The world needs to hear the voice of the Syrian people

Civilians evacuated from the Islamic State group's embattled holdout of Baghouz, in the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor, on March 5, 2019.  AFP
Civilians evacuated from the Islamic State group's embattled holdout of Baghouz, in the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor, on March 5, 2019.  AFP

I write to you in reference to your article Brussels will have to look at a future where Al Assad rules Syria (March 10).

While the European Union and United Nations are getting ready for the Brussels III Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region, the Syrian people who have much at stake in this conference, will not be present to voice their concerns.

Their voices need to be heard so that they can shape their own destiny without foreign meddling. Even when media outlets report on the tragedy of the Syrian civil war, the stories are almost never written by Syrians experiencing the plight of conflict firsthand.

I would like to read more stories from the perspective of Syrian civilians, and I believe the world needs to pay attention to what they have to say, if we want to find a viable solution to their ordeal. The only way out of the war is through peaceful discussions with those most affected by it.

Tessa De Kruijk, Amsterdam

Prayers for the victims of the Ethiopian plane disaster

I refer to your article Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302 crashes en route to Kenya, killing 157 (March 11). Charles Capel’s touching article was sad and painful to read. The reason for the crash is currently unknown and this tragedy should be thoroughly investigated. Still, plane manufacturer Boeing must answer some questions. Passengers from 35 different countries were on board and many were due to attend a UN environment summit in Nairobi. I Pray for the victims and bereaved family members.

K Ragavan, Bengaluru

Mental health problems should not be stigmatised

I write in reference to Katy Gillett’s article Why we should take Justin Bieber’s cries for help very, very seriously (March 12). This article has shed light on the fact that mental health problems are still taboo in our society. There are too many barriers that prevent those affected by this predicament from getting the help that they need. Stigma around mental health, limited public awareness, and the prohibitive costs of seeking medical or psychological treatment are just the tip of the iceberg.

Unsurprisingly, more and more people are turning to the internet to find nearby therapists and clinics as this guarantees anonymity. The internet has proven useful in encouraging people to seek help but the information available on the plethora of websites dedicated to this issue is not necessarily reliable, and should always be met with caution.

Enzo Sinisi, Cape Town

Life in Iran was better forty-five years ago than it is now

I write in reference to your article Iranian human rights lawyer sentenced to 38 years in jail and lashes (March 11). Unfortunately such news have become so habitual that no one is shocked by the Iranian regime’s brutality. Iranians enjoyed more freedoms 45 years ago than they do now. The rulers of the Islamic Republic are stealing the wealth of their own people, and starving them of freedom.

Niki Mani, Greece

Updated: March 12, 2019 06:37 PM


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