Western psyche tramples upon the rights of minorities
Published 11/06/2016 | 02:30
I wholeheartedly concur with the gist of Dr Kevin McCarthy's argument (Letters, June 8) that political pluralism in Western societies has not produced yet a statesman of the calibre of Muhammad Ali, capable of being a global advocate for human rights and the eradication of apartheid, and champion global problems and the alleviation human suffering.
However, this could be attributed to the racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and discrimination practised towards ethnic and religious minorities that are so entrenched in Western psyches nowadays; that prohibit non-whites, and especially Muslims, from climbing up the political ladder. Western societies are riddled with a multitude of societal ills, from gang culture to knife crime, child sex abuse, homicide, domestic violence and sexual harassment and slavery.
Needless to say, they are still shackled with the manacles of conflicting identities and religious animosities that are still raging in Northern Ireland and other quarters in the Western hemisphere. None of these evils was ever attributed to Christian or Jewish extremism. Muslims are always seen through the prism of violence and terrorism when they are merely the main victims of dictatorships and superpower rivalries.
The conflict in the Middle East remains a vivid portrayal of cruel injustices and horrors heaped upon the Palestinians, where their homes have been pulverised, their lands have been usurped and their human rights have been trampled upon. Western powers have a solemn obligations to redress colonial injustices or risk hurtling down a slippery slope into the abyss.
Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob
Chartley Avenue, London
Tenants must be treated better
I read with interest articles by Paul Melia and Colm Kelpie on the housing crisis (June 9). They made for chastening reading.
As a tenant in Drogheda for the past seven years, I now realise how lucky I am. Each October, we sign a lease. Our rent is reasonable, we pay for secure parking, and we have an excellent staff to deal with any maintenance issue. The chasm that exists between the experience of Dublin tenants, in particular, and those of us fortunate enough to be treated fairly may seem unbridgeable. But it's not.
What it will take is a multi-faceted approach to the problem. A much more imaginative way of dealing with the crisis by government (buying up homes from developers and leasing them to local authorities would be a start) and radical tax reform to mitigate against the many, admittedly genuine, landlords exiting the market due to the liability they incur when they suffer losses. A groundswell of support for renters wouldn't go amiss either.
The bottom line is this: tenants should never be last, and never least.
Drogheda, Co Louth
Exams are just one step in life
May I give some advice to the many parents of children starting their Leaving Cert. Tell your children that you love them, and often. Tell them that you hope they will do their best, but whatever the outcome, they can come home and they will be loved just as much as ever. Tell them learning is a lifelong journey and the Leaving Cert is but one, relatively small, stepping stone along the road of life.
And always remember, the ones who do best do not always succeed best in life. I sat my Leaving in 1969, and the pressure was horrific, way over the top. Of course, it did not help that school life in general, at that time, was a very unhappy experience.
I survived and learnt very quickly that there was a lot more to life than the Leaving Cert.
Glenties, Co Donegal
Wishing Ireland a safe journey
To those Irish players taking part in the European Championships in France, I wish you every success. Give it your 100pc and, win or lose, we will be behind you.
To the Irish fans in France, continue to share your good humour and your wonderful songs.
Give your team your 100pc support, and, win or lose, come home safely.
Kingswood, Dublin 24
Pig research heralds new dawn
Julia Baines's letter (June 7), about research that will allow human organs to be grown inside pigs without causing them pain highlights what is excellent news for humankind.
There are currently 7,000 people in the UK awaiting a transplant and hundreds will die each year before a suitable donor can be found. This research has the potential to save hundreds of lives each year.
The use of animals has been an invaluable tool for ongoing research to find treatments for many diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer's and cystic fibrosis. The first organs being trialled are replacement pancreases to treat type 1 diabetics, a disease which still has a high chance of secondary complications even with reasonable control.
All of us will know someone who could benefit from this research. Importantly, it is illegal to use an animal for research if non-animal methods can be used instead. Research funded by the London-based National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research continues to seek out non-animal methods because organs-on-chips and computer modelling cannot yet fully replace animals.
In the meantime, all experiments involving animals must pass an ethical review panel before they can proceed and anaesthetics are used whenever the on-site vet deems it necessary.
The days of using animals for cosmetics or tobacco research are long past us and, in the modern world, an animal can only be used if there is no other choice.
Understanding Animal Research, London EC1R 3AW
Wellington's Irish roots ignored
As the anniversary of Waterloo (June 18) approaches once again, RTE 1's 'Wellington: The Iron Duke Unmasked' reminds us of the great Irishman at its centre.
However, once again, we are reminded of the gulf that exists between the British and the Irish perceptions of a common history.
Waterloo was a great victory for Europe under an Irish field marshal and 10,000 Irish troops - along with English, Scottish and Welsh troops - at the core of a European army that included Belgians, Dutch, Germans of varying allegiances and identities, and Prussians.
This is a fact that's seemingly still impossible for makers of documentary dramas to grasp.
Who would guess from this version that Wellington was a proud Meathman and Irishman?
Then the discredited anecdote of the horse and stables is resurrected without contextual explanation (it was said of Wellington by Daniel O'Connell).
There is no mention in the documentary of Catholic emancipation and Wellington's vital contribution to that as prime minister.
It is much like Jeremy Paxman's account of Britain in the Great War - without reference to Ireland.
At least it makes a welcome change from discussions of Brexit.
Trinity College Dublin