27th September, 2001


Dear Editor,

Very shortly in the planning Departments of Cork Co. Council in the County Hall & of Cork Corporation In George's Quay decisions will be made which will have major consequences for Douglas Village, the people of Douglas and particularly for Douglas' beautiful Tramore River. These decisions evolve around giving (or not giving) developers of the proposed multi-story car park permission to culvert the Tramore river- and thereby kill it. By definition to culvert a river means 'to cover over' and consequently to degrade its status to that of a drain or a gully. It will surely be a sad day for all Douglas people should this be allowed to happen.
The historical industrial significance of the Tramore river system is part of our heritage. The river has shaped the village and its hinterland. It is important that an appreciation of this heritage left by the streams and associated mills be to provide the much-enlarged community with a sense of place and to combat the ever-growing tendency towards anonymity.
Our generation has no right to sound the death knell of the river. Rather have we an obligation to the Tramore river system for what it has always been from time immemorial - a living entity.
We have already lost the estuary to a shopping centre and car park. This was a 'gem' sanctuary not only for fish life but also for the flora and fauna as well as the insects, birds and mammals that enrich the area.
Where are our environmental politicians either within government or in opposition? The Green Party and Fine Gael Party's environmental spokespersons are both living on the doorstep of the controversy.
The decisions, which I refer to above, will have consequences for all future generations and they will be irrevocable. I sincerely hope that they will be right ones.
Yours Sincerely,
Michael Martin (Douglas)


I am thrilled to hear of Douglas doing so well in the Tidy Towns, I am a resident in Douglas all my life and am very proud of the achievement. On the other hand I am not proud of the gridlock I see every day in Douglas Village. People taking kids to school sitting in traffic, any trip into Douglas now is taking a lot of time. I took 20 minutes to get from Donnybrook to Douglas last Saturday morning, which is not even a school day. Local representatives had the whole summer to come up with some sort of solution. But nothing has happened.
Also I am really happy to see all the new roadwork's that have started just as people are trying to get kids to school. Why was this work not carried out during the summer when traffic volumes were lower? I phoned the local Douglas Council Office (which is in Carrigaline)! 021 4371800, and voiced my opinion on the condition of the roads and pathways around the Donnybrook area. They said they will take it into consideration! I won't hold my breath. I would urge all the people in Donnybrook to ring the number above to voice their opinion
Tax Payer
(Name and address with editor)


I've been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age." Ronn Owens, on KGO Talk Radio today, allowed that this would mean killing innocent people, people who had nothing to do with this atrocity, but "we're at war, we have to accept collateral damage. What else can we do?" Minutes later I heard some TV pundit discussing whether we "have the belly to do what must be done."
And I thought about the issues being raised especially hard because I am from Afghanistan, and even though I've lived here for 35 years I've never lost track of what's going on there. So I want to tell anyone who will listen how it all looks from where I'm standing. I speak as one who hates the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. There is no doubt in my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity in New York. I agree that something must be done about those monsters.
But the Taliban and Ben Laden are not Afghanistan. They're not even the government of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics who took over Afghanistan in 1997. Bin Laden is a political criminal with a plan. When you think Taliban, think Nazis. When you think Bin Laden, think Hitler. And when you think "the people of Afghanistan" think "the Jews in the concentration camps." It's not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity. They were the first victims of the perpetrators. They would exult if someone would come in there, take out the Taliban and clear out the rats nest of international thugs holed up in their country.
Some say, why don't the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban? The answer is, they're starved, exhausted, hurt, and incapacitated, suffering.
A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000 disabled orphans in Afghanistan--a country with no economy, no food. There are millions of widows. And the Taliban has been burying these widows alive in mass graves. The soil is littered with land mines; the farms were all destroyed by the Soviets. These are a few of the reasons why the Afghan people have not overthrown the Taliban.
We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age. Trouble is, that's been done. The Soviets took care of it already. Make the Afghans suffer? They're already suffering. Level their houses? Done. Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done. Eradicate their hospitals? Done. Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine and health care? Too late. Someone already did all that. New bombs would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs. Would they at least get the Taliban? Not likely. In today's Afghanistan, only the Taliban eat, only they have the means to move around. They'd slip away and hide. Maybe the bombs would get some of those disabled orphans, they don't move too fast; they don't even have wheelchairs. But flying over Kabul and dropping bombs wouldn't really be a strike against the criminals who did this horrific thing. Actually it would only be making common cause with the Taliban--by raping once again the people they've been raping all this time
So what else is there? What can be done, then? Let me now speak with true fear and trembling. The only way to get Bin Laden is to go in there with ground troops. When people speak of "having the belly to do what needs to be done" they're thinking in terms of having the belly to kill as many as needed. Having the belly to overcome any moral qualms about killing innocent people. Let's pull our heads out of the sand. What's actually on the table is Americans dying. And not just because some Americans would die fighting their way through Afghanistan to Bin Laden's hideout. It's much bigger than that folks. Because to get any troops to Afghanistan, we'd have to go through Pakistan. Would they let us? Not likely. The conquest of Pakistan would have to be first. Will other Muslim nations just stand by? You see where I'm going. We're flirting with a world war between Islam and the West.
And guess what: that's Bin Laden's program. That's exactly what he wants. That's why he did this. Read his speeches and statements. It's all right there. He really believes Islam would beat the west. It might seem ridiculous, but he figures if he can polarise the world into Islam and the West, he's got a billion soldiers. If the west wreaks a holocaust in those lands, that's a billion people with nothing left to lose that's even better from Bin Laden's point of view. He's probably wrong, in the end the west would win, whatever that would mean, but the war would last for years and millions would die, not just theirs but ours. Who has the belly for that? Bin Laden does. Anyone else?
Tamim Ansary (U.S.A)