x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

A lesson for Obama from a predecessor

A reader hopes President Obama will notice the picture of late Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser at the Taj Hotel and his charismatic smile as if to say life is not only about money.

The Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser gives a radio speech in 1968. A reader points out that Mr Nasser had preceeded the US president as a guest at the historic Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, India.
The Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser gives a radio speech in 1968. A reader points out that Mr Nasser had preceeded the US president as a guest at the historic Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, India.

In reference to the news article Obama down to business in India (November 7), I hope that the US president Barack Obama had the chance to walk in the corridors of Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai.

There he would see a photo of the late Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser and he would notice that he is not the first president to visit and have a room in this historic hotel.

I hope that President Obama would stop for a minute and look at the eyes of Mr Nasser and his charismatic smile. He will notice that life is not only business and not only money. In this life, there are some other important issues that we should talk about and highlight and push to the front.  

Shadi Baki, Abu Dhabi

High-capacity rapid commuter train needed

Sean Cronin's opinion article A long commute makes strong case for Emirates rail link (November 4) described the rigours of commuting between Dubai and Abu Dhabi every day. On the Dubai-Abu Dhabi- Sharjah-Ajman corridor, a modern, integrated, affordable and sustainable railway system is urgently required as the topmost priority. 

The trains must be high-capacity and rapid with speeds of a minimum 200kph to up to 400kph. They should not be like the low-capacity, low-speed, five-coach light Metro transit system of Dubai.

Coaches should have highly-comfortable seats for long-distance travel with full-privacy cabins, affordable fares and required facilities.

An integrated system should be planned that would provide a journey from door to door.

Sumi Tiwari, Dubai

Behind the scenes in Indonesia

The article Indonesia says it will punish torture soldiers (November 1) reported that the Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono promised to punish soldiers filmed torturing unarmed civilians in West Papua.

West Papua was a Dutch colony under Indonesian rule, just as East Timor was a Portuguese colony under Indonesian rule. As the US Department of State summary for 1961-63 said: "Annexation by Indonesia would simply trade white for brown colonialism."

Mr Yudhoyono was a general in East Timor during the aftermath and six month preparations for "Operation Scorched Earth" in case the Timorese voted against Indonesian wishes. He knows what his fellow generals think of the Papuan people, just as he did the Timorese.

Andrew Johnson, US

Dissenting from three opinions

The National staff hit a trifecta on Saturday. Reading the comments of Jihad Hashim Brown, Fatima al Shamsi and Ali Alsaloom was astounding. Ms al Shamsi (On why an irrational fear of Muslims must be addressed, November 6) states that it is unacceptable for a western person to comment that he may feel fear in certain situations.

Mr Brown (We need to learn from our mistakes, November 6) somehow equates the Inquisition with the US bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as an example of how Christians are terrorist extremists. I don't recall the late US president Harry Truman stating that the decimation of Buddhists and Shintoists was justified due to their religions or foreign policies.

Mr Alsaloom states that the UAE does not have an open policy towards homosexuality and he prays it never does. 

So gay behaviour is not acceptable, commenting on how you feel is unacceptable and if you try and avoid a protracted world war by saving hundreds of thousands of US lives, you are a Christian terrorist extremist.

What a wonderful world we live in.

Nicholas York, Abu Dhabi

Aim for a more realistic target

In reference to the editorial Police put teeth in Dubai's road safety rules (November 3), the fact that Dubai police have signed an undertaking to reduce road deaths to a statistical zero per 100,000 by 2020 is worrying. 

It suggests a lack of thought or understanding of the issue. How is Dubai proposing to achieve this? Where is the action plan?

Unless all motorised vehicles are banned, it is simply not possible to achieve.  Has benchmarking occured I wonder? The UK has amongst the safest roads in the world with 3.8 deaths per 100,000 population in 2009.

How do Dubai Police intend to not only beat that, but achieve 0.0 per 100,000? Better than the current best would be a more sensible target.

However, underlining the challenge is that the US - the model and design standard for Dubai roads - has a death rate of 11.1 per 100,000.

Ford Desmoineaux, Abu Dhabi