x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

A bumpy stroll

Walking in Abu Dhabi is hard enough, but for those pushing a baby stroller or navigating a wheelchair, it can be impossible, a reader says. Other letter topics today: encouraging Emirati doctors, Dubai's dangerous cat policy, and the targets of far-right hatred.

Abu Dhabi is an island of obstacles for pedestrians of all types, a reader says. Philip Cheung / The National
Abu Dhabi is an island of obstacles for pedestrians of all types, a reader says. Philip Cheung / The National

I'm glad the issue of walking in Abu Dhabi is being addressed (Capital is an obstacle course for pedestrians, March 26).

In my experience, one of the hardest things to do in Abu Dhabi is to walk with a pushchair. Many places have extremely narrow sections of pavement separating the road from parking areas, and no ramps, which means that the walk is uncomfortable for pusher and child, not to mention dangerous.

Where I live in Al Mushrif, some of what should be pavement is filled with sand or grass. You can't push anything with wheels on sand, and grass is very hard going. So you end up pushing the child in the road - not very safe at all.

Wheelchair users must have an even worse time of it; maybe that's why you hardly ever see any.

Tracy Bensabai, Abu Dhabi

Walking in the footsteps of who?

This is in reference to your news story and online quiz, Walking in the footsteps of Thesiger (March 27). As far as I know, Adrian Hayes is not the first to retrace Wilfred Thesiger's footsteps. Jamie Clarke and his colleagues did this in 1999.

Name withheld by request

Future doctors need support

An Emirati graduate fresh from medical college in the UAE makes as much as an Emirati receptionist working in a private or a government entity (Lack of trust 'hurts health care', March 29).

Why, then, would an Emirati spend seven years of their life to become a doctor and end up being paid on the same level as a receptionist?

Money is not the only concern. Parents don't encourage young people to take on a noble profession like medicine. They believe business, management or similar professions are better.

Simply put, neither the government nor parents are supportive of increasing the number of Emiratis in the health sector.

Name withheld by request

I think the issue is not just population, but also that the majority of patients assume foreign doctors are better trained and have more experience overseas.

Let's be honest: a lot of those who can afford medical care overseas do go abroad, as in many cases it is also cheaper even with airfares and accommodation included.

Aziza Al Busaidy, Dubai

Feral cats victims of poor policy

This letter is in reference to Dubai's decision to fine people for feeding cats and the ongoing campaign against the stray cat population of Dubai, deemed a danger to public health (A starvation policy for stray cats and a fine for compassion, March 21).

As animal lovers, we at Feline Friends are surprised and shocked at this law.

Other emirates, such as Abu Dhabi, have implemented new ways of coping with the stray cat population by using trap, neuter and release programmes and opening shelters to house them.

Feline Friends believes that the best way of controlling the stray cat population is by birth control. We actively encourage and perform trapping, sterilisation and release of the stray cats that live and forage around the streets of Dubai.

We urge Dubai Municipality to continue its sterilisation programme, neutering and returning the cats to the same area where they were trapped. Apart from benefiting from the stray cat population because they are essential to rodent control, neutering is also a much more humane option to control the stray population than starvation.

Another means of reducing the stray cat population, apart from neutering, would be through education and imposing stricter rules on pet-selling regulations.

Large numbers of cats are abandoned in the streets by irresponsible owners who leave Dubai or simply do not want to keep their pet anymore.

If more people would adopt a cat instead of buying from the pet shops, there would be fewer strays on the streets of Dubai.

Lesley Muncey, chairwoman, Feline Friends,Abu Dhabi

Two victims on the road to equality

The problem I have with Charles Glass's piece Toulouse attacks harm Palestinians in their own name (March 26) is this: his condemnation of attacks on Jews seems motivated principally by his extrinsic concern for the secondary (indirect) victims rather than because he feels it is intrinsically wrong to attack Jews.

This might be explained partially by the context in which this article has been written. I would rather see Jews and Muslims as equal victims of the far right's hatred of the "other" (especially in France) and as equal targets of radical Islam.

If anything, the attacks in Toulouse might remind Jews and Muslims that they are fellow travellers on the path away from oppression.

Ronnie Landau, UK