x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Shooting the messenger?

A reader notes that North Korea is targetting media infrastructure in the South. Other letter topics: public libraries, abandoned cars and child abuse.

North Korea's targeting of the South's media is proof of Pyongyang's paranoia, a reader says. Vincent Yu / AP Photo
North Korea's targeting of the South's media is proof of Pyongyang's paranoia, a reader says. Vincent Yu / AP Photo

I write in response to Khaled Diab's opinion article, Full-scale boycott of Israeli academics is unproductive (June 5).

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) has consistently called for a boycott of Israel and its academic - and cultural - institutions due to their well-documented collusion in the state's colonial and apartheid policies. PACBI has never called for a boycott of academics, per se. Neither has it called upon Palestinian citizens of Israel and those compelled to carry Israeli identification documents to refrain from studying or teaching at those Israeli institutions.

That would have been an absurd position, given the lack of practical alternatives.

Successive Israeli governments, committed to suppressing Palestinian national identity in their pursuit of maintaining Israel's character as a Jewish state, have made every effort possible to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian university inside Israel.

Palestinians, like any people under apartheid or colonial rule, have insisted on their rights, including their right to education, even if the only venues available were apartheid or colonial institutions. Nelson Mandela studied law at the Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, one of the most notorious apartheid institutes then.

Similarly, leaders of the anti-colonial resistance movement in India and Egypt, among many other countries, received their education at British universities at the height of the colonial era.

Omar Barghouti, founding member of PACBI, Ramallah, West Bank

Abandoned cars hurt city's image

I collected a friend arriving at Abu Dhabi international Airport earlier this week and parked up in the short-stay car park for the first time in a few months.

I was surprised and disappointed to see a large number of clearly abandoned cars in the car park, covered in thick layers of dirt and in many cases with flat tyres.

As well as taking up valuable space in the always-busy car park, these abandoned vehicles give the wrong impression to visitors arriving in Abu Dhabi.

A city's airport is the window to a visitor's experience: so much money has been spent in the past few years that we now have a world-class airport to be proud of.

Sadly, the impressive gloss starts to rub off after a short wander through the car park. Even my friend, who had just arrived from the UK, noticed and asked whether people were leaving the UAE in droves.

Sarah Bartlett, Abu Dhabi

Public libraries in short supply

In such a fast growing city as Abu Dhabi, we definitely need to expand the public library system.

The UAE government has been encouraging people to read, however the number of libraries accessible to the public has decreased. This is a big disappointment to book lovers and researchers.

Reading plays an important role in creating the next generation of thinkers, and having reachable libraries will make the process of planting the love of reading in our young children much easier.

We are asking the government to open libraries in all neighbourhoods across Abu Dhabi similar to those in Sharjah and Dubai.

Nour Ibrahim, Amna Rashid, Shair Dana Mohammed, Al Mawaheb Model School, Abu Dhabi

Prepared to shoot the messenger

I am writing about North Korean guns aimed at South Korean media (June 5).

The fact that the North Korean government has artillery aimed at the offices of South Korean media groups shows the reality of the modern electronic age.

As much armed might as South Korea has, the North Koreans are more worried about the simple power of information.

The regime's real enemy is the knowledge that its own people are obtaining, slowly but surely, about how much better life is for people in the South.

The pen - or, in these days, the website - really is mightier than the sword.

VJ Mehta, Dubai

Call for awareness over child abuse

I have just read two stories in your newspaper about child abuse (Jail for pilot who tried to kiss girl, 14 and Boy, 10, raped on way home from school, both June 6).

There seems to have been quite a few reports of incidents of sex abuse on a woman or children lately, and I believe this is a cause for concern.

This should not happen in a country like the UAE, where there is a well-organised judiciary and police network, and there is great respect towards women and children.

I think the culprits of these crimes should face severe punishment, immediately and publicly, once clear evidence is received against them.

I would also like to see regular awareness classes for families in each emirate.

KP Muhammad, Abu Dhabi