x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Reader comments on the pleasures of Beirut

Letters discuss Americans' attitude towards Israel, dangers of junk food, threats to Pakistan and speeding drivers.

An evening stroll in downtown Beirut: a reader agrees with our columnist that the pleasures of city life come with a natural quota of bustle and diversity which is all part of the urban fabric. Bryan Denton for The National
An evening stroll in downtown Beirut: a reader agrees with our columnist that the pleasures of city life come with a natural quota of bustle and diversity which is all part of the urban fabric. Bryan Denton for The National

As an American living in Dubai, I agree with the comment of Abdelbari Atwan of the newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi, quoted in your Arabic News Digest (May 26).

There are many US citizens who deplore the actions of Israel. It is completely incredible to many of us that our government continues to support the Israelis in their delusional self-approbation. I am astounded and ashamed of the US Congress and its sycophantic response to Benjamin Netanyahu's speech.

Please consider the possibility that the Congress is not truly reflecting the attitude of Americans on this issue. There are a lot of people who are tired of the notion that any criticism of Israel is anti-Jewish, and of the absurd idea that every Israeli action is preapproved by the deity.

Elizabeth Martin, Dubai

Diversity is vital

to urban lifestyle


I love the article Admit to taking the No 8 and brace for the guests to leave (May 26) as it articulates my feeling about Beirut's spirit.

I am a New Yorker who has lived in Beirut for eight years. I also admit to taking the bus, strolling Dora on weekends, going to flea markets and taking part in other activities New Yorkers - and city people around the world - love as part of the rich fabric of city life.

But all cities have a paranoid exclusive class. New Yorkers call them "suburbanites", using the term as an insult.

To my fellow Beirutis I say cherish your diversity. Interact, participate and preserve what is great about your city. Don't fear the poor and different. All members of a city bring it life and character.

Bedie Moran, Beirut

Parents need to resist junk food

I refer to Schools' junk-food ban needs similar action by parents (May 25).

Laws banning junk food from schools should be coupled with a campaign to educate the public, especially parents, about why junk food, processed food and high sugar intake are harmful.

There should be laws that hold parents accountable for children's health problems resulting from poor diet. Lack of knowledge about healthy food is just bad parenting.

Emad A Jasim, Sharjah

Pakistan doesn't need this advice

I was surprised to see the letter India is not Pakistan's enemy (May 25), apparently from an Indian expat who was trying to advise Pakistan to give up any concern about India's threat to its existence.

How can one forget India's role in breaking up Pakistan, which India still celebrates as the Day of Victory?

And why is India increasing its defence budget every year?

Pakistan today no doubt is going through the worst phase in its history but that does not mean Pakistanis have lost their senses completely.

Muneer Alam, Abu Dhabi

Get tough against speeding drivers

I agree with the letter Increase penalties for speeding (May 26), but penalties alone will not be enough to change public behaviour.

The majority of speeders and reckless drivers do not care about penalty money or the point system. A new law should send them to jail or cancel their licences.

Threatening other people's lives should be treated as a worse crime than sexual indecency or theft, for which lawmakers send people to jail. What is the difference between threatening life with a knife or with a crash?

JS, Abu Dhabi

The National doesn't generally contribute to a problem it covers.

But this week the paper had a story Female driver 'not typical' (May 22) with a photo of a young woman laughing and playing with her phone while driving. Two days later we read of a head-on collision which killed a parent and two of his children.

In other parts of the world driving can be enjoyable, but not here. Too many do not take driving seriously.

It's a big joke, as exemplified by this young woman laughing and saying at least now she recognises red lights.

We need better enforcement of the rules and comprehensive driver education in the classroom to make our roads and highways safer for everyone.

Name withheld by request

The news item Behaviour of drivers is 'suicidal' says head of Al Ain traffic police (May 25), coming from a high official in charge of traffic control, is alarming.

High speed on highways is clearly suicidal, but speeding on inner city roads is no less dangerous. I come across this every day.

The psychology of drivers is far more important than their physical skills. At the licensing stage, the testing does not include any method to assess the psychology of the individual.

Dr G Rajshekher, Dubai