done. It is obvious that local politicians are using the same logic that Goha used centuries ago.
Youssef Helmi, Paris
No end in sight?
I was tuned to Channel II of Egyptian national TV when I saw a talk show which hosted the famed Islamic scholar Zaghloul al-Naggar. Naggar was pursuing his favourite pastime of deriding the Christian religion—an activity he pursues through writing, TV talks, or on the Internet. He described the Bible as one full of trivialities, sneering that it relayed “greetings from Mum and Dad, and could you please bring me a souvenir from Jerusalem when you come home?”
The main problem with Naggar is that he has shifted from his original field of specialisation—that of promoting a modern vision of Islam—to circulating notions that achieve nothing but inciting hatred and disrespect between Egyptians of different religions. He circulated the rumour that Wafaa’ Qostantine had been killed at the desert monastery of Anba Bishoi because she had converted to Islam. In doing so he promoted savage threats by fanatic Muslims against several monasteries, which last autumn prompted them to close their doors to visitors for several weeks. I call upon the relevant authorities in Egypt to try Naggar for deriding the Christian religion and violating Article I of the Egyptian Constitution. Otherwise there does not appear to be any end in sight for deriding Christianity.
Sameh Sabry, Cairo