x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Do these camels look happy?

A reader reckons that our photo of camels being milked reflected some discontent. Other letter topics: that insulting film, Kazakhstan, James Zogby and the great Dubai flood.

Can you detect a camel's state of mind by studying her facial expression? A reader suspects that these camels, being milked by machine, are less than contented. Ravindranath K / The National
Can you detect a camel's state of mind by studying her facial expression? A reader suspects that these camels, being milked by machine, are less than contented. Ravindranath K / The National

Video was awful but restraint is the best way to reply

Muslim anger and protests over the blasphemous video produced in the US (Crackpot video should not have any influence, September 16) have widened the rift between Muslims and the West.

The violence in Libya is very sad but the US has reacted as arrogantly as ever, vowing to bring those responsible to justice and dispatching warships, Marines and drones. And Hillary Clinton the US secretary of state, showing shocking lack of understanding and disregard for Muslim sentiment, has blamed the protesters for the violence.

On the other hand she has expressed the inability of the US - really nothing but unwillingness - to hold accountable and capture those behind the inflammatory video.

It is very hard for civilised society to understand how freedom of speech could be so sacred as to permit immoral material with the potential to cause violence.

At the same time Muslims will have to understand that in this age of information technology, many people use the internet irresponsibly. It would be in everybody's interest not to get provoked.

It may be a part of western culture to insult respected religious figures in the name of freedom of speech. But Muslims should show the utmost restraint and adopt peaceful ways of showing their displeasure, given that Islam is a religion of peace.

Muneer Ahmad, Abu Dhabi

Many in the West do not understand that insults to Islam are deeply offensive to Muslims. And many Muslims do not understand that freedom of speech is almost as revered in the West.

Insults to all faiths, some disguised as art, are common in the West; most people just shrug them off. For westerners, the benefits of free speech far outweigh the drawbacks, even though one principal drawback is occasional crudely offensive speech by lunatics and louts.

Ron Ladouceur, Canada

The laws of every country, even in the West, prohibit some speech.

But in the US and most of Europe, even the Christian religion can be denounced in the most offensive terms. If the majority religions are not exempt, obviously no minority faiths will be.

Michelle Boshra, Abu Dhabi

Review too easy on Kazakh abuses

I read the article Kazakhstan is a nation booming on the back of optimism (September 15) and I find that your columnist expressed minimal reserve about the situation in that country and the exercise of power by Nursultan Nazarbayev, and about the corruption in the country.

You could also have given a bit more information about the author of the book under review, Jonathan Aitken, with his very interesting past.

Pierre Vernhes, Abu Dhabi

Do these camels look contented?

The photo with the page one story Camel farm milking it with new machine (September 15) reminded me of an old advertising slogan from North America:

Carnation condensed milk used to boast of selling "milk from contented cows". That was my first thought when I saw that photo, because the camels in it didn't look very happy to me.

I know, it's ridiculous for a city person to deduce camels' moods, but to me those guys looked more than a little cross. Perhaps they prefer the old milking method.

Dorothy Klein, Abu Dhabi

That's a lot of milk from each cow

Your story Desert milk, from farm to fridge (September 16) says that "the desert cows each yield an average of 13,000 litres of milk every day - double the average of their European sisters".

Where can I buy one of these super-cows?

Waqar Qureshi, Abu Dhabi

Zogby seems to be confused

James Zogby's column Neo-con legacy felt in US argument over Middle East protests (September 16) reveals that Mr Zogby is confused, "not knowing whether to laugh or cry", when trying to understand the US Constitution.

He does however clearly consider US regard for its constitution to be "narcissism". This makes me wonder why his father chose to emigrate to the US instead of Syria, the USSR or China.

Nicholas York, Abu Dhabi

Burst reservoir caused big flood

I refer to Floods cut off part of Dubai business park (September 14).

The problem wasn't a water pipe. There's a reservoir there, about 15,000 square meters and 10m deep, and one side of it let go.

At one stage the road outside my office was 65cm deep. It actually looked like a tidal wave in the middle of the desert.

Aaron Russ, Dubai