The Beautiful Game

4 minute read

The article “Come On, England!” clearly articulates all that is wrong with the country’s national game [June 11]. That said, I found Professor Andy Markovits’ quote confusing, out of place and irrelevant to the article: “How did this little nothing conquer a fourth of the world?” If this was an attempt to draw a linear relationship between British imperial history and the lack of success of the English football team, it was nothing more than bizarre.

Your cover line, “The Tragedy of English Football,” is gratuitously hyperbolic. What is happening in Syria truly is a tragedy. The state of the Greek economy is genuinely tragic. The long-term under-performance of the England football team is at worst shameful, given the strength of the domestic leagues and the rewards on offer. Or rather, as you say in your sub-heading, it’s really merely disappointing.
Alex Taylor, LONDON

The tragedy of English football is that the players are overpaid by their clubs and don’t really care about the national team when chosen for it.

Strategy for Syria
Re “The Case Against Intervention in Syria” [June 11]: I fully agree with Fareed Zakaria that if the international community takes military action, it could trigger a proxy struggle between Western countries and Eastern ones such as Russia, Iran and China. I also believe that “crippling sanctions” would work better. In addition to an energy embargo, it is important to impose an arms embargo as well. We need to take action quickly.
Kazuhiro Uozumi, YOKOHAMA, JAPAN

If the Western world feels that economic sanctions alone can force Syrian President Bashar Assad to cede power to democratic forces, we are perhaps living in a utopian world. The presence of fighter jets and some tough talks by NATO may achieve better results far more quickly. We owe it to people of Syria. Or else all will believe the protest poster that reads, SYRIA IS NOT IMPORTANT BECAUSE IT HAS NO OIL.
Sharad Bishnoi, THANE, INDIA

You don’t treat a tyrant who massacres his own people in cold blood with kid gloves. If military intervention can be done successfully in Libya and Bosnia, why can’t it be done in Syria?

Skewed Picture
I was sad, surprised and troubled by the article “On His Own” [June 11] about the pressures on President Hamid Karzai as foreign troops leave Afghanistan. The article included six photos: five of Afghan people and one of Karzai with U.S. officials. All five photos of Afghans showed men or boys only. How can you be so insensitive as to not include at least one photo of a woman — in business, government, culture or at home? A large element of Afghan women’s well-documented lack of development, growth and empowerment is due to poor awareness of their work.

Foreigners in China
As an expat living in China for more than three decades, I’m afraid I have to agree with television host Yang Rui [Alien Nation, June 11]. In recent years, a new generation of young expats arrived here looking for work and adventure. Their behavior is often rude and condescending to the local Chinese. They do not follow the rules of their visas. I’m the first to admit that not everything is milk and honey in China, but many of these young foreigners behave like hooligans. The Chinese are right to crack down on them.
Luc Kwanten, SHANGHAI

Movie Message
I read with interest Vivienne Walt’s article on Omar Sy and the French movie The Intouchables [Class Act, June 11]. I was surprised that the article focused on the film’s themes of racism and banlieue issues, because to me, the main message of the movie is that handicapped people have the wish and the right to live a fulfilling life. The movie shows that unemployment, inadequate housing and expensive equipment usually place handicapped people at the verge of poverty or forces them to rely on their families.

Economic Inequality
Re 10 Questions [June 11]: I admire Joseph Stiglitz for his bold comments, particularly when he says that by denying opportunity to people at the bottom, we are hurting the whole economy because it prevents them from living up to their potential. He speaks for millions in poor and developing countries.
Aftab Ahmad, KARACHI

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