This month’s winner submitted two letters in two different media outlets. In the first, published on June 1 in the Irish Examiner, Martin Stern of Salford in the UK shows the value of getting the final word when he responded to a published letter from a few days prior:
Michael A Moriarty (‘Stopping the bloodshed in Syria’, Letters, May 31) writes that “The government of Syria may be far from perfect”, which is obvious to anyone following the events there.
However, he continues that “having lived in the country I can confirm that minority groups, mainly Christian and Jewish (of whom there is a large community), are allowed to function”.
While there are a few Jews left in Syria, I think the term “a large community” is such an exaggeration as to be ludicrous.
There are probably more Jews born in Syria in the sleepy seaside resort of Deal, New Jersey, let alone in the New York conurbation, than in the whole of Syria today.
Perhaps Mr Moriarty referred to the Christians and his comment was displaced by mistake but such carelessness should have been picked up by the editor.
In his second letter published on June 5, Martin takes on a comment piece in the Belfast Telegraph, asking why the writer is so hung up on alleged Israeli misdemeanors when there are genuine human rights abuses going on in Syria and elsewhere:
I suppose Eamonn McCann only omitted from his article, ‘The world must open its eyes to Israel’ (Comment, May 25), any mention of the massacre of over 100 people in Houla in Syria, including 30 children under the age of 10, because it had not as yet taken place.
From his article’s tone, I would assume that he would have agreed with Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, who was quoted in Iran’s semi-official FARS news agency as stating: “Any crime committed [in Syria] can be traced back to the [Israeli] regime’s hirelings [and] we palpably feel the Zionist regime’s hand in Syria’s internal developments.”
After all, who would even suspect that such a democrat as Bashir Assad, or Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, would commit such a heinous crime?
This must follow from the ‘fact’ Israel is an ‘apartheid, racist state’ that violates international law – unlike its peace-loving neighbours, whose only wish is that it should be wiped off the map.
Perhaps critics of Israel, like Eamonn McCann, would do well to remove their blinkers and concentrate their righteous indignation on the true violators of human rights – even if they sit on the UN Human Rights Council.
Congratulations to Martin, who will be receiving something from us in the mail very soon for his efforts.
Remember to keep writing those letters and let us know if you are published!