x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Readers write on sexual health and a Himalayan trek

Readers write on illiteracy, Hindi theatre and Libyan oil

Your feature asked the perennial question: Why are so few reading Arabic books? (April 23). But that which holds Arabic culture back is an overall refusal to engage with literature, not any concern with illiteracy.

The average reader in the Gulf reads four pages of literature a year. Compare this to the UK - where an average reader consumes eight books a year; and the US - 12 books a year.

Steven Wade, Abu Dhabi

Hindi theatre wins breakthrough

I read your article, Theatre group heads into Hindi (April 21), with interest. I just got back from watching these two wonderful Hindi plays. Salmin Sheriff, a key member of the group, is a brilliant actor.

And it was lovely to see the younger actors gain valuable experience in a theatre, and under his guidance. The performances were heartfelt, raw - in a good way - and honest.

Nida S, Dubai

Marai's fans across the border

Worthwhile insights into the work of the Austro-Hungarian author of Portraits of a Marriage: One man, two wives, nine perspectives (April 22).

But the picture of Sandor Márai is not taken in Hungary, as is written in the byline.Košice is actually a city in Slovakia.

Zuzan Gallic, Dubai

Health concerns now understood

I read your coverage, Rise in HIV rate draws cautious response from health officials (April 20), about the rise in the number of people infected with HIV in the UAE that are seeking new or renewed visas, with interest.

We should care more about the issue of sexual health overall. The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention reports that over 70 million people are living with a sexually transmitted disease in the US.

For those living with such concerns, I'd like to reassure them that many of us will not reject or discriminate against them.

The global understanding of sexual health has improved considerably.

Sarah L, US

It's the oil, stupid: Libya's unrest

Regarding the comment, Would it be too unkind to ask your real Libyan intentions, Mr Sarkozy? (April 22), Gianpiero Cantoni, an Italian politician has suggested that French attempts to maintain its leading role in the UN-backed action rather than transfer command to Nato were driven by hopes of future oil contracts with a new Libyan government. Yes, even the Italians have pinned the Libyan unrest on the French. But scepticism is in order.

The author writes: "But Paris undoubtedly made a meal of Col Qaddafi's transition from international pariah to acceptable head of state.

Few have forgotten the lavish welcome afforded by the president Nicolas Sarkozy, when his Libyan counterpart visited France in 2007."

Yet if it weren't for former US president George W Bush and former UK prime minister Tony Blair having previously anointed Col Qaddafi as a newly, reborn figurehead, and strong-arming Mr Sarkozy into changing France's stance, Col Qaddafi's official renaissance on the world stage wouldn't have happened.

The whole affair has little to do with Libya's humanitarian needs and more to do with the state of the world's oil market.

Sebastien Corneuster, Dubai

Himalayan cause scores new allies

Thank you for your support in publicising the cause Himalayan cycling expedition seeks three more riders (January 24) of our Nepalese charity Mission Himalayan, that seeks to rebuild an orphanage.

We now have two more cyclists and hopefully another will join by the end of this month.

We are looking forward to the trip now.

Mita Srinivasan, Dubai

Superbus runs well, so let's test it

Very exciting news indeed Superbus drives like a car in UAE test (April 19).

However, a technological, economic, social and environmental evaluation including a whole-of-life-cycle costing needs to be undertaken. Data arising from a crash assessment as well as tests on technical performance, road worthiness, production capacity, supply and operational aspects will also be needed.

Lessons are there to be learnt from Dubai's metro and the Palm Jumeirah monorail.

Sumi Tiwari, Dubai