x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Spare some compassion for stray cats

A reader takes the plight of hungry felines seriously. Other topics today include Hizbollah's relations with Bashar Al Assad, protection of Tamils and other topics.

A reader says Dubai's move to fine people for taking care of stray cats is the wrong way to address the challenge of unwanted animals. Silvia Razgova / The National
A reader says Dubai's move to fine people for taking care of stray cats is the wrong way to address the challenge of unwanted animals. Silvia Razgova / The National

In your opinion piece, Hizbollah is forced to choose sides against its own interests (March 20), your columnist Faisal Al Yafai has described the group as the "regions's most powerful non-state military", which he also says is predominantly Shia and will go down the drain with Bashar Al Assad's fall.

Hizbollah started as a small group in 1982, working at the grass-root level providing social and civil services to the people in southern Lebanon who were suffering military occupation by the Israeli armed forces. It became a military force - able to withstand for 34 days an Israeli onslaught in July 2006. It is now an all-inclusive organisation.

Sheikh Naeem Qassem, Hizbollah's Deputy Secretary-General, says in his book, Hizbollah - the story from within, that their success in the July 2006 war was due to the support it got from the Lebanese people, where Sunni Muslims and Maronite Christians volunteered to be at the frontline along with Hizbollah's fighters.

The two main objectives of Hizbollah are to liberate the occupied lands and defend Lebanon against the threat posed by Israel. To achieve these two objectives Hizbollah has been making friends of enemies, and enemies of friends.

Its leadership will not remain tied to the drowning Bashar Al Assad.

Syed Qamar Hasan, Abu Dhabi

Saddened by lack of compassion

Thank you for Rym Ghazal's column, A starvation policy for stray cats and a fine for compassion (March 21). I have to say that it was beautifully written and truly inspiring.

I used to be an English teacher at a school in Sharjah but I always managed to talk about compassion in my classes to encourage my grade 6 students to be more lenient towards animals.

For five years I went around, from school to school, grade to grade, trying to convince children and teenagers that animals aren't our enemies. Once, a stray dog came into our school and was hiding in the parking lot. The general response was to "stone him".

I had to take off my abaya and crawl under the car to encourage the dog to come out to show them that he is more scared of us that we were of him.

I was really beginning to believe that our country was finally changing. Then I read this about bans on feeding cats, and I am appalled by it. It's like all my years of trying to convince people were erased by this one law in Dubai; a fine if you feed a stray or a bird.

I am truly disappointed, but am grateful for your article.

Thank you for voicing your concerns and your opinions in an effort to elicit change.

Wafa Mohammed, Sharjah

Safety of Tamils should be ensured

It is not a surprise that Tamil communities across Europe want an international tribunal to force Sri Lanka to reply to accusations of war crimes during the fighting there (UN probe into killings is testing India-Sri Lanka ties, March 22).

Some reports state that Tamils are the "last" surviving classical civilisation on Earth, as their earliest works date from the 3rd century BC. However this honour doesn't make them live proudly due to human rights violations by Sri Lankan officials.

I hope that the Sri Lankan government guarantees the safety and security of those UN workers who are tasked with checking on the living and working conditions of Tamils.

Dilara Akay, Turkey

Water headline deserves praise

Bravo, bravo, bravissimo to the headline writer who came up with Water filter needed…the quality is murky if not strained (March 21).

The National's coverage of water quality issues has been quite good, but the writer who turned Shakespeare's lines from The Merchant of Venice - "the quality of mercy is not strained" - into that headline deserves an award.

Joe Gannon, Abu Dhabi

What happened to water campaigns?

Your articles - including Ground water 'may run out in 55 years' (March 22) - about water conservation remind me of the projects that the government advertised a year or so ago.

There was the Heroes of the UAE campaign and also the Watersavers campaign, where every home in Abu Dhabi was to be fitted with water saving devices for our taps. I was wondering what actually became of these campaigns. Are they still on going?

There isn't even anywhere in my area (near Najda and Al Falah Streets) that we can recycle, another concern I have. It seems a shame to have to save our rubbish and drive our car to a recycling point on the Corniche. It's not exactly environmentally friendly.

Biba Husak, Abu Dhabi