Readers’ letters - September 7

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We must act now to stop the crisis in Gaza

The world knows Gaza is in crisis.

No clean water, only three to four hours of electricity a day and not enough medicine.

Two million people live besieged in conditions the UN described as a human dignity crisis.

It’s not a natural disaster – it is a political choice to punish the Palestinian people, the decision made by Israel, with support from the governments of the US, UK and the EU.

Three years ago this month, Israel ended its devastating military offensive on Gaza with 3,000 Palestinians killed, including 600 children.

To deliberately incarcerate people in their own land, refuse the right to travel and trade and deprive them of the essential means of survival is a clear breach of international law.

The UN warned that Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020.

Israel controls Gaza by land, air and sea, effectively sealing it from the world.

The only solution is to eliminate the causes and end the 50-year occupation and 10-year siege of Gaza.

The world must act and abide by their obligations under international law.

The British Government must intervene to end 
this crisis we have helped create.

All imports and exports should be allowed and the blockade lifted.

We all must call for an end to the man-made crisis.

Also Israel must remove all obstacles to the exercise of human rights by Palestinians in Gaza, including rights to travel and trade.

Royston Jones

via email

language

I prefer to say ‘railway station’

Mr Neil Swindlehurst (Letters, September 1) has certainly got the railway/train station debate going.

Personally, I side with Mr M N Wooff (Letters, August 28) because I prefer to hear the term railway station which has been in use for most of my life and I am not a Victorian!

We all tend to use ‘apparent logic’ to justify our arguments but Mr Swindlehurst can’t really justify ‘train station’ just because (like bus, coach, taxi) it is where we catch the train.

Language is not governed by ‘catchability’.

I could argue that a station is a place provided for a stop (hence stations of the cross, naval station etc) and a railway station is a place on the railway provided for a stop.

There are very modern usages like this too.

We don’t go to a space station to catch a space. It is a place provided for a stop in space.

Similarly, a motorway service station would be a refreshment station if ‘catching’ was the criterion (like Rasthaus in German).

But Mr Swindlehurst is right that usage will win the day in the end.

I suspect we are heading for ‘train station’, ‘guys’ to include females as well as males, and ‘stuff’ to replace ‘things’.

It just grates upon those of us well-used to the previous expressions.

Neil Inkley

Walton-Le-Dale

conflict

US has no right to judge others

While the United States has Guantanamo, the US has no moral authority to judge any other nation. Some detainees have been at Guantanamo since the day it opened in 2002 and still have not received a fair trial.

While the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, with 2.3 million inmates, the US has no right to judge any other nation. 3.8 million died in the Vietnam War – most deaths caused by the US military.

The US Airforce sprayed agent orange over 4.5 million acres of Vietnamese land. Since the Vietnam War, half a million children have been born with serious birth defects due to the long-term affects of agent orange.

Due to the legacy of the Vietnam War, the US has no moral authority to judge any other nation in the world. The reality of North Korea is for North Koreans to deal with. No Korean wants to see Korean civilians being murdered by US bombs.

It is the responsibility of US citizens to bring about a more progressive and peace-loving USA. It isn’t for any other nation to think it has the right to create regime change in the USA by bombing it into oblivion and that’s even with the legacy of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria.

Louis Shawcross

via email

environment

Polite and well mannered

Re: Stop feeding gulls or face a £100 fine (LP August 4). Peter Rock, expert on gulls, states that the birds have been understudied and our knowledge is nowhere as good as it should be. Gulls have a noble history, they are fascinating. It is said herring gulls in summer plumage are just stunning and have beauty, grace and power.

Many seagulls are polite and well mannered. They are inquisitive and loyal. Some people see a different side to seagulls. They have visiting seagull friends and take joy in feeding them.

Human parents could learn a lot from gulls. Gull parents split their duties, with one foraging for food while the other stays at home to protect the nest.

Given the decline in gull numbers across the country and the numerous hazards that they face because of human activities, kind people should be helping them, not planning to wipe them out.

We must find a way to live peacefully with seagulls and gulls. This is their home too.

If you love seagulls, buy the booklet, White Wings of Delight. Proceeds go to the RSPB.

By making a few changes, we should be able to find a way to live with gulls and even enjoy them, like we do with lots of other wildlife which make its homes in our towns and cities.

There’s a bigger issue at play here too: Why is our marine environment no longer supporting these large seabirds and how can it be fixed?

P O’Connor

Address supplied