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Letters

Public responses

by D+C / E+Z
In our April edition, we published letters from our readers concerning the articles on "Elderly left alone" by Samwar Fallah and the Editorial "Think global, act local" in our January edition, on February's Focus section on "Digital revolution" and the article on "Great opportunities" by Maja Bott and Bianca Clausen, and, finally, on "Homophobic law in Uganda" in our March edition.

More than food and medicine

D+C/E+Z 2014/01, p.  36 f., Samwar Fallah: "Elderly left alone"

I would like to share some experiences that Sri Lankan elderly people are undergoing. At present the elderly population is 11 % in Sri Lanka and the projected figure for 2030 is 22 %. Sri Lanka’s population is thus one of the fastest ageing in the world.

When a society is getting old, productivity tends to decline, so the young population has to work more in order to compensate. Especially in Third-World countries such as Sri Lanka, the facilities for elderly people are mostly inadequate and poor. One major problem for old people is the lack of money for purchasing food and medicine. Access to medical services is another challenge.

Only a very small percentage of elderly people receive monthly pensions. Typically, they used to work for state agencies and make up less than 10 % of their age group. Accordingly, many elders live with their children, and most of them are burden on their children. Some live in elders’ homes managed by welfare societies with minimal resources. All too often, a large share of their meals is provided by charitable donors. Government support is not enough to meet all food expenses.

Moreover, elders’ homes are often just enough to live in, but they do not offer any entertainment or occupations. All people are human beings. They do not only need food and medical attention, but want to spend their time in a meaningful way before they pass away from this world.

The attitude towards elders should change in a positive manner. Most elders contributed a lot to society when they were young, so now they should be entitled to basic facilities. Depressingly, services are not adequate for ensuring a comfortable life to elders in Sri Lanka. The situation is not much different in most developing countries.

Asoka Palamakumbura, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka

Link to the article

 

Great job

D+C/E+Z 2014/01, p. 2, Editorial: "Think global, act local"

I appreciate the great job you are doing with D+C/E+Z, and in particular, this time, your editorial in the January 2014 edition. Well done. If you do not mind, I would like to quote you and also paraphrase some of your statements in a forthcoming speech. Would that be fine with you?

John Wasswa Mulumba, Uganda

Editor’s response: All articles in D+C/E+Z are public content. Our authors wave their copy rights to the precise wording of the published essays. Anyone who indicates the source is free to use them. Those who wish to republish manuscripts in a print or online format, however, are equested to inform the editorial office.

Link to the editorial

 

Electronic junk

D+C/E+Z 2014/02, p.  56 ff., Focus section: "Digital revolution"

Your focus section offers a good overview of how the "digital divide" is developing. Unfortunately, you have missed an important dimension: electronic junk. It affects many places, not only in Ghana and Nigeria. It is of concern in Nairobi’s Silicon Savannah, for instance. On the other hand, there are some good schemes for dismantling electronic junk in Kenya, as far as I can tell, and those schemes are yet another relevant aspect of digital developments.

Klaus Willke, Hamburg

Link to the focus section

 

Accurate figures

D+C/E+Z 2014/02, p.  64 ff., Maja Bott and Bianca Clausen: "Great opportu­nities"

One thing seems strange: according to your essay, a physician earns € 1000 in Brazil, whereas a nurse earns € 5700. Is this a mistake? What do these numbers mean?

Thomas Vergers, Donauwörth

Author’s response: The figures are accurate – and that is precisely what Brazil’s public-­sector-pay scandal was about. Some nurses make almost six times more money than a physician, and almost as much as the nation’s president. For this reason, the Brazilian government started the transparency initiative. Maja Bott

Link to the article

 

The other half

D+C/E+Z 2014/03, p.  93, Monitor: "Uganda adopts homophobic law"

Your news item about Uganda’s homophobic legislation bothered me. The reason is that the law punishes homosexuals in general, and not only gay men who are only one half of all homosexuals. Lesbian women are the other half. It is important to point out that the new law, unlike its predecessor, also applies to lesbian women, as anyone who does some in-depth research will fast find out.

In reality, however, Lesbians have been persecuted in Uganda for a long time. In this sense, the demonstration in Nairobi was not about gay rights, but a demonstration of gay and lesbian persons as well as, most likely, some heterosexual persons who took part in a sense of solidarity.

Uganda’s legislation is not anti-gay, but anti-homosexual (if we disregard the even smaller minorities of transsexuals and inter-sexuals for the moment). Accordingly, it is Ugandan LGBTI activists rather than gay-rights activists that support homosexual people and report that many have fled the country.

Natalia Matter, Mainz

Link to the news items