Letters: Outsiders must stop meddling in Ukraine
Gerard O'Regan has once again missed the point by stating that '(John) Kerry has seen the horrors of war up close (which) should uniquely qualify him for his role'.
The post of secretary of state in the US has become designated to those who fail presidential elections, not those who would use their wit and wisdom to avert wars.
The US has gone to war more than any other country on the planet in recent times.
Both nations are still saddled with desolation and mayhem; their infrastructures are ruined and their people are far from reaching their promised democratic destinations.
On the other hand, as the unfolding crisis in Crimea has demonstrated, not a single shot was fired while Russians tightened their grip on this strategic peninsula on the Black Sea.
The overwhelming populace in Crimea are in favour of joining Mother Russia.
Their cultural, familial and historic ties are bound to soothe this historic transfer.
And while the spectre of financial meltdown is still lurking underneath global financial systems, Russia controls the gas supply to the whole of Europe and is in an influential position to use it as a diplomatic tool to assert its will.
Many commentators see the forthcoming referendum on the future of Crimea on March 16 as an act of desperation.
I view such sentiments as nothing less than a moral turpitude and a blatant departure from the truth.
What Ukrainians and Crimeans need at this juncture is for outsiders to stop meddling in their internal affairs, and to help them rebuild their institutions and be better prepared for future challenges.
Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob
TRUE NATURE OF LOVE
* Sean Smith wrote an interesting letter on March 8 in which he states as "a reluctant atheist" he envies Sean McElgunn's ability to accept the duality of not knowing, yet naming God as the first cause, and knowing that God exists and is love.
The problem innumerable people have with religious dogma is the emphasis that one must believe in God, allied to the threat of a terrible existence, after earthly life, in a place called Hell – something one of the great Irish ninth century philosophers Eriugena, (John Scotus Eriugena) claimed does not exist, "as the universe is one". Eriugena also disputed predestination, another of the anomalies taught by some religions as being fact, for which he earned a badge of honour with a place on The Index Librorum Prohibitorum – a list of prohibited books banned by the church – for a number of centuries.
Finally Mr Smith states: "I envy the comfort and solace this knowledge must bring. I am, however, cursed with a rational mind that will not settle on a solution to a mystery simply because it is the best it can manage. The mystery rolls on."
Indeed the "mystery" does roll on, and will continue to do so, as long as humans inherit, and inhabit this most wonderful Earth we now reside on. Eastern philosophy states: "That which we envy in others; we actually possess. It is just we fail to recognise it in ourselves."
My considered opinion is, we should live with faith, hope and charity. Refrain from deliberately harming any life on Earth: that is love.
THE THIN BLUE LINE
* A shortage of biros in a particular garda station (Irish Independent, March 7) means surely that the officers there have difficulty drawing a thin blue line?
Beaumont, Dublin 9
THE AULD RELIABLE BONO
* Normally, visiting dignitaries are photographed with a pint of the black stuff or flexing a hurley with eyes on a ball. A few have uttered a cupla focail like "Is Feidir Linn", thus endearing themselves to T-shirt manufacturers .
A new phenomenon, however, has crept into our national lack of confidence. In addition to the above, we now wheel out Bono for many state gigs. Why?
At the recent Conference Centre shindig involving the European People's Party, Bono waxed lyrical about Ireland, austerity recovery and finance.
Never saw the chancellor of the UK Exchequer wheel out Mick Jagger to drive a point home.
GETTING TO CORE OF TAXES
* Your report that grandparents who mind their grandchildren are to be forced to fill out tax returns (Irish Independent, March 8) demonstrates the stark discrimination that now exists in our tax code.
On the business pages of the same edition you quote a report from the 'Australian Financial Review' newspaper which claims that computer giant Apple had shifted almost $9bn (€6.5bn) in untaxed profits in 10 years from Australia to a "tax haven structure in Ireland". Unbelievable stuff.
* I empathise with John Fitzgerald (Irish Independent, March 6) on his conservation efforts and certainly on his concern for the most timid of all small animals, the hare.
An incident in my early life involving that little creature is something I'll never forget.
It happened on a bright Sunday afternoon as my mother sat reading her 'favourite newspaper'. The back door was wide open and lo and behold – like a flash of lightning – in shot this desperate animal, landing straight into my nature-loving mother's lap. The ears were pricked, heart thumping, eyes of fear popping from the head. This was a hunted hare.
Within seconds the bloodthirsty pack of hounds were howling in the driveway and across the yard. On hearing them my father shot from his chair getting the door shut in the nick of time. I can assure you that frightened hare was nursed like a baby until it was fit to be safely released.
Although that experience was implanted in my mind, we had some greyhounds of our own and the picture gradually faded. Hopefully, not to my shame, I enjoyed many good hare coursing days after that.
Age is possibly the greatest tamer of mankind – now, I would frown on a cat killing a mouse.
Thurles, Co Tipperary
IRISH AID TO UGANDA
* Last week, US Secretary of State John Kerry compared the draconian anti-gay legislation passed in the Republic of Uganda in February with oppressive government crackdowns on German Jews in the 1930s and black South Africans during apartheid.
But the secretary general of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade told the Public Accounts Committee last week that it would not be appropriate to cut Irish aid to Uganda.
It would appear that Irish taxpayers' money is allocated unconditionally and that Ireland has little, or no, diplomatic clout with respect to human rights in Uganda.
This contrasts with the position of Holland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, each of whom promptly cut their aid allocation to Uganda in protest against the outrageous oppression of human rights conferred by the legislation.
Glenageary, Co Dublin