Sir — The story about a severe acute respiratory syndrome patient, Julie D’Silva, leaving the hospital to get married in a church before returning to the hospital — all this with the doctors’ permission — is infuriating and bizarre (“Virus bride courts epidemic”, April 23). The doctors who allowed such an incident to happen are utterly incapable of taking crucial decisions when the situation so demands. It is incredible that knowing full well the consequences of contracting the fatal illness, they failed to take the necessary measures. Where was the hospital superintendent when the patient was slipping out' It has been a few days after the outrageous incident, but no action has been taken against the doctors who knowingly put the lives of many people at risk. Suggestions to handle the situation are coming by the dozen now, perhaps when it is too late, thanks to the ineptitude of a few. The incident proves for the umpteenth time that such things happen only in India.
Partha Saha, Pune
Sir — Supriya Chaudhuri deserves our full appreciation for writing, “ Saving Ali” (April 23). The article touches a deep chord within and reminds us that we need to keep in mind the importance of certain human values. The treatment of Ali Ismail Abbas which has been taken up with such fervour by the United States of America, is nothing but an eyewash. But the media was expected to be a little more impartial in reporting the incident regarding Ali. They have been so busy reporting the US initiative to help Ali get the best treatment possible that they have failed to highlight the fact that it is precisely because of the US-induced sanctions that children like Ali have been deprived of life-saving drugs and medicines. The dirty politics played by the superpowers will help them accumulate more power and wealth, but to the people across the globe it will only mean misery and more differences between nations and communities.
Waeza Tazien, Calcutta
Sir — Supriya Chaudhuri’s article was moving and it accurately summed up the absurdity of the war and the agony that accompanies it. Despite what they keep proclaiming to the world, the Americans have only managed to make a complete fool of themselves by putting forth phoney claims of the “liberation” of Iraqis. Liberation from what' And liberation in such a horrific manner and with such horrific results'
M.L. Raina, Massachussetts, US
Sir — The most unfortunate victim of the Iraq war is undoubtedly Ali Ismail Abbas whose arms were blown off by an American missile. More unfortunate and shocking is the fact that the poor boy, who has lost all his family members in the war, had been contemplating suicide given the futility of staying alive in his condition. Ali has moved millions across the globe, and it is heartening that at least one Indian, Gayatri Devi of Jaipur, was among the first to offer him concrete help. She has offered to pay for his medical treatment in Iraq or anywhere else in the world. Many organizations have also offered to provide limbs to him. Ali is therefore, and quite ironically, lucky. Thousands of other children have become unwilling victims of such wars fought across the globe. Ideally, they should all be provided help and rehabilitation. Anti-war nations should try and make the war- mongers in the US and Britain pay proper compensation towards rebuilding war-ravaged Iraq as soon as possible.
Manish C. Bose, Calcutta
Sir — Tony Blair had a key role to play in the tragic drama surrounding Ali Ismail Abbas, and that is the reason why he is so desperate to save his face. Naturally, Ali’s well-being occupies a lot of space in his rhetoric (“Saving Ali is Blair priority”, April 16). Saving Ali is all very well, but will Blair be around to see what happens to him in the future' And for whom will the poor boy survive' Is this the way to save one’s skin from global wrath against the war' The arrogance and the contempt with which both Blair and George W. Bush continue to treat the future of Iraq is sickening. Hopefully, they will be made to pay their price.
Goutam Das, Jalpaiguri
Sir — It is not unknown that the concern being shown for Ali is a temporary affair. Yet there is little left for the likes of us who fervently hope that that in the power race that nations across the world are being drawn into, whatever remains of humanity does not disappear.
Aasish Guha, Calcutta
Sir — The ruthless American invasion of Iraq will have wide-ranging ramifications for the world. For now, it has broken many myths and brutally stumped those free-thinking people around the globe who believed that such invasions were things of the past. The US has demonstrated that history repeats itself and that men’s tendency to wage war for material gains is still too strong to be suppressed. It has also been proved again that weapons once invented have never remained unused.
Another painful development is the transformation of the United Nations into an organization made by the Anglo-Americans and for the Anglo-Americans. For developing countries like India, such ominous developments require serious contemplations on security. It is time India utilized the huge scientific talent in the country to build a credible quantity of hi-tech weapons to deter even the most powerful militaries of the world.
Shivaji K. Moitra, Kharagpur