IoS letters, emails & online postings (23 June 2013)

The closure of Greek national television and silencing of the public radio stations on 12 June echoes the days of the military junta. This act, which violates democracy, plunged Greece into the most dangerous kind of fascism. It has no precedent in any civilised country, and not only attacks the fundamental right to information but also damages irreparably artistic production. ERT archives, which are of unique value and which preserve the memories of our post-war period, are in danger of being lost for ever.

We, the undersigned Greek playwrights and sympathisers, call for the immediate retraction of this anti-constitutional act and the reopening of ERT, and welcome acts of solidarity on the part of our European colleagues.

Nina Rapi

Edward Bond

Jane Birkin and 82 others

Via email

In future, when I pick up my Independent on Sunday or sister titles, and have to pick them out from piles of other papers displaying the bodies of young women, I will remember that their efforts are helping to pay the wages of the unfortunate journalists engaged by these papers (D J Taylor, 16 June).

Sex per se is a wonderful thing – none of us would be here without it – but one can feel only pity for those buying or selling it, in whatever form. What children seeing these pictures think, as they buy sweets on the way to school, is another thing.

Mary Hodgson


Well done, D J Taylor, for questioning the point of those "vox pop interviews in the wake of some government proposal or other" (16 June). I'd rather wait and listen to those who genuinely have something to say about the issue concerned.

Tim Mickleburgh

Grimsby, Lincolnshire

Robert Fisk is correct to claim that the schism that split Islam started with the death of the Prophet Mohamed ("Iran will send 4,000 troops to aid Assad", 16 June). But he has not emphasised the fact that the schism centred on Muslims who believed tradition matters and ones who believed bloodlines matter. This issue arose only because Mohamed had no surviving sons.

Sunnis believe in tradition (the word derives from the Arabic word sunna, meaning tradition) and so favoured Mohamed's father-in-law. Shias believe bloodline matters – the word means partisan. They favoured his son-in-law.

Kartar Uppal

West Bromwich, West Midlands

The extract from John Rentoul's "afterword" to his biography of Tony Blair majors on the build-up to the Iraq invasion ("Poster boy or cartoon villain?", 16 June). He rightly mentions the arithmetic of the parliamentary vote on 18 March 2003. It would have taken just one extra sentence to mention that every Liberal Democrat MP was present at that key vote, and all voted against invasion. It is important to record that one party was united against the war – and that its judgement was proved vividly correct by subsequent events.

Michael Meadowcroft


An aspect of GM technology that Tony Juniper ignores is that it could be used for non-profit ventures ("GM crops: It's business, as usual", 16 June). Universities have, languishing in refrigerators and growth rooms, thousands of solutions that could help the poor. These include solutions for higher nutrition, drought, salt, resistance to pests, and high yields. But the cost of commercialisation is massive and it takes a long time. Only big corporations can undertake it, and only with crops such as corn, canola, soy and cotton, because tomatoes or strawberries will not yield enough to cover the research and development. If smaller companies could compete, new technology could help those who need it most.

Kevin Folta

Posted online

The G8 leaders should have had the faces of your eight children from around the world before them at every meeting ("The view from the world's eight-year-olds", 16 June). Their clear-eyed vision for a better future – enough food for all, safer streets, and sanitation – was so devastatingly simple that any other sort of talk sounds like self-aggrandising waffle.

Margaret Carter


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