Can we help the Nigerian schoolgirls?

Jim Hanna writes: Re. “When ‘women are slaves’, and Australia just ignores it” (yesterday). Cathy Alexander’s report makes for awful reading.

This mass kidnapping of schoolgirls has rightly focused attention on Nigeria, but young girls are increasingly being kidnapped and sold off into marriage in Egypt as this short film shows. Said Fayez, a Coptic lawyer and human rights activist, says the kidnapping and rape of Christian women and girls and their forced conversion to Islam used to affect perhaps six or seven girls in the whole of Egypt, but the numbers have grown into the thousands.

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This would not be tolerated if it happened in the West. Our governments must help, somehow.

John Richardson writes: I’m not sure how much real life experience a “deputy editor” at Crikey is expected to have, but if Cathy Alexander’s hysterical piece on the cruel failure of the Australian government and media to secure the release of 200 schoolgirls abducted in Nigeria is anything to go by, it can’t be much.

It seems Alexander thinks that Australia really runs the world and if Tony Abbott were doing his job properly he would have secured the release of the journalists currently jailed in Egypt; parlayed death sentences for good behaviour bonds for the so-called Islamic “terrorists” sentenced to death by that country’s military government; secured a life sentence for Gerry Adams for being Irish; convinced Mad Vlad to withdraw his forces from Crimea; locked up the board of the Commonwealth Bank for sanctioning, forgery, fraud and theft by its employees; had David Gyngell and James Packer locked in stocks in Martin Place for exhibiting childish behaviour and made Eva Cox a Dame — all from his car on the way to the office on Monday morning.

While child abduction and slavery is horrible, it regrettably is a crime like billions of others that are committed around the world every day and that Australia can’t be and isn’t expected to prevent or correct.

Of course it’s ridiculous that this country is continuing to spend millions looking for a lost plane that may never be found, but it’s no more ridiculous than Crikey expecting its readers to take Alexander’s thesis that we can solve all the world’s problems, just because she and Eva Cox think it would be nice to.

Top Gear‘s top bloke

Peter Callil writes: Re. “Racism, homophobia, drink-driving: end of the road for Jeremy Clarkson?” (yesterday). Shouldn’t Crikey be saluting Clarkson rather than lambasting him because of his unorthodox, politically incorrect style? Your purpose is to provide an alternative to the established media because you see that they have lost the plot of journalism. You aim to provide an entertaining alternative with your own particular bias. What is the difference between you and he? Thank Clarkson there is someone who has the balls to lampoon the fools in this world, because we have more than enough people willing to tell us all sweet lies. We all need to grow up and stop taking ourselves so seriously.

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Peter Fray
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