Opinion Letters

Saturday 23 March 2019

Ireland should be to forefront on highlighting Yemen atrocities

A man helps his son carry a sack of wheat flour they received from a local charity in the city of Sanaa, Yemen. Photo: REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
A man helps his son carry a sack of wheat flour they received from a local charity in the city of Sanaa, Yemen. Photo: REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Genocide is defined as "deliberately inflicting on a group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part".

What is happening in Yemen at present falls within this category yet the international community is actively facilitating rather than preventing it.

In the 1990s when questioned by a reporter about up to half a million children who died as a result of UN and Western-imposed sanctions on Iraq, US secretary of state Madeleine Albright replied: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price - we think the price is worth it."

The Irish government remained silent back then.

One branch of the United Nations, the UN Human Rights Committee, is condemning this situation, while the UN Security Council is the organisation that is imposing sanctions and a naval blockade that is preventing the importation of vital food supplies to Yemen, at the behest of its permanent member the US, supported by Britain and France.

They do this on behalf of Saudi Arabia, which is the leading aggressor in Yemen, while selling large amounts of arms to Saudi Arabia.

Yemen is the oldest country in the Arabian Peninsula as all the others were cobbled together in the 20th century by dying imperial powers, Britain and France.

Now Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the world.

UN members such as Ireland are facilitating the ongoing atrocities in Yemen just by remaining silent, and additionally in Ireland's case by actively facilitating US wars of aggression through Shannon airport.

Ireland suffered a similar imposed famine in the 1840s, so of all nations, we should be to the forefront in working to end this famine in Yemen that is killing tens of thousands of innocent children by deliberate starvation and diseases such as cholera, spread by the bombing of water and sewerage treatment facilities and medical facilities.

Edward Horgan

Newtown, Castletroy, Limerick

 

Swiss show way on gun ownership

Ian O'Doherty - with his common sense, incisive remarks and caustic sense of humour - is one of my favourite columnists in Ireland.

On May 30, he wrote an article titled: 'We'll never defeat terrorists behind Manchester attack if we refuse to call them by their name', in which he responds to Mick Wallace TD, who "was quick to blame American and British foreign policy, by pointing out that Switzerland has never been attacked.

"The fact that the Swiss have the most restrictive immigration policies in Europe, policies which Wallace would presumably condemn, was conveniently forgotten."

Something else was forgotten by Mr Wallace: despite Swiss neutrality, Switzerland is on the list of 60 countries targeted by Isil.

Also, Switzerland tops the European Economic Area in the number of guns per capita - between 2.3 million and 4.5 million military and private firearms are estimated to be in circulation in a country of only 8 million people.

The likelihood of being shot before one goes on a shooting rampage is very high in Switzerland.

In contrast, the only people in Ireland who are carrying guns seem to be drug dealers with criminal records (incidentally, the Republic of Ireland's murder rate more than doubles that of the Swiss).

Grzegorz Kolodziej

Bray, Co Wicklow

 

Noonan and Kenny cruise home

All I can say of Dickie Power's epistle on Noonan and Kenny (Irish Independent, Letters, June 1) is "God bless your innocence, Mr Power".

Kenny and Noonan sail off into the sunset with ample bank accounts, and several pensions, whilst the homeless, the sick and many generations to come bear the cost of their sheer and utter incompetence.

Declan Foley

Berwick, Australia

 

Countryside going up in smoke

The Government's intention to extend the existing period for burning to include March, as presented in the amended Heritage Bill (Letters, 'Laws threaten natural heritage', May 31), seems to fan the desire to send the whole countryside up in smoke spurred on by the madness of the March Hare.

When the last hedgerow is decimated, the last songbird is silenced, the last pollinator is bereft of habitat, then and only then "will we realise that we cannot eat money!" (Cree Indian, 19th century).

Kathleen Gibbons

Ballina, Co Tipperary

 

Lions kittens compared to past

Former Lions and All Blacks head coach Graham Henry's reference that the current Lions tourists face "the most difficult itinerary in the history of the game" (Irish Independent, May 29) has to be contrasted with previous Lions tours and especially with the very first tour in 1888, when the tourists had to play no less than 35 matches in New Zealand and Australia with a party of 22 players.

They were only defeated in two of those matches, and one player, Harry Eagles (England), played in every minute of every game, with no match replacements allowed in those days or replacements for injured players during the tour.

Incidentally, the Lions, who were originally known as the British Isles Rugby team, were given the title 'Lions' during the 1924 tour to South Africa by journalists reporting on their matches, by reason of the Lions emblems on the touring party's ties.

James Healy

Highfield Park, Galway city

 

'Sgt Pepper' ranked too highly

Yesterday was 'Sgt Pepper's 50th anniversary. So what?!

That album was dwarfed many times over by works of so much more creative genius.

There is so much hype regarding this anniversary, but I'm not quite sure why as there have been many, many albums since that exceeded 'Sgt Pepper...' in both quality and sales ... 'Bridge over Troubled Water', 'The Dark Side of the Moon', 'Thriller', and 'Rumours', to name but a few of the many albums that tower over 'Sgt Pepper' in every respect.

There are various repackaged versions of the 'Sgt Pepper' album becoming available for the anniversary - another opportunity to separate fans from their money, selling them a product they've most likely already bought several times over.

The Beatles disbanded 47 years ago and in his songs John Lennon stated 'I don't believe in Beatles' and most significantly 'The dream is over' - so why keep it going?

David Bradley

Drogheda, Co Louth

Irish Independent

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