x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Counting our blessings on the 39th anniversary

Emiratis have been blessed with a wise leadership who have created, in a very short time really, a prosperous and safe country for all to enjoy.

Abu Dhabi is aglow in anticipation of National Day 2010.
Abu Dhabi is aglow in anticipation of National Day 2010.

On the occasion of the 39th anniversary of the UAE National Day, may I congratulate all Emiratis and residents alike. They have been blessed with a wise leadership who have created, in a very short time really, a prosperous and safe country for all to enjoy.  They have opened their country to the world and used the best talent from all over to create a modern, tolerant and respected state which is easily the envy of many older states in the area.

Some may say that it is easy when you have a lot of money. Do not believe it. You do not have to look far to see wealthy countries in the region and in Africa too which have squandered their wealth and the lives of their people.

To top it all, particularly these days, there is what can only be described as glorious and glad-to-be-alive weather to enjoy the country's beaches, fairways and magnificent deserts.

Shamal Karim, Abu Dhabi

Flaws in refutation of climate change

A letter to the editor from Bob Brock (Refutation of Anthropogenic Global Warming, November 30) purported to refute my earlier letter (Climate change is a fact despite recent allegations, November 20) about the threat posed to us all by manmade climate change. Mr. Brock's letter contains the following assertions.

"The climate has always been changing." This is true but irrelevant. The problem now is that, for the first time in human history, a major factor affecting our planet's climate is: us. It may boggle the mind that puny humans can damage the very climate of our planetary home, but maybe we aren't so puny after all.

"There is no hard scientific evidence that carbon dioxide is changing the climate." This is laughably false. The greenhouse effect is accepted even by most climate-deniers. Mr Brock is really out on a limb on this one. Carbon dioxide is well known to be the most widespread and long-lasting greenhouse gas.

"In 2008, some 32,000 scientists in the US signed a petition to the US government stating that they did not believe humans were causing climate change." It is interesting to study closely this list of "scientists". When one does so, one finds that few people on the list are actually scientists in the ordinary sense of the word. Furthermore, virtually no one at all on the list is a climate scientist.

"Humans contribute very little of the carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere (most comes from volcanoes)." This is plainly false. Records in recent times show clearly that very little difference has been made to the steady rise in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere by volcanic eruptions. The growing effects of human emissions (from cars, planes, power plants, deforestation, etc) are far greater.

It is wiser to trust the science, and wise up. And then to act to reduce the global greenhouse before we burn up.

Dr Rupert Read, University of Anglia, UK

A book for mutual understanding

The news article Translation is a literary first (November 29) reported on the Arabic translation of an important book in German on the complex relationship between the Vatican and the Muslim world. I have read most of the book Zwischen Rome und Mekka (Between Rome and Mecca) by Heinz-Joachim Fischer, a Catholic journalist with training in philosophy and theology who has lived for many years in Rome and knew Pope Benedict XVI when he was still a theology professor in Germany.

The books gives a systematic treatment of the development of Christian-Muslim relations over the centuries, with special emphasis on the period since Vatican II (1962-1965). The main emphasis of the book is on the Pope's view of the relationship between Islam and Christianity, and the importance of their mutual understanding for the avoidance of violence and the promotion of peace.

The book may also enlighten the reader on the strange situation that "Christian Europe" is no longer guided by the principles of the Christian religion and is turning in on itself and developing a phobia of strangers.

The Pope is concerned to bring faith and reason, religion and science, communal ethics and the individual freedom, together again; not to see them as mutually exclusive but as complementary.

I think it is a very good idea to publish this book in Arabic. It can help to clarify issues and remove prejudices and cliches that are often an obstacle to mutual understanding.

Father Gandolf, Abu Dhabi

Helping the many victims of bullying

I refer to the article Campaign to help bullying victims (November 29). It is amazing how bullying was overlooked and ignored for a long time in the region. It is time to step up and face this degrading psychological disorder that leaves a permanent mark. Thanks to the reporter Samar al Huneidi for being such an informative inspiration.

Maya Haddad, Abu Dhabi