x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Only place for Assad is prison

A reader says it's surprising that the Geneva conference is considering a political future for Bashar Al Assad should there be peace in Syria. Other topics: driving, breastfeeding, Pakistan

A reader expresses surprise that the Geneva conference is considering a future role for Bashar Al Assad if peace becomes a reality. Above, Louai Safi, of the Syrian National Coalition, briefs the media in Geneva. Philippe Desmazes / AFP
A reader expresses surprise that the Geneva conference is considering a future role for Bashar Al Assad if peace becomes a reality. Above, Louai Safi, of the Syrian National Coalition, briefs the media in Geneva. Philippe Desmazes / AFP

I find it extraordinary that the Geneva convention on Syria is even considering what position Bashar Al Assad would hold should there be peace. I cannot imagine anyone in the world contemplating anything other than him being brought before the court in The Hague and spending the rest of his life in prison, and that is generous in consideration of what he has done to the Syrian people and Syria. When one looks at photographs of the cities and the country it is heartbreaking, how did it come to this? Hubris: does he really think that he and then his children are entitled to lead the Syrian people and does anyone else?

Hizbollah has disgraced itself yet again for supporting such a man. If this is what Hizbollah stands for, it does not deserve any recognition in the Lebanese parliament or any place else that purports to lead people into peace, prosperity and security, which is what all leaders of people are expected to do when in such positions of power.

Name withheld by request

Could speed cameras be part of the problem?

I have yet to see any reader of The National pointing out the real cause of many of the accidents on the UAE roads. Believe it or not, it seems to be the well-intentioned speed cameras. Has no one noticed that people drive within the pace of traffic and then suddenly reduce their speed by 20kph as they approach a speed camera?

This causes following traffic to slam on their brakes often causing the dreaded rear-end collision or the domino effect of braking, which brings traffic to a complete standstill. One only needs to drive along Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Street (Salam Street) during rush hour around the 23rd Street intersection to observe this phenomenon. The problem is of course magnified when visibility is low due to fog, rain or sandstorm, as we have clearly seen with the recent accidents. Might I suggest either no speed cameras – police patrol works better – or one camera every 10 metres to keep the speed of traffic at a constant rate.

Trevor Bundus, Abu Dhabi

Why blame fog for accidents and then get a quote from a self-confessed “crazy driver” (Heavy fog on Abu Dhabi-Dubai motorway causes traffic chaos, January 16)?

If drivers are unable to adapt to road and weather conditions, they should not be allowed to drive. I have been driving here for the past 37 years and have found that a large number of drivers are aggressive, selfish and drive dangerously, putting other drivers’ lives at risk, as well as their own and in many cases their families. Until the main highways are policed properly and drivers held accountable for their recklessness, we will continue to read about these incidents.

Jeremy Weeks, Abu Dhabi

More needs to be done for mothers

I am responding to the article Breastfeeding should be a choice, not a legal obligation, say UAE mothers (January 26). In the beginning, babies need to be breast-fed every two to three hours. How much time do mothers get to take care of that need? That alone proves that new mothers need longer maternity leave.

Canada has one-year maternity leave paid at 55 per cent.

Kasey Jane, Dubai

I am all for breastfeeding. However, it should be encouraged not forced. The last thing a baby needs is an upset and stressed mother. I agree that maternity leave should be extended in the UAE.

The UK also has one-year maternity leave. This is a vital time for the mother and baby to bond and it helps the child’s development. Therefore, providing longer maternity leave would be far more beneficial than forcing mothers to breast feed.

Clare Toffee, Al Ain

Every workplace should have nurseries as a rule, not just for feeding mothers but also those who have school-age kids because those children will be sometimes sick.

Sometimes those mothers have no choice but to leave their sick children in the hands of their maids. But their mind will be at home and not able to concentrate on their work.

If there are facilities to keep small children at the workplace, the mother would be able to look after the child as well as do her work.

Unavailability of such facilities is one of the reasons for many mothers to stay at home. Companies will benefit by allowing them to work efficiently.

Shahina Afsar, Dubai

Musharraf’s ‘errors’ being repeated

Detractors of Pervez Musharraf always demonise him for supporting the coalition forces’s action in Afghanistan after September 11 and for Pakistan’s subsequent gaining of the status of a non-Nato ally.

What is unbelievable is the fact that both governments after him – that of Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif – instead of rectifying Mr Musharraf’s “mistake”, chose to continue with that status and gleefully claim the money under the Coalition Support Fund. The finance ministers proudly report such disbursements as a kind of achievement.

Mohammed Hamza, Dubai