x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Al Ain takes pride of place

Two readers share their pleasure in the news that Unesco has named Al Ain a world heritage site. Other letters deal with economic theory and practice, male role models, and the poor hammour.

Readers congratulate Al Ain on being selected as a Unesco World Heritage Site. Sammy Dallal / The National
Readers congratulate Al Ain on being selected as a Unesco World Heritage Site. Sammy Dallal / The National

In reference to Jagdish Bhagwati's opinion article A convincing case for free trade found in the history books (June 27), Prof Bhagwati is a globally respected academic from my alma mater, Columbia, and his arguments are plausible, but not always pragmatic.

The link between trade and growth is not exactly linear, and is complicated by the policies of various nations, big and small. For example, the US may call itself a diehard free-market economy, but the fact is that large parts of its economy - agriculture, defence and high-tech - are jealously sheltered, and always part of election campaigns.

Similarly, China, India, the GCC and other countries have various policies (eg, the necessity of local majority joint venture policies for market entry) that tilt the playing field.

As Indian trade has progressed, its Gini coefficient (or level of equality) has worsened, and there is today actually less available food per capita, not to mention a big rise in the number of farmer suicides annually.

Both competitive and comparative advantages today shape trade policies, and there is strong empirical evidence that it is not free trade policies but a decision to concentrate on industries that works.

The theme of the natural advantage of industries in the appropriate place thus is as useful as the theme of moral hazard in financial markets versus "too big to fail". Target protectionism works to build national growth, or it would have been abandoned long ago.

Athar Mian, Abu Dhabi

Al Ain sites takes pride of place

The article Al Ain is named world heritage site (June 28) about the city being made a Unesco World Heritage Site was interesting to read. This is a prestigious moment for the UAE.

Al Ain is famous for its greenery, natural spots of interest and ancient falaj water systems. Al Ain has been added to world famous sites like the Taj Mahal and Egypt's pyramids and is one more feather in the UAE's cap.

International tourists are attracted to Al Ain's heritage, the long Jebal Hafeet and its famous zoo.

K Ragavan, India

The 35th session of the Unesco Committee is being held in Paris, starting on June 19 and ending today. The committee this year includes members from 21 countries.

I am happy that the cultural sites of Al Ain and the Selimiye mosque in Turkey have joined six new Unesco World Heritage Sites.

As I have worked and spent memorable times as an expatriate in Al Ain, the inclusion of Al Ain makes me very delighted and as does the selection of the Selimiye mosque as I am a Turk.

The mosque is in the city of Edirne (which served as the capital city of the Ottoman Empire from 1365 to 1453) and its construction was commissioned by Sultan Selim II. The architect Sinan was responsible for the construction of more than 300 major structures over his lifetime.

The mosque was built between 1568 and 1574. Considered by Sinan to be his masterpiece, the climax of his work and one of the highest achievements of the classical Ottoman architecture, the Selimiye dome (43.25 metres height, 31.25 metres diameter, 1,800 tonnes) is higher than Hagia Sophia.

The mosque represents Turkish marble art and is covered with valuable tiles and fine paintings.

Gaye Caglayan, Dubai

Male role models are needed

In reference to the front page news article Plan to boost Emirati teachers (June 27), it might be worth looking at some of the hundreds of studies showing that young boys need more male role models in schools, not more female role models.

The reason there are so many women in education around the world is because in male-dominated societies, teaching was originally considered an appropriate supplemental career for women to have in addition to the salary the men brought into the household.

This also explains why teacher salaries are still much less competitive than those in other similar high-stress jobs.

Chris Murray, Abu Dhabi

Take care in the case of hammour

One of my favourite things in M Magazine each week is the recipe from Marco Pierre White. However this week I was dismayed to see "Pan seared hammour" in the recipe headline.

With all the tireless work the World Wildlife Fund and Emirates Wildlife Society (EWS) are doing in the region educating the public about making sustainable choices when shopping for fish, it is disappointing of you to promote the use of a "red" (ie, overfished) species in your recipe.

The status of UAE fish sources is easily checked.

I'm sure a sustainable alternative could have been found without changing the fundamental flavour of the dish.

Catherine Russell, Dubai