x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Indian attitudes must change

The problem behind India's rape cases involved deep-seated prejudice against women, a reader says. Other letter topics today: exercise for children, violent films, burgers with onion rings and plastic bags.

Numerous anti-rape protests, including this one in New Delhi on Sunday, do not change the fact that enduring social factors make life difficult, and dangerous, for India's women, a reader says. Altaf Qadri / AP
Numerous anti-rape protests, including this one in New Delhi on Sunday, do not change the fact that enduring social factors make life difficult, and dangerous, for India's women, a reader says. Altaf Qadri / AP

School zones must be made safe for children

I firmly believe that children should be encouraged to walk or bike.

But as your article (Only 9% of children walk or bike to school in Abu Dhabi, study finds, January 14) suggests, there will have to be a major attitude shift in areas around the schools to make them safe.

More speed bumps, more speed cameras and either police or highly visible crosswalk assistants must be made available to slow or stop traffic.

There should be triple or quadruple speeding fines for infractions in school zones.

These and other measures should be a mandatory part of every new school design, and should be put in place around existing school areas, as well.

Dr Harold Shim, Abu Dhabi

Plastic-bag tax worked in Ireland

I fully agree with the views of letter-writer T Sipling (Shops should limit plastic bags, January 14).

That opinion is indeed pertinent right now, as the UAE is hosting a big conference on sustainability.

The production of so many plastic bags consumes scarce energy resources. And disposal of the bags has a detrimental effect on the environment.

However, I don't believe that relying on retailers to reduce the number of plastic bags in circulation will work. Shopkeepers will inevitably succumb to customer demand.

I suggest a small plastic bag tax at the point of sale. This was introduced in my country, Ireland, a few years ago and was an immediate success. The levy changed customer habits overnight; people brought their own bags. The benefits were soon obvious.

Patrick Walsh, Al Ain

Let's hear from neutral experts

The "experts" cited in Hygiene experts back new rules for Abu Dhabi groceries (January 13) all seem to be connected to companies selling the expensive new equipment these stores must now install.

It would be a more interesting story if such people had said the requirements were too strict.

Could we hear from some experts without a stake in the issue?

Claude Arbinn, Abu Dhabi

Give women pepper spray

Until there is a real shift in the attitudes that allow - even encourage - the pervasive debasement and violation of India's women, I believe that all women there should be armed with pepper spray and taught how to use it.

Let's hope that the tragic rapes now being reported upon will serve as a catalyst to generate respect and appreciation for women in place of contempt and violence.

E Fabbri, Dubai

Even after the unprecedented expressions of anger and outrage after the infamous rape and murder in Delhi, more rape cases have been reported from many parts of India.

The whole environment is really very scary for women. So-called "eve-teasers" and stalkers - and possible rapists - seem to follow a woman wherever she goes.

Violence against women is actually a manifestation of deep-rooted social prejudices. A girl cannot be married without a hefty dowry. Parents prefer boys over girls.

It is a great irony that rape victims must hide their identity, because of the social stigma rape carries.

Education, employment and an equal opportunity for women will go a long way towards liberating them from injustices and violence. Unqualified respect for all women needs to be inculcated in children from a young age.

Muneer Ahmad, Abu Dhabi

Happy to hear of more Rockets

How delightful to learn that there will be more Johnny Rockets outlets in this country (American chain to open 5 new restaurants, January 14).

When I lived in Washington DC, the Johnny Rockets burger with the crispy onion rings right inside became my secret vice - and then not so secret, because I kept telling everyone how good they are.

Mel Stevenson, Abu Dhabi

Don't let children see violent films

I refer to your story Guns, blood and violence: is it any place for a child? (January 15).

I was glad to see an article on this hot topic. It's shocking and heartbreaking to see tiny tots being allowed to view such violence.

As a mother, I just cannot understand how a responsible parent could even imagine bringing a toddler along with her to see a film such as The Dark Knight Rises. And yet I see this sort of thing every time I go to the cinema here.

I am glad that Grand Cinemas have introduced a no-children policy in the evenings. Well done! Let's hope the others follow.

Monica Brun, Dubai