x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

A day with rain elicits joyous, young memories

The change of seasons can be a source of joy.

I was pleasantly surprised when I heard rain drops pelting my glass window. I bolted upright, and, almost mechanically, began changing from a three-piece suit into a thick jumpsuit and a windbreaker that I hadn't worn in years.

It was 4pm and it was raining in Dubai Silicon Oasis. I ran out and began running and shouting like I did in my childhood. My elation cannot be described in words.

I soon came to a dead stop. The area near the Springs, Palace Tower and the Gate was flooded. I saw a young Emirati man going towards that puddle and he came to a stop in his truck. He could not navigate it and turned around.

I gestured to two school children standing on their balcony, still in their uniforms, to come down and enjoy the rain. They responded whole-heartedly. There was joy in the air.

I came home drenched. But this 68-year-old body had enough childhood joy for one day. What a difference weather makes!

Kanwar Hayat, Dubai

Historic US visit can benefit region

The visit of the US president Barack Obama to India is of utmost significance to the region (Obama backs a UN seat for India, November 9).

The deals signed for $10 billion in trade with India is expected by some to help to pay for 50,000 US jobs. This will definitely create an interactive flow of personnel and material movements in both countries. The beneficiary of this improved relationship will be the entire region, especially the Middle East. The UAE can gain tremendously in terms of obtaining a larger share of global commerce.

The visit also boosted optimism and hope among the Indian youth and reiterated the need for better education. Mr Obama's call to "keep dreaming big, huge, gigantic dreams" will definitely motivate the youth in the country.

Improved interaction and agreements in advanced technology and sharing, along with Mr Obama's announcement that the US would support India's bid to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, calls for applause.

Working together, both countries can create regional peace and prosperity, and work on common goals such as an increasing trade, creating green jobs, procuring affordable energy resources with low-carbon growth, strengthening agriculture and health care, as well as strengthening democratic governance and human rights.

May "together we can" be the renewed mantra of this progressive movement. This truly inspiring visit will definitely be advantageous for the entire region in the years ahead.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

Bigotry should not win over tolerance

In reference to the ongoing debate over ther proposed Islamic community centre at "Ground Zero" in New York, the intention of the Cordoba Initiative is to build a bridge of understanding, peace and love between Americans and Muslims.

It will contribute to the community and hopefully help to create a better understanding about Muslims in New York, one desperately needed due to the generalised negative view of Muslims in America.

If the plan does not go ahead, it would go against the first amendment of the US constitution that guarantees freedom of religion. Also, it should make people question if America is trying to win the hearts and minds of people in Iraq and Afghanistan. How can it achieve that if people in New York prevent the building of this Islamic community?

The Cordoba Initiative can also help to be a deterrent to extremism and be a beacon of greater understanding and community between Americans and Muslims, whose place in US society is often questioned these days. Those who oppose it do so because their views are clouded by their hatred and misunderstanding of Islam.

Omar Zaki, Abu Dhabi

Domestic help a challenge for GCC

With reference to the article What is the real cost when domestic help raises our children? (November 8): I would like to extend my support to Meera al Mutawa and her research in order to reduce the negative impact caused to our Emirati children because of the total dependancy on domestic caretakers.

I really hope that her research could one day be used as an initiative to actually educate and spread awareness to the Emirati community, or even to the rest of the GCC.

Thank you for inspiring us with such a well-written article!

Hamad al Shirawi, Abu Dhabi