x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Universe gets smaller

Has the speed of light's time come? Other letters comment on splits in Israeli society, child safety and corner stores.

A reader comments that the Large Hadron Collider is changing our understanding of the universe. Martial Trezzini / AP
A reader comments that the Large Hadron Collider is changing our understanding of the universe. Martial Trezzini / AP

Faisal Al Yafai's comment that Israeli society is growing more fragmented (Israel's ability to make peace in the region starts at home, December 6) is correct.

However, in spite of the fact that there are Arabs and Jews, liberals and social democrats, deeply religious and secular populations in Israel, the possibility of mass protests in Israel similar to the Arab Spring seems very low.

First, due to the perception of an existential threat facing Israel since its founding, the unity of the Israeli nation has become an obsession.

Second, due to the population which is so heterogeneous and divided along political, religious and social lines, mass protests movements with the support of an entire population are not basically possible.

Third, due to compulsory military service from the age of 18 for all men and women, early years of adulthood are spent in the army leaving little time for the streets.

Obviously there were tent protesters in Israel, mostly college students, in the summer of 2011. These young people chanted that the people want social justice but they left their tents when the new academic year or military service began in August.

All neighbours are right to be worried about the growing fragmentation of Israeli society, but not about some sort of chaotic and violent regime change in Israel.

Gaye Caglayan, Dubai

'Old' corner stores give capital charm

How ghastly that Abu Dhabi will rub out corner stores and replace them with outlets where everything is the same (Shopkeepers 'face ruin' as renovation deadline nears, December 5). This will kill off any local charm.

Whether someone has an electric cash register or just a drawer doesn't affect the cleanliness of the store. Whether food is well wrapped or if fridges are clean - this is what is important. I have never bought anything that I felt was inedible.

Abu Dhabi will become a very sterile city and much like a hotel lobby rather than the habitable city it is if we loose the local grocer. Every city must keep an element of the "old" to retain some history and soul so people can feel they belong.

Name withheld by request

Excuse me while I lament the end of the mom and pop shop downstairs. The only winners here will be the big franchise companies certain to swoop in and set up overpriced convenience stores that cost more and don't deliver.

I feel sorry for the man who has delivered my water for the past three years. Or the gentleman who takes my order over the phone. What a shame to destroy the lives of these real people.

Donald Glass, Abu Dhabi

Locks and parents can save children

When I first moved to Dubai with my 3-year-old daughter, I searched for a simple swing lock that could lock all my balcony doors so that she could not open them by herself.

But here in this developed city with so many family with kids and so many high skyscrapers with balconies, I couldn't find one. I went to big a hypermarket, Ace Hardware and even small shops. None of them had one (Families rue lack of shops that sell locks, December 6).

It cost me less than Dh5 to get it sent to me from my home country of Singapore.

This simple swing long lock can either be drilled to the door or glued on. It ensures that the kids are kept indoors when I am doing housework or sleeping.

Personally, I feel that parents should be more responsible when taking care of their kids and monitor their movements, whether they are playing at home or at the play ground or elsewhere. But from what I have observed, most parents here like to leave their kids unattended.

Leaving children alone at home is a no-no for me. No place is safe for kids; it's our responsible to keep them safe.

Ray Toh, Dubai

Nothing could be more saddening and shocking than the thought of children falling out of buildings. But who is to blame? Parents? No.

Punishing negligent parents would not solve the problem. What could be the harsher punishment than losing one's child? Parents are generally careful. If they were not so, there would be reports of children falling daily.

The problem lies with poorly designed windows and balconies. These deficiencies need to be addressed on an urgent basis to save young lives. Pointing the finger at parents will not solve this problem.

Muneer Ahmad, Abu Dhabi

Has the speed of light's time come?

What if the speed of light isn't constant, as some physicists suggested recently (Sorry Einstein, November 21)?

What if the speed of light varies through time and space?

That would create some interesting theory. At least I think so.

Otto Krog, Denmark