x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

The rampant trade in wildlife is a hazard

Letter writers comment on photos documenting development in Dubai, Salman Rushdie, Java's history, Bill Gates and school places.

It can be both dangerous and cruel to keep big cats at your home, a reader says. Delores Johnson / The National
It can be both dangerous and cruel to keep big cats at your home, a reader says. Delores Johnson / The National

The aerial photos of Dubai (Several giant leaps for Dubai, January 27) were an excellent way to show the rapid development of the city.

I went to the internet, as I'm sure many other readers did, to see the whole series of photos. It's amazing how much has been accomplished in a decade, including the emergence of the Palm.

But what really impressed me was the amount of new building that went on between 2008, when the slump began, and the most recent photo. Despite all the well-known troubles of the property industry, the city kept growing.

Joseph Jefferson, Dubai

Lions and tigers not house pets

I was interested in Where the wild things shouldn't be (January 28) about the import of big cats such as lions and tigers, apparently without permits.

It seems clear that a number of wealthy people are keeping big cats in private zoos.

This strikes me as both cruel and dangerous.

Katherine Malloch, Abu Dhabi

'Excellent work' by our cartoonist

Shadi Ghanim's cartoons are spot on every day. Excellent work.

Nirmal Khanna, Dubai

Former judge unfair to Rushdie

Markander Katju, chairman of the Press Council of India and until recently a judge of the Supreme Court of India, has stated that Salman Rushdie is a "poor and substandard" writer.

This view is based on ignorance of the English language and literature.

Mr Katju has made sweeping and baseless statements on one of the finest writers of our times.

Rushdie's knowledge and mastery of the English language is among the best. He knows how to tell a story, in brilliant prose.

Unwarranted criticism merely exposes the hollowness of Rushdie's critics.

Rajendra K Aneja, Dubai

Dutch apology sets precedent

Thank you for reporting on the Dutch government's formal apology for the 1947 massacre on Indonesia's Java Island (Netherlands acknowledges its rights transgressions, January 27).

As a teacher with students of different nationalities, I would not normally take sides on the policies of their beloved nations. But knowing that Dutch troops executed Indonesian men and boys before the eyes of their families in Rawagede in December 1947 makes a teacher heart-broken.

I was expecting such an apology and compensation for the plaintiffs from the Dutch, after the Hague-based civil court found them responsible for the killings.

In future no government can simply walk away from past mistakes.

Ayse Arzu Caglayan, Turkey

Monopolies hurt consumers

It was interesting to read that import monopolies are being abolished for a range of foodstuffs (Shoppers hoping for lower prices January 28).

I hadn't even known that there were import monopolies. For the government to do away with this anti-consumer regulation is truly progressive, and very welcome.

Peter Burrell, Dubai

Leaders matter, not the system

In your report Capitalism 'does not solve everything', says Bill Gates (January 27) Mr Gates failed to mention that the wealth he made in a capitalist system allowed him to donate millions to charity.

No system in our world today could solve all our problems, especially those of the less fortunate.

What dictates whether a system is a success or failure boils down to leadership. A country is only as successful as its leaders.

It does the country no good when leaders hoard billions that could have paid for enhanced social programmes, job creation, better hospitals and a thriving agricultural sector to keep food prices low.

"Occupy Wall Street" was not a protest against capitalism but a protest against the few that became greedy. Similarly the Arab Spring was an uprising not against a system, but against leaders who failed to give back to their people.

Randall Mohammed, Dubai

Education must come first

I refer to 'I arrived at 5am but 145 people were here' (January 28) on competition for school places.

It is not good to waste one year of a child's life just because the parents can't get his or her admission to a school here. They must send their wives and children back to their native country and ensure education starts on time.

Dr KB Vijayakumar, Dubai