Saddam Hussein

Print edition : January 16, 2004

I congratulate you for your Cover Story ("Beyond Saddam Hussein", January 2, 2004). My anti-colonial feelings date back to the days of Mahatma Gandhi's freedom struggle. We look up to your brand of journalism to counter a biased media serving the interests of the Anglo-Saxon colonialists.

Saddam Hussein, a national hero, was much demonised over non-existent weapons of mass destruction, Al Qaeda terrorism and human rights that most journalists would not dare to say anything positive about Saddam Hussein. He was the founder of the modern Iraq despite the sanctions.

President Robert Mugabe, targeted by Australian Prime Minister John Howard and Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon (from New Zealand), is another nationalist hero who fought and won freedom for the Zimbabweans from an undemocratic White minority rule of Ian Smith.

Mugabe is implementing land reforms in order to give the majority Zimbabweans land rights and redeem them from poverty.

Howard and McKinnon still deny land rights to the indigenous communities in their countries. Without land rights the aborigines are now an almost extinct community.

V. Siva Subramaniam Sydney, Australia

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Howsoever the world may rejoice (as the West would have us believe), I feel sad at the fall of Saddam Hussein, the pride of Arab heartland. In the semi-finals of its war on terror (the United States will play the finals against Osama bin Laden), Uncle Sam succeeded in humiliating Arab and Muslim pride once again.

K.P. Rajan Mumbai

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Saddam Hussain was definitely a cruel dictator, but considering that he had been the head of a United Nations-member country for over 25 years he should be given general amnesty.

The arrest of Saddam Hussein by American troops is a dangerous portent for the world. In future, the head of every small country will be at the mercy of the political leaders of powerful countries. Some sort of a world alliance to deter the U.S. in the unipolar world is the need of the hour.

S. Raghunatha Prabhu Alappuzha, Kerala

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If, by capturing Saddam Hussein, the U.S. has removed a symbol of resistance, with it goes the essence of secularism in the Arab world. Iraq should get a government of the people of Iraq. The violence should come to an end. A new Iraq should be built up. The occupation forces should leave.

Will the Shias and Sunnis unite to rebuild Iraq? Will the world and the U.N. be able to take more initiative and play a better role? Saddam should get a fair trial.

A. Jacob Sahayam Thiruvananthapuram

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The tame surrender of Saddam Hussein, the arrogant Arab warrior who ordered thousands of his countrymen to fight and die for him, must have anguished many of his admirers, specially the Sunni Muslims.

J.S. Acharya Hyderabad

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Saddam Hussein is captured alive and President's Bush's popularity rating is shooting up. But only if the U.S. finds weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and ensures the return of normalcy, will the recent events turn electoral fortunes in favour of Bush.

S. Balakrishnan Jamshedpur

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The capture of Saddam Hussein has brought solace to oppressed Iraqis. The arrest of the self-styled ruler has paved the path for restoration of law and order in a country that bore the brunt of dictatorship for many decades.

But many questions remain unanswered. The U.S. has not found the weapons of mass destruction, its rationale for the invasion of Iraq. What happens if it fails to find them eventually? Will it be tried for its misadventure carried out on the pretext of pre-emptive action? Does the U.S. have the right to decide the fate of a country?

Saddam Hussein is accused of committing crimes against humanity. But the U.S. goes scot-free after launching a war on innocent Iraqi people without any substantive proof of any crime. Today it is Iraq, tomorrow it could be any other country. It remains to be seen whether the U.N. has the courage to check the autocratic and unilateral actions of the U.S.

Awadhesh Kumar Delhi

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The capture of Saddam Hussein does not in anyway legitimise the U.S. occupation of Iraq. He must be tried under the Iraqi law that too after a legitimate government elected by the people of Iraq takes over.

Viji Ganesh Madurai

Repression of labour

This is with reference to the article "Repression of labour" by Jayati Ghosh (January 2, 2004). The Supreme Court has observed that "in the prevailing situation" the government employees have no right to strike even for a just cause.

