The tragedy of stars on drugs

Letter-writers wonder what the connection is between musical stardom and early death, such as Amy Winehouse's. Other topics; Norway, rental agents, drought aid, Muslim women's fashion, and Arabs in Cardiff

Pop star Amy Winehouse, found dead at her London flat on Saturday, had a long history of struggles with alcohol and drugs. In letters, readers express sympathy and also puzzlement about celebrities' early deaths. AP / Matt Dunham
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Your editorial comment (Norway's pain - and a new threat - affects us all, July 24) made a point worth making: never mind politics, there is enough hatred in the human heart to cause tragedies like this.

Killing sprees are the preserve of no religion, region, class or ideology. And that means that we are essentially defenceless against insanity. When hatred becomes an organising principle for one group or another some methods of defence are useful, but against solo lunatics there is no protection.

Lagan Sampat, Dubai

Let rental agents earn their money

I refer to your story Renters complain of new charges (Jul 11).

I cannot agree with Bilal Patel's complaints about would-be tenants looking at 10 apartments and then walking away from the agent who found them.

One doesn't go to view flats for the fun of it. And you're not going to just choose the first one you see.

After all, rental agents are in the business precisely to show these flats, but many have such a horrible attitude, as if you owe them something for them having been so kind to have shown you around.

Chris Murray, Dubai

Talent, addiction seem to be linked

Poor Amy Winehouse. Your headline, Tragic Winehouse loses battle with her demons, July 24) got it just right.

People sneer at addicts but to a large extent these people are powerless to help themselves.

I find it fascinating how many people in show business seem to have addiction problems. Some people say that talent and that kind of weakness both grow from the same character traits, but I think it has to do with the showbiz lifestyle. Either way, it's sad.

Roberto Del Castro, Dubai

It's amazing how many really big music stars have died at age 27, mainly of "lifestyle excesses" of alcohol and drugs.

A list I saw online includes Brian Jones, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and now Amy Winehouse.

It seems that by 27, if you're really talented, you have become famous and rich and unconstrained.

Sometimes I'm glad I didn't live up to my teenage ambition to become a rock star.

Jeff Davis, Abu Dhabi

Canada also gave drought aid

Your news-service report EU boosts African drought relief (July 24) says the European Union (population 500 million) made a donation for Horn of Africa drought relief.

The donation was US$40 million (Dh 147 million) on top of a previous $100 million.

Unfortunately your story ignored a larger new donation, US$52 million, from Canada (population 33 million) which had previously contributed $24 million. The Canadian government also will match the total of contributions made by Canadian citizens. This formula, also used for Haiti, the tsunami and other catastrophes, elegantly reflects the concern of Canadians, collectively, with a given event.

As a Canadian I am proud of my government's humanitarian record. I just regret that the EU seems to have better public-relations agents.

Lyons Mackenzie, Abu Dhabi

Muslim women too can be stylish

Designing for the best of both worlds (July 21) was a good article. The writer has expressed her thoughts about Muslim ladies' dresses.

I agree with the writer that Muslim dresses do not necessarily need to be fashion-less and irrelevant to girls' or ladies' tastes.

As the writer mentioned, as long as this is in line with the principles of Hijab.

Abdul Latif, Abu Dhabi

Lots of Arabs visit Cardiff, too

Your story Why Arabs love London (July 23) quotes Saeed Chaarawi, a Lebanese salesman at London's famous Harrod's, saying: "You'll hardly ever find [Arabs] travelling to places ..." Wrong old chap!

Arabs, particularly Kuwaitis, have for many moons been purchasing second homes in Cardiff, the capital of Wales.

Arab families also visit Wales for annual holidays and adult Arab students enjoy life in Cardiff while completing their advanced degrees.

Name withheld by request

Bowing down to China over fugitive

Re Canada to expel Chinese fugitive Lai Changxing (July 23).

I don't see how the Canadians can be so sure this man is not in jeopardy of being executed or tortured, as so many others have been in China.

Canada is bowing down to the might of China and should be ashamed.

Pia Razon, Canada/Abu Dhabi

Re: Al Masood is looking to record a podium finish in Montreal (July 22) An interesting story but the headline geography mistake is inexcusable. Montreal, home of the F1 race, is in Quebec. As you correctly mention in the article Mosport is located in Ontario, approximately 800 km west of Montreal and near Toronto, the capital city of Ontario.

Clark Beattie, Abu Dhabi