x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Change must be indigenous, not from outside

A reader suggests Michael Young's analysis is built upon an inaccurate premise which in turn misdirects the focus of attention from the primary core issue to a peripheral minor concern.

The US president Barack Obama pauses during the event held to remember and support the victims of the mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona. A reader praises his speech as measured, thoughtful and restrained. Jim Young/Reuters
The US president Barack Obama pauses during the event held to remember and support the victims of the mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona. A reader praises his speech as measured, thoughtful and restrained. Jim Young/Reuters

In his opinion article Region's idealised past gets in the way of progress today (January 13), Michael Young's descriptive observation of the Arab world is a true reflection of a reality born out of secularism and Arab nationalism. However his analysis is built upon an inaccurate premise which in turn misdirects the focus of attention from the primary core issue to a peripheral minor concern.

Indirectly he makes the assumption that western colonialism is over when using the term legacy (of western colonialism). Military occupation in Iraq, political interference in Lebanon, predator drone attacks in Yemen and enthusiastic support for the Egyptian regime against the wishes of the people are today's reality.

Arguing for a change in mindset would only draw attention away from the colonial dependence and colonial cultural imposition taking place under the guise of globalisation and tolerance.

Indeed, change is needed. But change has to be indigenous, occurring within the culture serving the interests of the region and as opposed to being external, against the culture and satisfying the hunger of colonial powers.

Self-dependency built upon a set of cultural values and reference points that are deeply embedded within a people will lead to progress.

However the question to ask is: is it in the interest of the world dominant powers for the Arab world to remain docile consumers or confident, independent, self-sufficient producers?

G Mohammed, Abu Dhabi

Lessons on trees from Hong Kong

I welcome the article Beautification Cited for Cutting Down Capitals Trees (January 14). Although I understand that the works to the trees in this case were carried out for positive reasons, the public interest in and the press coverage of the felling of a few urban trees is certainly encouraging and, one would hope, reflects an increased awareness of the importance of urban trees in the UAE.

Reading the article, I could not help but think of the situation in Hong Kong, where strict legal regulation of the removal of almost any tree (on public or private land) has led to a dramatic greening of the environment over the last 50 years. In addition, Hong Kong's register of "Old and Valuable Trees" affords special legal protection to important urban trees and development proposals affecting these trees typically elicit impassioned debate in local councils, letters to government representatives as well as press coverage.

It would be nice to think that this recent public interest in the management of the UAE's urban trees might mark a step towards establishing a special legal status for trees that make a unique contribution to the urban environment, resulting ultimately in greener cities for us all.

David Morkel, Chartered Landscape Architect, Dubai

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I also live in the Tanker Mai area where interviews in the article took place and was shocked and dismayed to see the removal of good healthy trees.

We had to go outside and ask the workers not to remove a lovely palm tree from our front yard. It had been earmarked for removal. Our area now looks like a slum with all the lovely greenery having been taken away.

The trees that have been "trimmed" have been hacked at. All in all a terrible shame.

Kay Miller, Abu Dhabi

A stark contrast in two speeches

The contrast between the measured, thoughtful, reserved words of the US president Barack Obama in the wake of the Tuscon shootings and the calamitous tone of Sarah Palin's recent "blood libel" jibe was stark.

Not only did she sound defensive and angry, the doses of hyperbole she trawled up were startling.

The Tea Party movement is surely nearly dead. If the Republicans send their populist Fox news attack dogs back to the forests, they are then left with a core of ungainly old timers who can neither impress each other nor a prime time TV audience.

Obama has risen above the mire and proven himself a true leader.

Adil Ali , Abu Dhabi

Therapy needed for child abuse

In reference to the news article New unit to tackle child sex abuse (January 16, I read about the rape of a four-year-old girl with heartfelt sorrow and applaud the Dubai Police for their new unit to tackle this heinous crime.

It is imperative that the parents of children who suffer sexual abuse and rape get them into counseling therapy with specialists in sexual abuse as soon as possible.

The young victims will be very confused and must be told repeatedly that they did not do anything wrong and that what happened is not their fault. They need a lot of reassurance and the unconditional love of their parents and families. Healing is a process that will take years, not weeks or months.

Elan Fabbri, Abu Dhabi