x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

The heroines of the Egyptian revolution

Readers respond to The National's coverage

The British actress Amanda Holden arrives at the 'Britain's Got Talent' auditions in London. A reader deplores the excessive social media traffic about her stillborn son. John Phillips / UK Press
The British actress Amanda Holden arrives at the 'Britain's Got Talent' auditions in London. A reader deplores the excessive social media traffic about her stillborn son. John Phillips / UK Press

In reference to the news article A social revolution for women too (February 14), no doubt the Egyptian revolution has become a wonderful success for the whole-hearted support and participation of Egyptian women. Without their support, the men could not have made such a historic fight. The empowered Egyptian women made their own freedom and emancipation. They challenged the false notion about the fear of Arab women through their eager public participation. That same spirit should be reflected throughout the Arab and Islamic world.

Nobody will dare to harass or intimidate bold, empowered and emancipated women. With the Egyptian revolution, women not only in the Arab world but the entire Islamic world are becoming aware of their role and power and they are becoming empowered to redefine their societies and challenge corruption, injustice and oppression.

In the coming days, ideas, knowledge and information technology are going to redefine social relationships and revolutionise mankind all over the world, besides emancipating women in an unimaginable way.

Dr Raju M Mathew, Al Ain

The downside of the social media

I have just read Philippa Kennedy's article Times of trial for Amanda Holden - and others (February 10) and was so in agreement with her views I felt compelled to drop a quick line. The author disparaged the excessive social media response to the British actress's loss of her baby at seven months. I couldn't agree with her more that it is shameful the way certain celebrities jump on the back of other people's sorrow so readily. And it seems B list celebrities, as she rightly states, are the most common.

The statement is so true that mothers who have lost babies in early pregnancy due to miscarriage, or later with a still birth, never do forget the date of this dreadful event or the date they were due to have their baby.

I miscarried at eight weeks last Christmas Eve and although I feel cheated, I quietly think about Ms Holden and the pain she has to go through. She no doubt will come out of her grieving hideaway before too long, and try to get her life back to some kind of normality. But the sad thing is the tabloids and paparazzi will be eagerly waiting in the wings, and the public will lap it up.

Name Withheld by Request

Good textbooks cost money

Two letters to the editor published under the headline UAE history needs a major rewrite in school textbooks (February 10) commented favourably on Peter Hellyer's opinion article When textbooks are this bad, students can't learn (February 8).

The Ministry of Education is trying to do publishing on the cheap. Producing quality textbooks is not cheap, and requires a publishing infrastructure staffed by specialists: instructional designers, editors, proofreaders, graphic designers and support staff. Formal arrangements must be in place to identify teachers with the relevant writing skills, and their teaching load must be reduced in order to write their manuscripts. And for English-language textbooks, English must be the first language of editors and proof readers.

All this costs money and, unless it is spent, then the Ministry's textbooks will continue to be poor.

LA Waygood, Abu Dhabi

Reflections of a German Muslim

The article 'Freedom' party singles out Muslims (February 7) reported on a new German anti-Muslim party. As a German, born and bred, who funnily enough converted to Islam without being coerced, forced or threatened to do so, I guess I am lucky that they can't just throw me out and forbid me to cover up. I guess I can do what I want in my country.

I agree with the article that more should be done within the families to teach and use the German language with the children. I disagree, though, that a "Wilders-like" party has any chance of achieving 20 per cent in general elections. Locally yes, nationally they'll struggle with the 5 per cent hurdle.

Much of the anti-Muslim sentiment originates in the area previously known as East Germany - a region which had nearly zero contact to the Muslim world in the decades prior to unification and hence no practice in interaction. Many "new Germans" felt they had more rights to the German wealth and saw competition especially in the "old Germans with a migration background" who have been living and working the German way for a long time and ended up financing the reunification through their taxes. To me, "biting the hand that feeds you" springs to mind.

The important fact is anything "foreign" is the easiest to pick on. Döner (a Turkish shawarma) is more popular than ever, though, and as long as appetite wins over politics, there is hope.

I can't wait for my next visit to see for myself how my fellow Germans react to my headscarf.

Nina Hoffmann, Dubai