This "prevailing situation" is owing to the neo-liberal economic policies dictated by international moneylenders. It is in the hands of people to change the "prevailing situation" to the benefit of the common people.

For this, the experience of Latin America should show us the way. Similar policies have played havoc with the economies in this region. In the 1970s, the Latin American economies grew rapidly on the basis of high accumulation rates financed by external borrowing, a process, which culminated in the debt crisis of 1982. This led to the collapse of the economy.

This was the reason for the people in Brazil and Venezuela preferring the parties with Left-leaning policies. And Bolivia, where the people forced the President to flee the country, is expected to follow suit.

Hari Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu

DNA fingerprinting

The article "Evidence in the genes" by R.K. Raghavan (January 2, 2004) was very informative. The possibility of using the advanced technology of DNA fingerprinting to find out the criminal orientation of individuals should be explored.

The police in India are moving away from their function of serving and protecting the people.

There is a high degree of criminal orientation in individuals in the police department.

This should be detected early and corrected. If found difficult to correct, persons with criminal orientation must be retrenched from the service.

P.V. Antony Thrissur, Kerala

Congress leadership

This has reference to the article "A party adrift" (January 2, 2004). The leadership issue is agitating many minds in the Congress(I), but no one dares to open his or her mind. Sonia Gandhi knows that the Congress(I)'s defeat was mainly due to the issue of her nationality. So, for the sake of this national party's success she should step down as party president.

No one can underestimate the Nehru family's role in shaping the new independent India. But the party is supreme, not the individual.

G.E.M. Manoharan Coimbatore

Targeting `outsiders'

This has reference to the article "Outrage in Assam" (December 19). Once again the role of the media comes under scrutiny. Exaggerated and fabricated media stories provide the United Liberation Front of Asom and other anti-national forces enough ammunition to foment trouble. Instead of taking steps to check the violence Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Laloo Prasad Yadav blamed the Union government.

The 24-hour bandh called by the All Assam Students Union on November 17 was planned with the aim of escalating violence. The demand for complete reservation for Assamese in the Northeast Frontier Railway is both impractical and unjustified. Given the unequal development of the regions in India and with almost no employment opportunities available in many underdeveloped States, unemployed youth are left with no option but to search for jobs where they are available.

The genesis of the problem lies somewhere else. At present we are facing the worst unemployment situation in many years with engineers and MBAs and other post-graduates vying for Group C and Group D jobs. If the problem is not addressed now, the political and economic stability of the nation will be undermined. When will the government wake up?

Ravi Prakash Patna

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You conveniently blame the Shiv Sena for stirring up ethnic tensions but ignore the fact that Maharashtrians have a legitimate grouse against the immigrants. These people migrate to Maharashtra in search of jobs but refuse to learn Marathi or imbue the local culture.

Although Maharashtra provides excellent infrastructure, Maharashtrians are portrayed in the media as inept and lazy.

Milind received by e-mail

Importing danger

In her article "Importing danger" (December 19), Asha Krishnakumar had focussed on the shocking levels of environmental pollution caused by mercury and asbestos and how India has become a dumping ground for hazardous wastes generated by the industries of developed countries such as the U.S., Canada, France and Germany. The import of such ecologically harmful substances was permitted despite the stringent provisions of the Factories Act, 1948, the Hazardous Waste (Handling and Management) Rules 1989, and the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

Apart from this, the Ministry of Environment and Forests had framed the Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000 and the Manufacture and Storage and import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989.

In India itself we have identified 14 hazardous industries such as dyeing, sago, textiles and tanneries, which are producing non-biodegradable and toxic wastes. There seems to be no efficient, dedicated and corruption-free enforcement authority to prevent the dumping of hazardous wastes.

The author has rightly observed that "the international waste industry has arrived in India" and that many of them are financed, encouraged and patronised by internationally reputed monetary agencies.

It is interesting that hazardous wastes generated by the Indian industries have no takers in foreign countries, and their import is vehemently opposed by non-governmental organisations.

P.S. Subrahmanian Vellore, Tamil Nadu

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