x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Arming Syrian rebels not a good idea

It is OK to learn about other cultures, but not at the expense of one's identity. Other topics: Turkey, Syria, Dubai prison, Mohammed Morsi.

A reader says arming rebels in Syria will do more harm than good. AP Photo / Aleppo Media Center
A reader says arming rebels in Syria will do more harm than good. AP Photo / Aleppo Media Center

All of us must pay attention to individual identity

I refer to the news article Islamic and Arab culture lost in UAE's foreign schools (April 20).

This topic is perhaps one of the most important in the UAE. In the US and parts of Europe, some people force others to assimilate with the dominant sets of values. Such a practice only panders to one's ego. Without a strong point of reference to one's heritage, there is no stable future.

I know many children of expatriates growing up in the UAE have no affinity to their host country or even their parents' religious values, because attention was mainly given to their studies.

Sooner or later, these people will seek to have their own identity by using the western premise of acceptability.

When western norms - the most dominant ones that include both good and bad - are introduced to an eastern culture, social upheaval can rarely be avoided. It is OK to learn about other cultures, but not at the expense of one's identity.

Joe Burns, Dubai

Jail not so bad from inside

The news article An inside job: Dubai inmates pick up skills for life (April 23) was interesting to read.

I have been working in Dubai for the past 10 years and I saw the central prison only from the outside.

I found the description of activities inside the prison very interesting. The inmates who acquire new skills can live a normal life when they are released.

Kumar, Dubai

Turkey must make peace with past

Turkey will have to make peace with its past by admitting to the Armenian genocide (Chance for Turkey to be major force in the region, April 27).

It has already begun to do so as it held a commemoration in Diyarbakir and Istanbul on April 24, on the occasion of Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. But it needs to do more.

Germany gained respect by admitting to its genocidal past. Turkey can do the same.

Tim Upham, UK

Not just Turkey but France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and other European countries also carried out genocides in various parts of the world. They are somewhat unapologetic.

The term genocide is often used in political circles. What about the mass murder of Turks in Armenia?

Surely it is not a one-way process. Attacks against Kurds were carried out by the former regime of the nationalist government.

If one calls them genocide, then there has to be a clear documentation on those murders. Otherwise they cannot be called genocide. They are rather crimes committed by rogue generals.

That was a time when nationalists and secularists were cementing their position.

There was an order of mass expulsion of Armenians from Turkish territories.

Abdulkhaliq, Abu Dhabi

Morsi not different from Mubarak

I am writing about the circumstances of former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak (Court orders Mubarak release from hail, April 16).

Why is the current president, Mohammed Morsi, not in the dock for the same crime of killing protesters?

Harold Taback, Dubai

West should not arm Syrian rebels

The US and the West should not supply arms to the Syrian rebels (Russia uses Boston bombs to argue for Assad's survival, April 26).

All recent reports that I've read have stated that the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafist-orientated groups are now in the vanguard and may at this point represent the majority of the rebel fighters.

There is a reason why the many Syrian minorities have not joined the revolution (Kurds, Druze, Christians, Turkamen, Circassians, and so on).

They know what awaits them if the Islamist Sunni forces win the day. They look south to Egypt and see the Christian Copts being murdered as their churches and businesses are burnt by Salafist forces.

The Brotherhood-led government doesn't lift a finger to help them.

Hosni Mubarak, dictator that he was, did protect them.

They look to Iraq and see the Salafists butchering the Shiites. In Turkey they see the Islamist Sunni government's unrelenting oppression of the Kurds (who comprise 18 per cent of Turkey's population). Mr Al Assad is a ruthless dictator, but like Mr Mubarak he protected Syria's ethnic/religious minorities.

Bob Brown, US