x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Little chance for Syrian settlement

A letter writer says that tactics on both sides are closing the window for real compromise in Syria, Other topics include Greece and Turkey, marrying or working, and an account of a company with a heart.

A reader argues that both supporters and opponents of the Syrian president Bashar Al Assad have acted irresponsibly, but that the western media has covered only one side. AP
A reader argues that both supporters and opponents of the Syrian president Bashar Al Assad have acted irresponsibly, but that the western media has covered only one side. AP

I refer to the opinion article by Alan Philps On the Aegean Sea, a parable about economic sovereignty (June 19). I disagree with the writer when he compares Turkey and Greece in terms of their economies and populations. Turkey is a country with a population of 74 million, an area of 784,000 square kilometres and a young workforce. Greece has a population of only 11 million, an area of 132,000 sq km and a mostly old workforce.

If these two are to be compared just because they are on both sides of the Aegean Sea, then Sri Lanka and India, Spain and Morocco, Australia and Papua New Guinea should be compared as well, which is ridiculous.

But I do agree with the writer when he observes that it is probably better for Turkey not to join the euro zone. Other countries that may suffer as the Greeks are Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Spain.

I believe the European Union should show solidarity in solving the Greek debt crisis and include private creditors such as banks, insurance companies and pension funds, for a substantial contribution. Moreover, private sector contributions should be voluntary.

Ali Budak, Abu Dhabi

As a Turkish woman, I should express my deepest and most sincere feelings for the Greeks in their crisis. Greece was part of the Ottoman empire for centuries before winning independence in 1821. Since then, these two countries (both members of Nato) have fought over Turkey's rights in northern Cyprus and in the Aegean Sea. But relations improved since the summer of 1999 when an earthquake hit both countries and sparked sympathy, solidarity and mutual aid between the governments and citizens.

Greek people are our neighbours, historically and geographically, and their current suffering does not make me and my Turkish fellow citizens happy at all. I wish the Greeks good luck and success.

Gaye Caglayan, Dubai

Doubts cast on news from Syria

In reference to the front page news article Opposition in Syria prepares 'Salvation' manifesto (June 20), four months of "reporting" through YouTube and Facebook has poisoned the chances for a settlement between pro- and anti-Assad Syrians.

What began as calls for political change deteriorated into civil conflict. The Syrian government's response was disproportionate and led to civilian deaths. However, the directors of this rebellion were equally wrong in exploiting the fighting. They did not call for negotiations but used the killings to enrage others as well as to involve foreign powers.

While the international media, especially in the US and EU, have taken up the YouTube organisers' story line, real information has become difficult to obtain. The well-prepared clips that make it on the internet seem intended to aggravate rather than inform.

The true number of protesters has been exaggerated. For all the claims of indiscriminate shooting - tanks, helicopters, snipers, machine guns, bombing of towns - the death toll of 1,500 to 2,000 in four months does not sound right.

Joseph Elias, Abu Dhabi

Deciding whether to wed or to work

In reference to the opinion column by Fatima al Shamsi To wed or to work (June 8), I've been over and over this topic with my friends, myself and parents for about two years now, ever since I graduated from university and joined the work force.

The thing is, although I agree that nothing can or should stop us from being mothers and career women, with the demanding nature of work nowadays it gets to a point where you have to choose one to keep your sanity.

I find myself thinking at times: do I really want to keep doing this? I'm not married yet, there isn't even the prospect of someone in sight, but I know that when I get to that stage, I will let go of my career dreams in a heartbeat for the sake of my children and family life.

I have no doubt about it (provided that we're doing all right financially).

But right now, I'm playing in the "extra time" round.

Reem al Shaka, Dubai

A tale of corporate responsibility

I would like to call attention to a heart-warming story of corporate responsibility here in Abu Dhabi. This concerns a Pakistani friend of mine who recently had a heart attack.

He works as a baggage loader for Falcon Aviation at Bateen Airport. After his heart attack, he was taken to Al Noor Hospital where he received top care including angioplasty surgery during a one week stay at company expense. Furthermore, Falcon Aviation gave him a month off and paid for his air travel to go home. He has been assured that his job is not in jeopardy.

While we occasionally read stories of ill-treated labourers, I want to praise Falcon Aviation for its humanitarian spirit.

Richard Antablin, Abu Dhabi