Letters from our readers

On “French media attack Damascus after French journalist dies in Syria



Pflimlin’s statement in particular is clearly in line with Sarkozy’s policy; one must also remember the bizarre incident in last June where France 24 (a public television station for international diffusion) announced that the Syrian ambassador was resigning to protest her government’s actions. The actual ambassador quickly denied the whole thing.


This is the result of Sarkozy’s tightening of government control over public TV at the end of 2008, which involved a lot of restructuring and restricting the incomes from advertisement, making it more dependent on state budget prepared by his government and voted by his majority party.


21 January 2012

On “Australia: Deportation of Pakistani student


Thank you, WSWS, for reporting on this case. There hasn’t been anything on the news here about the plight of this student. The implications of the case are very disturbing. I’m glad actually that I don’t have a Facebook account; I’m sure if I had Facebbok friends who “happen” to live in countries like Iran and Pakistan, I too might be hauled before ASIO and asked to provide phone numbers and explain myself.


What’s really disturbing is that the student might not have even friended all the people on his account or that ASIO has got the wrong person. Many Muslims have very similar names and it’s likely ASIO is just doing a blanket search for all people with the same name regardless of whether they’ve got direct connections with supposedly terrorist groups or individuals or not.


Jennifer H
18 January 2012

On “Death toll likely to rise in Italian cruise ship tragedy


One of the things that has been totally absent in the media is that the design of such vessels purely reflects the profit motive. Why I say this is that in relation to safety regulation, if a ship of her construction with towering decks and shallow draft was to go down, she would go down port or starboard pretty well wherever she was holed through.

As a boatbuilder I have some knowledge of these things. Whilst she has good “initial stability”, this is always dependant on the sea state and what her orientation is to waves and wind.

However the use of starboard and port lifeboats as they are configured means only a small window of opportunity is open for their successful launch… The safety model that they reflect is of a ship going down bow or stern like the Titanic. But this is not the reality for such a ship as the Costa.


19 January 2012

On “The Iron Lady: What were they thinking?

Why hasn’t Meryl Streep’s own ideological stance been questioned? She has been a working actor now for well over thirty years and obviously isn’t “struggling” in any way. She is also, one would assume, a performer with a functioning intellect, yet upon reading the script for The Iron Lady she clearly saw no problem whatsoever with the perspective being put forth by the filmmakers. I admit I haven’t seen the film myself but it strikes me as kind of odd that every review whether negative or positive fails to engage in this question. Were Streep a “newcomer” who badly needed a break one could maybe understand the choice to take on the role a little more. Actors are (or at least should be) artists too, with minds of their own. Not just puppets for directors and producers.

Having said that, it’s apparent that Streep felt she was being allowed to show off her “art” by portraying a senile, vulnerable old lady. To the outside eye its quite clear that she has made the callous choice of cashing in on a role she knew would receive a great deal of praise for, for its so-called “humanity,” etc. Talent is subjective. Personally I find whenever I watch Meryl Streep act I fail to see any heart in her performing and only see her technique, and it is obvious where she has trained and who has trained her, etc. However, objectively speaking, one can see why she gets all the praise as “great technical acting” has a way of fooling the public. Having witnessed some of the footage of The Iron Lady it seems like Streep is really giving us a so-called “master class.”


Having said all this, I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Marsden’s review, particularly his analysis of the characterisation of Thatcher’s husband. The comments I have made above are no doubt applicable to Jim Broadbent also.


17 January 2012