x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Havel's legacy resonates with Arab protesters

Hazare keeps corruption in spotlight Other letters discuss Havel's legacy, revenue-raising policies by the telecoms, Indian cricket and genocide article.

The campaign of Anna Hazare, right, has changed the mindset in India, a reader says. Rafiq Maqbool / AP
The campaign of Anna Hazare, right, has changed the mindset in India, a reader says. Rafiq Maqbool / AP

Greg Bruno's comment article argues that it is the political philosophy of Vaclav Havel that is the most relevant to the situation today in the Arab world (Twenty years later, Havel's model still has lessons for the Middle East, January 1).

If Tunisians, Egyptians, Bahrainis, Libyans, Yemenis and Syrians in the streets could solidify their coordination with civil society to change the system, rather than merely get a large piece of it for themselves, they would manage to attain the freedom, justice and dignity for which they are fighting.

Havel saw the potential in each and every individual action to offer radical challenges to seemingly all-powerful regimes. His journey from political dissident to the presidency can be an example for the young protesters of the Arab Spring to push their beloved countries towards the brink of freedom and to reject the extremist ideologies to achieve lasting peace in their lands.

Gaye Caglayan, Dubai

This article makes an interesting comparison. Vaclav Havel was a victim of communist dictatorship. Kim Jong-il was a communist dictator himself.

We watched on television as thousands of people accompanied the coffins of Havel and Kim as they made their way through the streets of Prague and Pyongyang, respectively, and what surprised me was that both were treated nearly the same by their citizens.

It is inexplicable that Havel's fight for freedom and democracy that made him Czechoslovakia's most famous dissident is highly appreciated by his citizens and by world leaders, while the Kim's efforts to control every aspect of political, social and economic life during his reign through his sadistic, narcissistic and paranoid personality was equally welcomed by his people.

Human nature is pretty strange sometimes.

Ali Sedat Budak, Abu Dhabi

Hazare campaign moves past failure

This refers to news report Debate vs dissent in India: Legislators pass new draft of Lokpal (December 28).

A large number of people across the subcontinent believe that corruption has impeded India's march towards achieving its desired developmental objectives in the past several decades.

But it seems that the majority of Indians have appreciated how deeply rooted corruption is only after Anna Hazare started campaigning to fight against dishonest politicians. The failure to pass the bill on several occasions in the past has worked against the advancement of society.

The Lokpal bill alone cannot stop corruption; it requires improved public awareness to effectively utilise the voting power that is the only weapon ordinary people have. So it is appropriate to support Mr Hazare's plan to tour the states that are holding elections in the coming months.

If the Hazare movement can make even a little impact on the influential politicians and bureaucrats, a billion-plus people would reap the benefits.

Ramachandran Nair, Oman

Tower sales is short-term fix

In reference to Telecoms towers go up for sale (December 22), I don't see this as a cost-cutting measure but rather as an attempt by telecoms operators to raise additional revenues by selling off part of their assets.

While this may address shortfalls in revenue, it certainly does not address revenue growth in the medium to long term. They are still going to incur recurring operational expenses for leasing back the towers while giving up recurring revenues from rental fees.

At the end of the day, the sale and lease option may appear to be a good deal by raising much-needed cash and improving the top line, but to the investor it looks less attractive.

Investors want to see strategic initiatives that grow revenues over a five to 10-year period.

Randall Mohammed, Dubai

Indian batsmen need new order

The recent batting collapse in the first cricket Test match in Melbourne is a familiar story for the top order Indian batsmen (Dhoni's men have soul searching to do after Melbourne debacle, December 29).

To check this rot I would strongly recommend to India's team management that they change the batting order.

DB Singh, Dubai

An objection to genocide article

Regarding Turkey hits out at French genocide bill (December 20), it's quite interesting that the history of one nation is of interest to another. Also I wonder at the "growing" willingness in Turkey to accept the genocide debate mentioned in the article. There is no evidence for this. Be more careful with choice of words.

Cemil Riza, Dubai