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Our letters editor picks submissions that sum up the year

2016-12-26 22:45 | Network |
Letters are welcome via e-mail to letters@economist.com

Our letters editor picks submissions that sum up the year
(Tip:click the picture to see the big picture.)

The Trump revolution
You used so much ink trying to convince us that Donald Trump is not fit for office (“Time to fire him”, February 27th). Do you think the type of person who reads your erudite publication would ever consider voting for him? Not likely. The people who will vote for The Donald are the disaffected bitter-clingers whom the last candidate you passionately begged us to vote for—Barack Obama—disparaged in his campaign. Those same disaffected people haven’t been doing well over the past eight years, and in case you haven’t noticed, they are mad as hell.

Government isn’t working for us. There are few good jobs, we’ve been stuck with a joke of a health-care system, the few rights we still enjoy are under siege and the future looks dim for our children. We are powerless to foment a revolution while working two part-time jobs to make ends meet, so all we can do is register a protest against the Dickensian nightmare that the elites have created for us by voting. Apparently, nobody listened (Republican or Democrat) to what we were trying to say in 2012. Come November, you’ll be hearing from us again, louder and clearer.

MARK KRASCHEL
Portland, Oregon

Our letters editor picks submissions that sum up the year
(Tip:click the picture to see the big picture.)

Irreconcilable differences
Your reaction to the result of Britain’s referendum on the European Union floats roundly inside the grieving London bubble (“A tragic split”, June 25th). More than 17.4m people voted to leave. The distribution of their votes across all of England belies the insulting image being peddled that Brexiteers are angry, semi-literate, racist northerners. The middle-class cognoscenti is in shock, unable to comprehend that the entire nation actually does not share their near-fascistic Weltanschauung. Had Remain won, no one would now be discussing the need to heal a divided nation. Instead it would be “common sense triumphing over isolationism”, “tolerance overcoming hate”, and so on. I voted Leave on the basis of Tony Benn’s inarguable case regarding democratic accountability and I am delighted with the outcome.

STEPHEN HAND
Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire

A new entry for the Oxford English Dictionary:
Plebicide n. the self-inflicted ruin of a nation’s prospects or interests via a reckless act of direct democracy.

BRUCE STEEDMAN
St Helier, Jersey

Our letters editor picks submissions that sum up the year
(Tip:click the picture to see the big picture.)

What is a “burkini”?
A “burkini” is not “a cross between a burqa and a swimsuit” (“Ill-suited”, September 3rd). Although the word is a portmanteau of “burqa” and “bikini”, the item itself is not. It is simply a swimsuit, albeit a modest one, and has nothing to do with a burqa. Rather, it is associated with the hijab. A woman who wears the hijab covers her hair and body in public, and so would not show her arms, legs and chest on the beach. Obviously, a substantial portion of Muslim women wear the hijab, whereas only a tiny minority wear a burqa or cover their faces. 

“Burkini” is English and does not come from Arabic. This kind of clothing is referred to natively as maayo muhtashim (modest swimsuit) or malaabis al-bahr al-muhtashim (modest beach clothes). The term “burkini” has started to appear also in Arabic news sources, but the spelling and the fact that it is often written in quotes mark it clearly as a borrowing from English.

KAREN MCNEIL
Revising editor
Oxford Arabic Dictionary
Providence, Rhode Island

Why they’re right
A lot of what you said in your leader on trade and globalisation made sense, but those who oppose trade deals are not “wrong” (“Why they’re wrong”, October 1st). Free-trade deals have changed remarkably since the repeal of the Corn Laws in the 1840s. Accords such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement are more about protecting the interests of large multinational corporations than they are about reducing costs for consumers and promoting competition.

These deals expand intellectual property rights, increase patent protections and enable foreign companies to sue governments for alleged losses of potential profits in supranational courts through “investor-state dispute settlements”. This is what the protesters are most opposed to: noxious provisions that boost the economic power of large corporations at the expense of democratic governments, smaller businesses and individual citizens.

TOBY SANGER
Economist
Canadian Union of Public Employees
Ottawa

Our letters editor picks submissions that sum up the year
(Tip:click the picture to see the big picture.)

(Editor:FinAll)
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