Gazette letters: Swallows, Alan Denney and peace

King Henry's Walk Garden. Picture: WILL McCALLUM

King Henry's Walk Garden. Picture: WILL McCALLUM - Credit: Archant

The swallows are arriving, writes Will McCallum, Newington Green.

Freshly returned from South Africa, I saw some of summer’s early arrivals twisting and turning above their reflections in Stoke Newington West Reservoir in the early morning sun. There are few sights more exhilarating in the urban natural world than watching these incredible birds dance between water and sky, feasting on the wing. Knowing their tiny wings have carried them further than my legs may walk in my lifetime only adds to it.

They say one swallow does not make a summer, and while signs of spring remain all around us, I cannot help but feel that the race into summer has begun. The daffodils are wilting and the weather is less changeable. Trees are growing greener by the day and I have to sweep the pear blossom more regularly from the patio.

I am in my garden more often now. Having cleared the rubble we are attempting to practise what I preach – creating more inviting conditions for the wildlife of Newington Green. Jays and blue tits have begun to join the pigeons and blackbirds to dinner at our new bird feeders. The garden even saw its first duel – a crow outstaring our neighbour’s cat, each holding its ground, evenly matched. Both more patient than I, I didn’t wait to see how it turned out.

Spring highlight this week: The slow explosion of colour across King Henry’s Walk Garden as the picture shows.

Thank you very much for the article on Alan Denney (“Snapper Alan shares his five favourite shots of Hackney”, Gazette), writes Eileen Rose, Belvedere Road, Leyton.

I was alerted to the article by my sister, who is an avid reader of the Hackney Gazette and lives in Bethnal Green. I was born in Hackney and lived there for 22 years, and have lived in Leyton, Waltham Forest, for 31 years.

It was such a joy to be transported back to 1979 when I looked at the pictures and spotted myself in one of them. I was at the Bad Manners playing Stoke Newington Common Festival. I was 15 at the time. I completely agree with Alan when he reports the significant changes that have taken place over the years in Hackney – it is almost unrecognisable.

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I frequently come to Hackney because my father of 85 years still lives in Stoke Newignton. He came to England to settle from Jamaica, during the Empire Windrush period in the 1960s. In fact, I have another sister who returned to live with her family in the newly refurbished Woodberry Down estate where the boys from Bad Manners originally lived. Most of my siblings and I went to the local primary and secondary schools in Woodberry Down.

Hackney still holds for me fond memories that have been exciting, daunting and political. I believe it had its challenges for many of us who lived there in the past, as Alan’s pictures and your report highlighted.

Reading the article made me realise that despite leaving Hackney, Hackney still lives in me! Thanks again.

The international situation is currently extremely dangerous, writes Christopher Sills, Dunsmure Road, Stamford Hill.

Before solutions can be found it is necessary to consider who is to blame for the current situation.

I think few readers would disagree with me that President Assad, Kim Jong-un and Isil are the major problem and that they are helped by their puppets in Iran and President Putin.

I believe, however, that the real cause of recent events were weak politicans who failed to do their duty and stand up to tyrants when they went too far. These include Labour MPs and a few stupid Tory rebels who failed to punish President Assad when he used chemical weapons in August 2013. The same of course must apply to ex-president Obama, who on foreign affairs was one of the weakest America presidents ever.

Although their motives were understandable they failed to understand the basic truth that it is sometimes necessary to be brutal to be kind.

Another example was when a group of 10,000 civilians was trapped on a mountain and the west failed to make any serious attempt to rescue them, because weak leaders would not allow the military to act.

All this has had unintended consequences including many innocent deaths and the refugee crisis, which incidentally resulted in Brexit. It greatly angers me that America and Russia have not taken their share of the refugees that their actions or inactions have created.

Worse, Russia is not paying its fair share of the costs and Britain is to its credit paying more than its fair share.

This is why I welcome President Trump’s tough line with Syria and his long overdue actions against North Korea. This is the only way to keep the peace in the long run.

As President Assad has broken international law by using chemical weapons, a no-fly-zone should be applied if he does it again, which he will, and if Russia defies the zone its planes should be shot down.

By warning President Assad and Russia of the consequences, President Putin will ensure that it does not happen.

Next, China should remove Kim Jong-un and North and South Korea should be unified and as part of the deal America should agree not to station any troops in North Korea. It should be pointed out that any short-term refugees would help China deal with the consequences of their now abandoned one-child policy.

Like this there is a chance of peace, but if nothing is done things will only get worse.