It is evident from the story "Polio and Politics" that ignorance and superstition are the real enemies of the population in countries such as Afghanistan and Pakistan [Jan. 14]. Weapons and warfare will not eradicate the Taliban, who terrorize people in the name of religion, or extremists, who spread false messages, but non-violent emancipation and education will. It's time for the West to get its priorities right.
Margit Alm, ELTHAM, AUSTRALIA
While I appreciate the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's support for polio vaccination, Bill Gates is dreaming if he thinks the costs of polio can be eliminated forever. Polio has a habit of hitting back in late age, and those caught in epidemics can battle for years to have postpolio syndrome diagnosed and treated. Who is going to help these survivors in the future?
Fran Henke, HASTINGS, AUSTRALIA
Rape in New Delhi
Re "India's Shame" [Jan. 14]: The inconceivable, ferocious gang rape that led to the victim's death speaks volumes of our nation's agelong ill treatment of women. Many sexual crimes go unreported, especially when the rich and influential are involved. What we need is a social revolution to completely overhaul the system, to empower women to stand up and speak their minds. Is this not the ripe time to act?
Benedict Tagore, MUMBAI
Misogyny in India
Re "India's War on Its Women" [Jan. 14]: The advancement of women can be achieved not only when they have full access to all aspects of well-being in terms of health care, food, education, among others, but also when they are able to fully exercise their freedom. This includes the choice to get married, pursue higher studies or vocation, seek employment or bear children, demand a safer living environment and other socioeconomic justices beyond the constraints of tradition and stereotypes.
Sathia Varqa, SINGAPORE
One needs to strike at the roots: women are their own enemies in India. In a society where boys are kept on the pedestal, change can only happen if mothers take charge and nurture their sons to respect women. Equality is every woman's birthright.
Neena Mittal, SINGAPORE
Person of the Year
Many times in the past I have questioned TIME's choice for the Person of the Year, but not this time [The President, Dec. 31-Jan. 7]. With so much political and economic instability around, many millions of people outside America were hoping for Barack Obama's re-election to provide competent and compassionate leadership not only in the U.S. but for the rest of the world as well. TIME's selection would be endorsed by the majority of citizens around the world.
Arumugam Manoharan, SYDNEY
Here we go again: before he settled down in the Oval Office, first-term President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Four years later, before the beginning of his second term, President Obama is selected the Person of the Year by TIME. The expectations for Obama's leadership and achievements are very high indeed.
Arumugam Manoharan, SYDNEY
Why Not Malala?
Runner-up Malala Yousafzai should be Person of the Year for her bravery and world-changing action against the hate surrounding women's education [The Fighter, Dec. 31-Jan. 7]. I gave my partner a framed caption that reads: "The man who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the woman who is doing it." Malala did it. In 50 years' time, the world will remember Malala's sacrifice for women in her country.
Murray Hunter, TITIRANGI, NEW ZEALAND
Women in Science
As a particle physicist, I found it exhilarating to see Fabiola Gianotti on your list of runners-up for Person of the Year [The Discoverer, Dec. 31-Jan. 7]. But I was dismayed that Jeffrey Kluger called it a "misconception" that women in physics face hurdles men don't. The competition for tenure usually plays out in one's mid- to late 30s and involves not only hard work but also frequently international moves. Men can postpone their family planning until after they have secured positions. Women can't. Both genders face the tension between having a family and securing tenure, but the timing is markedly more difficult for women.
Sabine Hossenfelder, STOCKHOLM
Just like Ike
I can't concur more with Fareed Zakaria's pertinent assessment of President Obama, which describes the power of strategic restraint [On Foreign Policy, Why Barack Is like Ike, Dec. 31-Jan. 7]. Obama knows too well the extreme cost and waste of unnecessary war, the futile loss of invaluable lives and money. Yet comparing him to Dwight Eisenhower is far-fetched. Ike understood deeply the horror and vacuousness of war; Obama doesn't.
Bondi Dan, LONDON