x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Lebanon's new PM is a victim of mislabelling

Letters to the editor

Sunni protesters burn a van belonging to Al Jazeera TV in Tripoli in northern Lebanon. A reader cautions against the notion that the proposed new prime minister Najib Miqati is Hizbollah's man. AP
Sunni protesters burn a van belonging to Al Jazeera TV in Tripoli in northern Lebanon. A reader cautions against the notion that the proposed new prime minister Najib Miqati is Hizbollah's man. AP

I'd like to comment on the front page news story 'Day of rage' in Lebanon (January 26) which came with a subhead: Hariri supporters vent anger as Hizbollah candidate named PM. The news coming from Lebanon has been really distressing, and not just because of the state of political and civil upheaval there.

Since Najib Miqati has secured the majority vote from members of Lebanon's parliament, those discontented with the outcome have quickly taken on the strategy of aligning Mr Miqati with Hizbollah. While this political strategy is not necessarily a surprise, what is disheartening is that the western media has quickly jumped on the bandwagon of labelling Mr Miqati as "Hizbollah backed" as well, when in fact he is a well respected, self-made billionaire and a centrist politician with liberal views on markets and trade who has no connections with Hizbollah.

He already stated this in a BBC interview published on its site yesterday. And while he may have the acceptance of Hizbollah, he has also secured 68 out of the 128 MP votes. This does not mean that Mr  Miqati is "Hizbollah backed".

It is disheartening to see that the media has become complicit in discrediting Mr Miqati in the international arena by incorrectly and irresponsibly linking him directly to Hizbollah.

Unfortunately, The National is just as guilty, by going so far as calling him "Hizbollah's candidate".

The responsibility of the media lies in telling the actual story, and not using the rhetoric used by politicians.

TR, Abu Dhabi

The Hariri group ran Lebanon for more then six years and now the change needed by the people is welcome. I hope the proposed prime ministerial candidate will deliver better results to the people of Lebanon.

It seems that the Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah will also cooperate for a better Lebanon. In this political turmoil, Lebanon as a tourist destination has lost millions of dollars in tourism revenue.

Will the proposed government address this important issue to regain the reputation of Lebanon?

K Ragavan, India

Cell phone distractions

In reference to the article Region's safety record appalling, forum hears (January 25), I'd like to address the issue of the use of mobile phones during driving. Has there ever been a study which proves that using a hands-free kit is better than not using one? The distraction is the phone call itself, not whether you're holding the phone or not.

There must be a lot of accidents caused when people start fiddling around trying to untangle the earpiece wires of hands-free sets.

Preventable? Yes. Just let them use the phone naturally (hold it against their ears), and let them keep their focus on the road. Phone calls are distracting regardless of whether it's made with or without a hands-free kit.

The fact is some people are better at multitasking than others. Those who aren't so good should avoid making phone calls while driving altogether. They should do this for their own safety if not for the safety of others.

A lot of elements concerning driving are left to the judgement of the drivers. Why not leave this one to them too?

Zaid Q, Abu Dhabi

Intransigence costs Canadians

The news article Visa requirements catch out Canadians (January 24) reported that some Canadian passengers have been stranded at Abu Dhabi International Airport because of changes in visa rules. All this chaos, thanks to the Stephen Harper government's intransigence and tactless diplomacy over landing rights for UAE national airlines.

Lary Turner, Canada

Better solution for financial cases

In reference to FNC to debate policy on bounced cheques (January 25), I think it is great that they are discussing this issue of financial crime.

My husband is an Emirati businessman on the run after financial deals that fell through. In the eyes of the UAE law, he is considered a criminal and has acquired years from sentences handed down by a judge in his absence.

It started with one competitor filing a grievance and then accounts were frozen and he was unable to follow through on other commitments or pay his staff and so the cases piled up.

To date, he has six years worth of sentences. To try and get out of this mess he had to leave the country in order to continue working in some capacity to fix this problem.

Our lives have been ruined due to the stance on financial issues which should be civil and not criminal.

I hope one day the FNC can find a solution and help their citizens in a just and fair manner.

Irishalia, Abu Dhabi