x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

From Chicken Street to the Oscars

A reader expresses delight that a map vendor from Kabul has been given a chance to attend the Academy Awards ceremony. Other letter topics: Syria, driving, surgery, India, and the UAE's cultural divide.

Afghan 14-year-olds Jawanmard Paiz, left, and Fawad Mohammadi, second right, are the stars of Buzkashi Boys. They are in Hollywood for the Academy Awards, with director Sam French, right, and producer Ariel Nasr, second left. A reader expresses pleasure at the good fortune of Mohammadi, usually a Kabul map-seller. Patrick Fallon / Reuters
Afghan 14-year-olds Jawanmard Paiz, left, and Fawad Mohammadi, second right, are the stars of Buzkashi Boys. They are in Hollywood for the Academy Awards, with director Sam French, right, and producer Ariel Nasr, second left. A reader expresses pleasure at the good fortune of Mohammadi, usually a Kabul map-seller. Patrick Fallon / Reuters

Syria's Kurds are moderate but want their rights

It is no wonder that, as your headline reports, the Rebel truce with Kurds is shaky, say experts (February 22).

Syria's Kurds are fed up with being second-class, sidelined in their own homeland. If there is ever going to be a new Syria, then the one million Kurds living on Syrian soil and long persecuted by the Assad regime will have to be given their legitimate national rights. This would not be a bad thing to happen, because Kurds are not interested in supporting the extremist so-called Islamists who are hijacking people's rights.

When the Americans liberated Iraq from Saddam Hussein, chaos soon followed, and people blamed the Americans. What is happening in Syria looks similar but there are no Americans to blame.

That is why Syria's Kurds do not want anything to do with some parts of the Syrian opposition.

Shamal Karim, Abu Dhabi

At least these two Afghans prosper

Thank you for the column 'Boys' go from Kabul to the Oscars - but who benefits? (February 23).

When I read the column I realised that I know that young man, the one who works on Chicken Street in Kabul selling maps. He was there as long ago as 2003, when I first visited Kabul.

His sister was there, too, selling used books and magazines. They were - and no doubt still are - nice kids. I liked all of the young people I met there. I am so happy that these two, at least, are doing well.

Monica Carver, Abu Dhabi

India must try harder on bombs

Hyderabad blasts kill more than 20   (February 22) recounts the second such big attack that has taken place in India in six years.

Considering that the Indian authorities had received some indication that an attack was imminent - but knew nothing of the location - I believe the government should have tried harder to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening.

All we can do is pray for a speedy recovery for the surviving victims.

K Ragavan, India

US neutrality would aid Syria

I refer to your column Syria's strategic stalemate, made worse by US inaction (February 20).

If the new US secretary of state, John Kerry, and the US administration, really want a negotiated outcome in Syria, they should begin by taking a more neutral position.

Only in that way will a real negotiated outcome be possible.

Wim Roffel, Netherlands

Get expatriates to learn Arabic

I refer to The cultural divide, and how UAE might bridge it (February 20).

A large part of the cultural divide has to do with western "ghettoes" in the UAE. Expatriates should be encouraged to learn the language.

Esa Keith Washington, Dubai

Driving toll could be even worse

Your article UAE driving: Fatal consequences of erratic motoring (February 2) includes many good points, and leads me to say that the crash and fatality totals would be even higher, except that the UAE does have good roads, good weather, and good lighting on most roads at night. Notice how the number of accidents skyrockets at the first drizzle, or in foggy conditions.

I believe standards of driving are getting worse. I seem to encounter more reckless driving daily and I rarely see the police taking any proactive action to stem the rising tide.

Bassem P Fakhry, Dubai

Bariatric surgery should be rare

New rules in Abu Dhabi to protect patients of weight loss surgeries (February 21) was quite upsetting.

Here's an idea: instead of looking for these quick remedies, people should start walking more and eating better. And everyone should know about the long-term consequences that are possible following radical surgery of this type.

Maybe some people need extreme surgery to get their weight under control, but in my opinion many of those who have this done are just looking for an easy way to escape the consequences of their bad habits. But as the story shows, the "easy way" can end up being quite unfortunate.

Name withheld by request

Hopeful message should be heard

I am very happy that the UAE is open to hearing the powerful message covered in Dr Wayne Dyer: 'We are so fixed on our limitations', (February 21). Thank you for reporting on this address.

Evelyn Heffermehl, Dubai