x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Real cause of famine is poor leadership

A reader says bad governance, not international aid, is at fault when there is famine. Other letter topics: freeloading visitors, America's problems, ideology, clean energy, and Meryl Streep.

In Somalia, and elsewhere, international aid organisations have made some mistakes in fighting famine, but the real blame belongs with incapable governments, a reader argues. Tony Karumba / AFP
In Somalia, and elsewhere, international aid organisations have made some mistakes in fighting famine, but the real blame belongs with incapable governments, a reader argues. Tony Karumba / AFP

The essay Yes we made mistakes, but look at what we've done in Africa (January 21) missed an important point.

Certainly international aid agencies are not perfect, and could do better in relieving famine. But blaming the agencies is ridiculous. In almost every case of famine around the world the culprit is bad governance.

Note that there are no famines in North or South America, or Europe, or anyplace where governments keep the peace, are reasonably free of corruption, are responsible in some way to the public, and allow people the economic freedom to tend to their own affairs.

Where governments fail in these ways, people starve to death. Blaming aid agencies which try to help is just foolish.

Michael Khoury, Dubai

Make visitors pay their fair share

Your personal finance editor Felicity Glover must have a remarkably tight-fisted bunch of relatives and friends.

In her entertaining article In these times of austerity, guests can be costly (January 21) she never once mentions her visitors taking out their wallets to pay for anything.

She is right, however, that such visits can be costly. My wife and I find that advance booking saves money on some things.

Don Lowry, Dubai

Americans should worry about USA

Your editorial Now is time for a deep breath on Iran crisis (January 20) makes me wonder why the Americans don't concentrate on their own problems.

One American in 10 has no job. One in six lives on food stamps, a form of dole. President Barack Obama has been called the "food stamp president".

If war starts, again people will suffer but the US will not, since they are far from the battlefield. For everyone, including the Americans, war is not the answer. Let us pray that there will be no war in this region any more.

Mohamed Ismail, Sharjah

Governance must change with times

I refer to Egyptian scholar says Islamist win is just a blip (January 20)

I believe that ideological governments belong to past centuries and will not deliver anything but misery.

It doesn't matter which ideology: Islamist, Zionist, Marxist, capitalist, Maoist, etc. They all fail, since society's needs change with time, but typecast static rules cannot be changed, and will eventually cripple the society.

Good laws are those enacted 100 per cent based on the needs of the people, not to satisfy any ideology.

Ali Noor, Dubai

We need cleaner sources of energy

I have a comment about Masdar and Scotland sign clean-energy innovation deal (January 18).

I applaud the willingness to invest in research and development on renewable energy.

But I see no reference to how any of these concepts effect the ecosystems and resources of the planet. For example: what happens to captured and stored carbon dioxide when we have earthquakes and a massive amount of carbon gushes into the atmosphere at once?

Even wind, solar and wave power have their problems: negative impacts on birds, insects, bats, fish spawning grounds, and so on. And biofuels are using precious farmlands we need for food.

We still need wholly new, non-carbon energy sources.

Pam Jacob, US

The story about carbon capture (Deep down under the ground, January 21) was informative.

I would like to think this technique can help solve the world's problems, but it's hard to believe all this unwanted gas will stay where we put it.

VJ Mehta, Dubai

Make parents protect children

I can't understand why so many parents still have not understood why they need to protect their children (A third of parents still not using child seats, January 21).

Perhaps all parents should be made, maybe during prenatal medical check-ups, to look at photos of traffic accidents involving unbelted children.

That would be a brutal way to get the problem across, but this is a lesson that needs to be learnt.

Dr Thomas Emmett, Abu Dhabi

Fan of Streep enjoyed profile

Thank you for the lively article on the great Meryl Streep (Prime Time, M magazine, January 21). She's one of my favourites and it's wonderful to have a little glimpse of her family life.

Sonya Dryer, Abu Dhabi