Arabs should move to the fore on Libyan crisis

Readers respond to The National's coverage.

Libyans supporting leader Muammar Qaddafi hold his portrait in the city of Zawiya, west of Tripoli. One reader urges Arab intervention in the conflict while another explains regional support for Qaddafi. Stringer/EPA
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In his opinion article Anniversary in Kurdistan offers lessons for Libya (March 11), Patrick Granfield pointed out the similarities and differences between the no-fly zone in Kurdistan and the current situation in Libya. The world cannot let Muammar Qaddafi get away with terrorising his people, as Iraq's Saddam Hussein was allowed to do. Saving Libyans from Qaddafi's terror and madness offers Arab countries an opportunity to prove once and for all that they have the courage to at least save their Arab brethren if nothing else.

Why do they have to wait for the West to act? The UAE foreign minister and the GCC have taken a strong stand against Qaddafi. Let them lead the Arabs using their armies including the massive Egyptian army to go to the aid of Libyans and in the process inject a dose of self pride and integrity that will, I am sure, bring huge dividends in terms of self esteem.

Shamal Karim, Abu Dhabi

Details on race, tribe and region

I refer to the letters to the editor published under the headline Two opinions on the escalating crisis in Libya (March 11). I would like to point out some details on race, class, tribe and region. The global media are silent about Libya's largest region, the Sahara, and its peoples (Fezzan and Marzouk). Along with Sirte, Muammar Qaddafi's hometown, these regions were victims of racial, political and economic discrimination by Libya's urban Mediterranean elites until Qaddafi's regime fostered their development.

Few black Libyans appear among the rebels in global media coverage, and were also victims of racial attacks. Libyan state TV, however, shows many more "darker" Libyans among Qaddafi supporters. This conflict has geographical and racial dimensions.

Libya's darker centre extends south from Sirte to encompass the Fezzan and Marzouk tribes, all currently siding with the pro-government Northwest against the rebellious Cyrenaican Northeast.

Home to the former Senussi monarchy, a religiously conservative and restless Cyrenaica produced the majority of Libyan al Qa'eda. The so-called National Unity Council represents a secular tip to a conservative iceberg. The global media's continued propagation of a demographic and geographic misrepresentation thus exacerbates the struggle by alienating the majority of Libyans outside of Cyrenaica who still support the current regime.

Jamil Brownson, Abu Dhabi

Emiratis write about their culture

The article If you see an abaya on fire, ask Ali (March 10) profiled Ali al Saloom, the advice columnist and cultural expert. I read the story with interest. Ali is a lovely man and the write-up of his latest book was engaging.

There was one little error I would like to point out. The writer stated that Ali's book Ask Ali - Dubai is the only one written by an Emirati conveying UAE heritage and culture.

There is another book on the market, called The Expat Guide now in a few bookstores in Dubai. It was written by two Emirati women, one being Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi.

The fact that two of these books have been produced in the same timeframe is not a coincidence.It is a clear sign that Emiratis want expatriates to better understand their culture. They are willing to put in the effort to write books in order to share their culture with outsiders. This is a big step. It means that even though tourists and expats may not make the effort to learn about the heritage of this wonderful country, the locals are taking it to them. And they are taking it to them in a positive way, the popular western medium of a how-to-do-it book.

Catherine Strong, College of Communication and Media Sciences, Zayed University, Dubai

Demonstrations are democracy

In reference to the editorial Iraq's unhappy public needs to be listened to (March 10), of all the turmoil currently going on in the Middle East, you choose to take a shot at Iraq? With people in countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya calling for "regime change", you feel it necessary to dwell on frustrated pockets of people demanding jobs, electricity, and an end to corruption?

This isn't a failure in democracy, it is democracy. If you want to see people frustrated with an election, go back to Bush's success in 2000 or attend a Tea Party rally.

KS, Abu Dhabi

A hearty laugh with morning tea

This is in reference toLiving La Vida Mocha (March 10). I'm writing to applaud Alex Ritman's column "Observing Life". His humorous take on life's mundane activities has me invariably chuckling over my morning cuppa.

There is nothing better than a hearty laugh to kick start the day. Keep it up, Alex!

Saveen Eck, Dubai