x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Past can't be judged by today's moral standards

Readers welcomed an analysis of the modern meaning of 1930s racism in Tintin comics. Other letters topics: cricket scandals, our front-page photo, Greece, and bribing the media.

The new Tintin film has raised issues among readers about 'social justice' in the earlier books. Courtesy Paramount Pictures
The new Tintin film has raised issues among readers about 'social justice' in the earlier books. Courtesy Paramount Pictures

Thank you for the insightful essay The desire to revise versus the need to remember (November 5).

Starting with the racism in an old Tintin comic, Laura Collins captured the dilemma faced by writers and readers of history. How are we to understand, for example, an era when all leading institutions - think of ancient Rome - supported and approved of slavery? If we condemn the whole society for such attitudes, we are far less likely to have a chance to understand it.

"Social justice" keeps evolving. Judging the past by today's standards is neither useful nor just.

Ross Ladouceur, Dubai

I have long loved the Tintin comics, and while Tintin in the Congo is a little disturbing, it doesn't make sense to be upset by this.

I find it more useful to consider what it means that Hergé was reflecting attitudes so common in the West in the 1930s that the comic's racism and cruelty went unchallenged for decades.

Marie Aloisio, Dubai

Pro sport used to be more honest

Reading the article Nobody surprised by a cricket scandal except the punters (November 6), I was reminded of playing football professionally in Turkey in my teens in the 1970s. There was no spot fixing.

Partly because of great public interest, some athletes now attempt to obtain an illegal financial advantage and end up banned from their sports for life.

I wish that we all had fair, competitive and enjoyable games played in an honest and dignified manner.

Ali Budak, Abu Dhabi

Why no reporters at Test match?

I was dismayed to see that The National is covering the Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at Sharjah with reports from news agencies. Why isn't Osman Samiuddin or Paul Radley covering this event for your readers?

I've been at the stadium and enjoyed the match. But I would have loved to read their observations.

Anwar Khan, Dubai

Wrong image on paper's front page

There is no greater event for Muslims than the day our brethren spend on Mount Arafat to mark the climax of the annual Haj pilgrimage, a moving day that can afford some of the most beautiful pictures, capturing moments of true supplication.

What a pity, then, that The National's front page on Sunday offered a picture of the Volvo Ocean Race, an event with which very few of your readers can connect. There was not even a mention of the Haj and Mount Arafat on your front page.

Taher Afridi, Abu Dhabi

Arab League must not fail on Syria

I refer to Arab League warns peace deal failure would be 'catastrophic' for Syria (November 5).

It is time for the Arab League to flex its muscles. This will be a message that peace, stability and prosperity are the foundation of the Arab League's mandate.

I hope the League will not fail in this.

Tom Pattillo, Canada

What is the Greek PM trying to do?

Does George Papandreou really think he is helping his country? Your report Greek PM in crisis as protests grow (November 6) really makes me wonder.

In a crisis, any country needs a leader who shows constancy of purpose. In other words he must make people think that he has a good plan and is sticking to it.

Mr Papandreou must know this, and yet he has shocked his countrymen and the world not once but twice, first by proposing a referendum on the bailout plan without even winning over his finance minister, and then by reversing this proposal.

This is no time for elections in Greece, but it's no time for improvisation, either.

Tom Kalogerakis, Abu Dhabi


Media must retain the public's trust

Re The taint of bribes in media still corrupts coverage (November 6).

To "enhance society by creating, collecting and distributing high quality news, information and entertainment" is the "core purpose" of the New York Times, and should be the core purpose of all news organisations.

I am glad to see that The National strictly adheres to that purpose; that's one reason I subscribe.

Recent abuses, such as those which killed the News of the World, were bad examples not to be followed by other media.

Codes and canons should provide those in the business of news with a framework for self-monitoring and self-correction. Media must keep earning public trust.

Gaye Caglayan, Dubai