Somalia can be led to peace and development

Reader write letters voicing their opinions on Somalia, slow drivers, dubious employment agencies and the lack of coverage of North American sports

A wounded child is carried by relatives to a hospital in Mogadishu after fighting between government troops and Islamic militias. A reader hopes for peace and development in Somalia. Abdurashid Abdulle Abikar / AFP
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I am a UN retiree and I spent two years as the Unicef representative to Somalia (1986-88). I was deeply touched by the people of this country and moved by the sufferings of Somali children. Since then I have kept contacts with Somali friends in the country and those serving their compatriots from their bases in Europe and North America.

The National carried three articles on Somalia by Carol Huang: Pirates grab ransom but keep seven crew hostage, A city safe from violence in the Horn and Piracy is profitable but Somalilanders don't want to know (April 17). I wish to commend the paper for not only reporting the stories of the Somali pirates, but also touching on the situation in the country deeply afflicted by natural and man-made disasters. Children and women are the greatest victims of the failed state.

The root causes of piracy can be tackled effectively and sustainably. There is knowledge, know how, skills and demonstrated models of people-centered approaches for development of very poor societies, afflicted by disasters and conflict. Women have a key role to play. Countries such as India and Indonesia have rich experiences. which can be drawn on with adaptations and replicated on a large scale in Somalia.

The picture of Somalia is not all bleak . There are large numbers of Somalis, in the country and outside, who are striving to deal with the survival needs of deprived and vulnerable groups.

I have noted that the GCC countries, particularly the UAE, are striving to play a more pro-active role in the regional and global arena and use their resources for improving the situation of less privileged communities.

Baquer Namazi, Iran

The front page news article article Hatching a plan to stop the pirates (April 19) was interesting to read. Recently Somali piracy has become more visible and alarming. This is mainly due to the internal problems of Somalia which should be tackled by the government. I applaud the UAE's initiative in hosting a high-level international conference on the issue of piracy and its monetary support to stabilise peace in the region. Piracy is a global threat. This is an important issue that should be addressed immediately.

K Ragavan, India

Slow drivers are also at fault

I refer to the news article Cautious drivers obey new speed limit (April 18) which described how drivers have slowed down on the Abu Dhabi-Dubai motorway. I totally disagree with this move. The highways in the UAE can easily handle speeds up to 160kph and more. The problem with the previous system was that the posted speed limit was 120kph while they allowed motorists to go up to 160kph. The posted speed limit should have been changed to 140kph, allowing motorists to go up to 160kph and most importantly keeping the buffer speed of 20kph over the limit uniform across the UAE. It's confusion that caused accidents, not speed.

The other factor that causes accidents on highways is motorists' poor judgment and driving skills. Slow drivers constantly and stubbornly fail to yield to faster traffic causing absolute chaos for others trying to pass them. The police need to crack down on lane hoggers and motorists who unnecessarily drive slowly on the faster lanes. The basic rule for driving on a highway is that you keep to the right and if you need to overtake, you do so and pull back to the right.

Some motorists think that as long as they obey the speed limit, they have the right to pick any lane they fancy and stick to it throughout their journey. They pay no attention to the traffic behind them that's trying to pass them safely. This is wrong.

Ziad Q, Abu Dhabi

A dubious agency for job seekers

I grew up in the UAE and my parents still live here. I came back from the US to look for a job. I went to an agency and they charged me Dh250 for an initial fee, which they claimed was refundable, and they would try to look for a job for me. I am a qualified teacher with some experience.

The next day I got a call from them saying they have procured an interview for me which they would arrange for another Dh500. However, they refused to give me any details regarding the interview or the school. I refused to pay them any more money and left. Apparently, what they do is keep sending you on "interviews" until you are sick of the process. I went back to claim by initial investment of Dh250 but of course it was now "non-refundable".

Sajid Anjum, Dubai

North American sports neglected

Whoa, it's a red letter day for your sports section. Your coverage of North American sport consists of one photo on your throwaway page, "The Final Shot", of the Boston Celtics' Delonte West saving a ball. You need some inspiration for your next to non-existent coverage of the sports of baseball, basketball, American football and ice hockey.

Graham Wride, Abu Dhabi