x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Don't rush to judge 'political' art

When politics are involved, the merits of art cannot be judged fairly for many years, a reader says. Other subjects: old cars, Canadian burgers, trade talks, costly cupcakes and more.

Artworks created speedily in response to political events, like this piece by Egypt's Nermine Hammam, are hard to judge on their artistic merit until time has cooled some passions, a reader argues. Courtesy of the artist
Artworks created speedily in response to political events, like this piece by Egypt's Nermine Hammam, are hard to judge on their artistic merit until time has cooled some passions, a reader argues. Courtesy of the artist

Rebels' violence is a bad omen for the new Syria

I refer to Syrian rebels seek strict form of Sharia (August 23).

I suppose that anyone with a couple of cousins and some rifles and a small lorry can call himself a unit of the Free Syrian Army. Discipline and central control must be badly lacking.

But surely most of the fighters want a Syria with more personal liberty than under the old regime, and with less arbitrary "justice". But this thuggery seems ominous.

Abdul Sajidi, Dubai

If the anti-regime fighters mimic the regime, then there will be no real change in Syria. And if they wish to institute Sharia then they will lose support.

It has become an old story now: freedom-loving people start to rebel and more extreme elements hijack the rebellion.

Frank Burkhardt, US

The oppressed becomes the oppressor.

This is not the first time that has happened, and won't be the last.

Donald Wheeler, US

Cupcake fails to satisfy appetite

I am hoping that my favourite newspaper will soon be done covering the ridiculous publicity stunt of the cupcake made with gold (Dubai's golden cupcake lands on world's most-expensive dishes list, August 23).

Perhaps the space could be devoted instead to reports about famine and starvation in various countries. People who eat gold should be ashamed of themselves.

Joan Robinson, Dubai

Not all Israelis are filled with hate

Your editorial Israeli attack goes to heart of society in crisis (August 23) is correct: there is something really wrong with a society in which teenagers think it is acceptable to commit such violence on the basis of race alone.

However, the article did not make the point that many Israelis are appalled at this behaviour, too, and are working every day to teach their children a better way to conduct themselves.

Ed Nelson, Abu Dhabi

I refer to Jewish teens arrested after 'attempted lynching' of Palestinians (August 22). What hatred!

I am glad that this has at least been recognises as a crime.

Latifa Jackson, US

Doha failure was not Obama's fault

I am puzzled and irked by the comment that "it is well known Mr [Barack] Obama himself pulled the plug on Doha" in the business column As with desert cacti, hate can thrive on very little in the US (August 23).

In fact the Doha round of trade-liberalisation talks was doomed well before Mr Obama took office, and while US policies were one problem, the truth is that few countries had much stomach for freer trade, even before the 2008 economic slowdown began.

TL Methi, Dubai

Political art can't be judged quickly

Thank you for Ben East's thoughtful piece Can artistic merit be found in swiftly produced Arab Spring works? (August 23).

When a reader or viewer agrees with the politics or opinions in a piece of art, be it literary or visual or anything else, then aesthetic criticism is compromised.

The real test of any artwork is time. For example Triumph of the Will, Leni Riefenstahl's 1934 documentary about a Nazi Party rally, is at once brilliant art and repugnant propaganda. People still argue about it: even after almost 80 years the film is still too politically "hot" to be appreciated as art.

In 20 years, or 50, we'll be able to judge the art of the Arab Spring more equitably than we can now.

Luis Morales, Abu Dhabi

We need more Canadian burgers

As a resident of Canada until recently, I was thrilled by your headline Canadian burger chain South St flips into Dubai (August 22).

But then I read the story. I have never heard of South St Burger. I thought from the headline that the story was about Harvey's, a Canada-only chain that has been my favourite for years.

Frankly, my fellow Canadians who got all excited about Tim Horton's are missing the point, but it will be a happy day for me when Harvey's gets here.

Harold Strom, Dubai

Is dumping of old cars bad or good?

I can't decide if there is good news or bad news in Rise in older cars being dumped by owners in Dubai (August 23).

Fewer owners of high-end cars are doing a midnight flit, and that must be good. But apparently the UAE has no places a person can sell an old car for even a few hundred dirhams. That can't be good.

Serene Buenaventura, Abu Dhabi