Staying in Power

4 minute read

Your article on the Egyptian revolution is a precise analysis of the situation [How the Military Won the Egyptian Election, July 9]. The military junta is trying to implement the old system of mutual benefits with the old guard, media and businessmen. I served in the military for 20 years and, yes, as one professor is quoted as saying in the article, “They think they have the right to rule. There’s an incredible arrogance in their mind that they are better than anyone else.”
Hisham Farouk Moustafa, CAIRO

The authors missed an important point: the military rulers could not have survived without the support of the U.S.
Razi Raziuddin, ISLAMABAD

Hong Kong’s New Leader
I read “Alone on the Hill” [July 9] with a great deal of interest. I lived in Hong Kong for six years as an expatriate and saw Governor Chris Patten off in 1997. Some opted to leave the territory around that time, but most people I worked with stayed put. The overall impression I got from this piece is that the past 15 years of “one country, two systems” have turned out to be more of a success than a failure. And the closing sentences of the article, saying the new Chief Executive will now rule from the place his father had guarded, were so heartening that they brought a tear to my eye.
Kimiya Yamashita, YOKOHAMA, JAPAN

The most difficult challenge facing Leung Chun-ying is to pave the way for the full direct election of the next Chief Executive in 2017 and to make Beijing feel comfortable with democracy in Hong Kong. If Leung accomplishes this, Hong Kong will trust him — and the world will trust Hong Kong.

The Online Classroom
Salman Khan’s approach to learning works on a number of levels [Reboot the School, July 9]. Think of how many man-hours are duplicated by teachers preparing similar material for classroom delivery that ranges in quality. Khan’s initiative (and others like it) would free up huge resources in a labor-intensive service to support students learning at their own pace and give them access to a range of alternatives explaining similar themes. The public nature of the YouTube videos ensures greater quality control. Teachers could become much more effective in monitoring and managing student outcomes rather than simply regurgitating what many thousands have done before them.

People’s enthusiasm for technology often makes them forget the human side of things. School is not simply learning some skills but also involves learning social rules and getting used to dealing with people from different families and different places. This opens minds. Remember the old nobles: they used to be educated by teachers one-on-one, and they grew up without contact with ordinary children of the same age. No wonder that as adults they weren’t capable of understanding the suffering of common people.
Marco Schiattareggia, BERGAMO, ITALY

Breathing Easier
At last, an appropriate exposé of the continuous-positive-airway-pressure machine, or CPAP, that treats serious sleep apnea [Nightmare Scenario, July 9]. While some might swear by it, all the people I know who use this expensive equipment discontinue its use quickly, and the stuff gets stored in a closet. As John Cloud’s article states, the important part is the oxygen, which can be delivered as effectively for many with a plastic nasal tube running all night at a specified dosage: quiet machinery, no large mask, for half the price.
Jane Sevastou, AEGINA, GREECE

Rail’s Resurgence
Re “Back on Tracks” [July 9]: The small graphic at the top of the page says it all, showing the twofold factor of more efficient fuel consumption achieved by rail over truck transportation. Does this fact alone not make it compelling for many countries around the world who have neglected their rail infrastructure to now change? The choked roadways in many countries, overburdened with freight, point also to our obsession with getting to places as quickly as possible.

Heat of the Moment
Reading “Risk Factor” [July 9], I feel that the author is trying to diminish the outrageous mismanagement of money worldwide. It sounds as if hormone levels are responsible for the greedy and insane drive to make money, gamble and cheat.
Gisbert Mulach, FRANKFURT

Fond Farewell
Tom Hanks’ moving obituary for Nora Ephron has enabled me to understand a remarkable woman [Appreciation, July 9]. He has encapsulated her personality with his wonderful descriptions of her interactions with him and others.

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