League of the infamous
Sir — The confessions of athlete Marion Jones have come as a shock (“Price of drugs”, Oct 11). She has admitted to taking performance-enhancing drugs before excelling in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The medals and titles won by her since then have been withdrawn. But is it enough compensation for fooling the world' Drugs have been a part of sporting history since the time Ben Johnson was stripped of his Olympic gold in 1988. Jones and Floyd Landis, a cyclist, joins this ever-widening circle of doping cheats. Stringent action must be taken against these sportspersons.
A.K. Ghosh, Calcutta
To help or not to help
Sir — Most of the commentaries on why India is keeping quiet on the political crisis in Myanmar take a holier-than-thou view of things. Whatever is happening in Myanmar is purely an internal matter and India has no right to intervene in it. We would certainly not like it if Myanmar began advising us on Kashmir. In terms of international relations, India needs to keep three things in mind. First, it has a long border with Myanmar and the military junta could worsen the insurgency in the Northeast. Earlier, when India had backed Aung San Suu Kyi, New Delhi had found out, much to its discomfort, that the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) wielded considerable influence over Naypyidaw. It has been forced to do an ignominious volte-face. Unless the situation in the Northeast is stabilized, India’s much-vaunted “Look East” policy will remain on paper. Second, India has recently concluded an agreement with Myanmar for procuring oil and natural gas. Any imprudent step on India’s part will jeopardize this agreement and cost it dear. Finally, criticizing the government in Myanmar will adversely affect India’s relationship with China. In any event, who are we to talk about democracy when the only qualification required in India to be a people’s representative is good criminal connections'
J.K. Dutt, Calcutta
Sir — The military junta’s crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Myanmar has stirred the world. Despite efforts to resolve the human rights crisis in Myanmar, its military dictatorship brazenly violates basic rights and freedoms. For ordinary citizens, a cry for democracy has meant enduring the worst atrocities. While the international community has expressed outrage over these events, little is being done to change the reality. No wonder the junta cares so little about international opinion. Equally ominous is the hesitance of Myanmar’s neighbours to lend their support to democratic forces. It will not do to write off the violence as an “internal matter”. The champions of democracy should raise their voices louder than ever before and also try to find out if a broader international consensus and diplomatic pressure could effect a change in the beleaguered nation.
Md Ziyaullah Khan,
Sir — The editorial, “Another hitch” (Oct 10), made a few pertinent points on the monarchy in Nepal. Nepal’s communist are waging a quixotic war over the abolition of monarchy. These days, monarchs do not rule in reality, they are only symbolic heads of government. The United Kingdom, Japan, Denmark, Sweden, or Belgium have monarchy but it does not disrupt the political lives of these nations. The Nepali communists are just making an academic point over the issue, knowing full well that a monarch will not, in any manner, have the power to impose an autocratic government on the country.
Asoke C. Banerjee, Calcutta