Science for the masses
Sir — What use are all the developments in science, if it cannot cure common cold — or save the humble banana from extinction (“Bye-bye banana. Are you bananas'”, Jan 17)' On the one hand, scientists claim to have developed the first human clone, a development that can only help rich childless couples in the West and earn companies like Clonaid, millions. On the other, they profess helplessness in preserving a fruit that is so important to millions of poor all over the world — the banana is the most complete source of all kinds of nutrients. Scientists indeed seem to have lost all sense of proportion.
S. Basu, Calcutta
Sir — What can explain the vastly different responses of George W. Bush to the allegation of Saddam Hussein possessing weapons of mass destruction, and confirmed intelligence of North Korea’s Kim Jong Il possessing at least two nuclear warheads and having the capacity to build others within six months if necessary' North Korea also has a formidable arsenal of delivery missiles which could target 100,000 American troops positioned in Asia, besides Japan and South Korea. In contrast, Iraq has a few short-range Scud missiles which can at best reach Israel. And yet Bush wants to spend as much as $ 60 billion to attack Iraq.
Bush can have only two reasons to attack Iraq: save Israel from a scenario, however remote, where its reign of terror in west Asia is compromised by Hussein’s going nuclear. Two, the intent of gobbling up an oil-rich country. For Bush, these fruits of aggression are so enticing that the rest of the world cannot convince him and his hawkish coterie that by declaring a war on Iraq, he runs the risk of destabilizing the whole of west Asia and much of the world itself.
Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai
Sir — American double-standards in the treatment of Iraq and North Korea shows it hasn’t yet got over Vietnam. The Bush administration knows that Iraq is like chicken-feed compared to North Korea’s military.
M. Azizuddin, Calcutta
Sir — On January 11, The Telegraph carried a photograph on the front page of an American soldier bidding a tearful farewell to his daughter. The picture was undoubtedly moving but it highlights only one aspect of the human tragedy waiting to unfold. The other aspect is that this is an unjust war being fought to maintain American greed and hegemony. It will kill thousands of innocent citizens, as happened in Afghanistan. Many Iraqi girls, as innocent as the American girl in the picture, are going to lose their fathers. Many children may also die either in the war or because of the deprivations later.
Tanvir Jamil, Calcutta
Not the same thing
Sir — The editorial, “See no condom” (Jan 14), asks why a family, which can be told about pulse polio, cannot be made aware of the use of condoms in preventing AIDS' While both condoms and vaccinations have the common function of preventing the spread of infectious diseases, advertisements of the former tend to project them as the means to enhance sexual enjoyment rather than a shield against sexually transmitted diseases.
Sujit De, Sodepur
Sir — The Union minister, Sushma Swaraj, must realize that we have come a long way from Victorian prudishness. Today, it is foolish to deny the importance of the knowledge of safe sex and use of condoms. Such information does not increase promiscuity, instead it is the quid pro quo for a healthy and more fulfilling sex life.
Instead, it is repression and ignorance which leads to confusion and perversions. Advertisements promoting the use of condoms to prevent HIV/AIDS are not the only things with sexual content that are widely disseminated in society — what about films, television, art, and even temple architecture' Will Swaraj now put the demolition of these temples on the agenda of her puritanical party'
Surajit Basak, Calcutta