x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Turkey balances aspirations and conscience

Big budgets, bad movies. The Daniel Craig film Cowboys & Aliens shows how big budgets are used to disguise weak stories, a reader suggests. Other topics: Turkey's leadership, pudgy gym teachers, Afghan minerals, small shops and Nakheel.

The new film Cowboys & Aliens, featuring Daniel Craig with space-alien hardware on his wrist, is an example of the way big-budget movies often have plots that are just silly, a reader says. Courtesy Universal Studios
The new film Cowboys & Aliens, featuring Daniel Craig with space-alien hardware on his wrist, is an example of the way big-budget movies often have plots that are just silly, a reader says. Courtesy Universal Studios

In Erdogan takes centre stage (September 14) and elsewhere, The National has portrayed Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a Muslim leader of great stature, which he is. Only he, among the Muslim leaders, has boldly stood against Israeli policies.

This is true although Turkey knows well enough that any confrontation with Israel invites the wrath of the US and Europe. And Turkey has great aspirations for joining the European Union, and is a member of Nato.

Turkey has put its future on the line, and has boldly stood by Arabs and Muslims. In this generation Turkey has balanced its conscience with its aspirations.

Kanwar Hayat, Dubai

I find it natural that Turkey is stepping up its role in the Arab world.

After all, the country now called Turkey was a major player in this part of the world for centuries, and now that Turkey has a democratic system and is flourishing economically, and has been snubbed by Europe, it is natural for Turkey's leaders to look in this direction.

It seems to me that Turkey will be a good influence on the region, and I welcome these new moves.

Amun Minyawi, Dubai

Make PE teachers be in good shape

Re: Unfit PE teachers to face the high jump (September 14).

This is a sensible policy that, if applied fairly, should really improve the stature of physical education in our schools. Just as you couldn't have an illiterate person teaching English or Arabic, so it doesn't make sense to have somebody who's out of shape teaching PE.

There's another point, too: PE teachers need to be even more enthusiastic about their subject than other teachers do about theirs, to compensate for the lack of enthusiasm many students have about exercise.

Damon Matthews, Abu Dhabi

Budgets bigger, but films worse

Your piece about the new film Cowboys & Aliens (Genre horseplay, September 15) said the film had a "preposterous premise" and on the basis of the article, I can only agree.

I think it's evident to anyone with half a brain that as movie budgets at the big Hollywood studios get bigger and bigger, the films get dumber and dumber.

Luckily there are still some smaller studios and so-called independents who are still concentrating on story and character, but overall the days of quality studio movies are over.

And unfortunately for us, the better movies seem to be crowded out of the UAE's cinemas by children's films and special-effects blockbusters. Films I want to see don't play here, or are available for just a few days. It's frustrating.

Marie Roman, Dubai

No room left for really small shops?

The story Small shops take battle to big-box retail chains (September 14) explains that competing chains of convenience stores are now planning to open many branches across the country.

The story says these will compete with big-box retailers, which would be fine.

But I fear they will cut the knees out from under the true "small shops" - independent local corner grocers who offer real convenience. Chain shops are soulless by comparison.

Katherine Horn, Abu Dhabi

Waiting for word on Nakheel's plans

Re: Nakheel running a tighter ship (September 14). So I wonder, what are Nakheel's plans to compensate purchasers/mortgagees who may be still waiting for properties to be delivered, and incurring costs while they wait?

Rob Charlton, Dubai

Drilling down to real Afghan issue

A headline in your paper, India eyes Afghan mining contract (September 15) finally digs down to the true reason for all the fighting over Afghanistan.

Beneath all those lawless Afghan hillsides, $1.5 trillion (Dh5.5tr) in minerals lies waiting to be extracted. India doesn't want Pakistan to get them, and vice versa. The Russians wanted them. No doubt the Americans want them.

Everybody wants this treasure, but there is little reason to think that Afghanistan's medieval power structure can be stabilised enough to permit any large-scale extraction operations.

That means, I'm afraid, that there will be fighting over this wealth for a long time to come.

VJ Mehta, Dubai

Abandoned baby

Regarding Baby found on doorstep in RAK is healthy, doctors say (September 13), what happens to the child if the mother is not found?

Name withheld by request