Will America survive Trump?

The voters in America, in their dubious wisdom, were consumed by bold promises like the assurances of healthcare and the control of new immigrants (“Trump’s trade wars will be destructive for everyone”, Gulf News, March 6). They chose a reality television star and real estate mogul as their President, although he doesn’t really seem to believe in anything beyond his own awesomeness, uses his office to promote his properties, refuses to disclose his tax returns and has been able to stay in office despite credible accusations of misconduct against him from 16 women. What’s most troubling is the extent to which he is dividing Americans by race and ethnicity to serve his own political ambition, giving rise to an overwhelming white supremacy. Donald Trump inherited a divided nation and instead of trying to heal those divisions, he has worsened them. The class resentments and racism that have become flash points during the election period have hardened, not healed. That’s what I think Trump has done in his year of presidency. One can only imagine what’s to follow in the next three years, or the next seven. Among his serious flaws lies his inability to make the connection between his actions and its consequences. His foreign policy has been a disaster, the seismic move to place an immigration ban on eight countries and to send people back to Mexico, is bringing the country to the brink of war, with further deteriorating relations with North Korea and Iran. No country has existed in isolation and the US will crumble like a cookie if it doesn’t learn a lesson or two in diplomacy. Trump has never held public office, thus is unaware of the nitty-gritty of running the most powerful office in the world. He is a business owner, and seems to have straddled the fence with his stand on gun control and gun violence. Now, the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. The United States will survive Trump, but the nation won’t be the same after him.

From Ms Shivani Singh


Modi’s influence grows

With the fast growing saffron surge in India, every party, especially regional parties, are getting jittery (“In bid to challenge India’s ruling BJP, KCR begins consultations”, Gulf News, March 5). Just like in 1977, the Chief Minsters of Telangana and West Bengal have taken the initiative to form a Third Front to stall the surge of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), before the general elections in 2019. Now, Mamata Banerjee, who has taken the lead, is in touch with Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and other parties. In fact, the DMK and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) are in a sticky wicket in Tamil Nadu, as two stars are surging in this state, to unseat them. Hence, it would be better for DMK to first steady itself in Tamil Nadu. Only time will tell whether the party would be able to topple Narendra Modi’s government, as Modi’s influence is growing with each state election. No doubt, the opposition is attacking Modi and is counting on the bank scams to cause some damage. But they have forgotten that these loans were granted during the tenures of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA). At the same time, BJP too, should not get complacent with its surge in various states.

From Mr N. Mahadevan

Chennai, India

Hope for peace

Good and timely decision by the government of Sri Lanka (“Sri Lanka declares state of emergency”, Gulf News, March 6). Instead of waiting and letting things get out of control, they are taking action to prevent things from escalating. The Sri Lankan people are kind, peaceful people. I hope peace is restored to their beautiful land soon.

From Ms Kiran Akhtar


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It starts with education

Extremist ideology and illiteracy is a disease for any religion. I hope better education leads to greater happiness for the region.

From Mr Ahmad Mumtaz


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What’s the problem?

These village councils are never at peace with couples (“They were punished for falling in love and getting married”, Gulf News, March 6). If they elope, the couple is punished. If they fall in love and are not married, then they are committing a sin and are punished. If they are happily married, even then they are punished. The couple did not deserve this treatment as they have not done anything wrong. They are living their life respectfully as husband and wife.

From Ms Fatima Suhail


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The height of insensitivity

It’s been over a week since Indian actress Sridevi passed away (“Sridevi’s daughter Janhvi turns 21”, Gulf News, March 6). When the news flashed on our television screen, we had fervent hope that it was fake news. But when reality hit, it brought back memories of our teenage years. Sitting on the sofa with our feet drawn up, a bowl of banana chips and a drink in hand, we were a group of teenagers looking in awe at a Tamilian girl, just like us, taking over Bollywood with élan. Sridevi was not only like a breath of fresh air, with her brilliant performances in movies like Chaalbaaz and Mr India, but she was also the saving grace of senseless, misogynistic Telugu remakes like Himmatwala and insipid snooze fests, sometimes known as critically acclaimed masterpieces, like Lamhe. She achieved Bollywood stardom in a way other South Indian actors, such as Rajnikanth, Kamal Haasan and later Mammootty and Mohanlal, were not able to accomplish. But the Indian media soon stepped in to remind us that she was far from perfect. The so-called news channels were flooded with exclusive news about her umpteen plastic surgeries, followed by theories on what could have caused her death. It was all sound and fury, signifying nothing. Journalists, waiting outside her house, were like scavengers. When a newsreader from a prominent channel asked their reporter, standing outside Sridevi’s house, about the police issuing them a warning about not disturbing visitors, he replied with a straight face and said: “We are just doing our work.” If work involves badgering and thrusting a camera at someone who has lost a friend or loved one, then someone needs to tell these reporters that there is no honour in the work they do. Often, such journalists have no idea what it feels like to be on the other side of the mic.

From Ms Mariam Jinnah


Draw a line somewhere

The level at which news reporting took place in visual media, during Sridevi’s death, was worrisome. Everything does not have to be about sensationalism or higher Television Rating Points (TRP). May the legend, the late actress Sridevi Kapoor, rest in peace. I could not believe what was being presented on prominent Indian news channels, during the investigation after her death. They were speculating and taking advantage of an unfortunate situation. Celebrities do pay a hefty price for glamour and for living their lives in the eyes of the media. The lives of all these icons is not easy and they have their own share of insecurities. I am reminded of a dialogue Sridevi said in her famous movie, English Vinglish, where at the end, the character she plays, Shashi, says: ‘One should not be judgmental’. That is how most media organisations behaved, in this unfortunate situation. The pressure to always look good, be photographed and have people consistently interested in your personal life is nerve-wracking. The Dubai Police did a thorough investigation and only then came to a conclusion. The matter was closed, and the family could provide a dignified farewell to their departed one. Any family needs privacy in this hour of grief and just because someone is a public figure does not give people permission to scrutinise and dissect their life in public. All of us should take a moment to understand that life is unpredictable, and we need to be introspective about our own way of living, and fill our life with meaning and purpose. Sridevi had an abundance of talent and one should respect her for that. She will always be remembered for the memorable characters she has portrayed in cinema and will continue to live in our hearts. May she rest in peace.

From Ms Meenu Kaw Khurana


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