ON December 7 you published a letter from Malcolm Parkin wherein he maintained that there had not been “a word from the Church in all your pages” in relation to the war in Gaza.

Since then the Church of Scotland has not, to my knowledge, taken any steps to publicly express our heartfelt concern by vociferously condemning the scale and consequences of the aforementioned conflict not only in Gaza but increasingly on the West Bank.

Currently the Kirk is engaged in a massive programme of reformation and we are told that the sole future focus of the Church must be towards its Mission. It has embraced what are known as the Five Marks of Mission as its key defining principles. One of these is “to seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of any kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation”.

If the Church truly believes this to be a key plank of its Mission, why in God’s name has it not taken the opportunity to raise a voice with regard to the terrible suffering we are witnessing in Gaza?

John Milne, Uddingston.

Read more: Gaza: Our leaders have no shame when it comes to the suffering

How can this be acceptable?

WHEN did it become acceptable behaviour to murder people in cold blood who at that moment in time pose no threat to you on the excuse that you believe them to belong to a “terrorist” organisation?

When did it become acceptable for members of an occupying army to dress as native civilians and murder patients in a hospital?

When did it become acceptable for innocent children to be blown to pieces or buried alive at a rate exceeding 3,000 a month on the feeble excuse that they are being used as human shields?

When did it become acceptable to continuously bomb for months on end an area roughly twice the size of Dumfriesshire with a population density equivalent to central London and kill over 25,000 of its citizens, the overwhelming majority of whom were women and children?

When did it become acceptable for aid to be stopped to a UN relief organisation working in a besieged enclave on the strength of unsubstantiated claims made by the invading army that has already killed over 130 UN staff members in the very same state as well as a similar number of reporters?

When did it become acceptable for governments to ignore the overwhelming will of their citizens and to at best ignore or at worst condone this kind of behaviour?

David J Crawford, Glasgow.

Using bully boy tactics

TRAIN drivers are striking for better conditions and crucially, more money. They are already on over £65,000. Meanwhile junior doctors who even if they get better wages and conditions,would still have wages miserably short of the train drivers' greedy demands.

This is a perfect example of inequality,where union bosses can hold train passengers to ransom, knowing full well that the employers will cave in eventually.What the train drivers seem not to realise is that fares will need to increase to pay for their demands.

NHS employees don't have that luxury as the unions realise that the Government holds the purse strings.

Sadly bully boy tactics are the order of the day. If you're wanting a positive result this seems the route to take.

Neil Stewart, Balfron.

Read more: Highlands and Islands need a return to joined-up thinking

Plus ça change...

YOUR articles on the modern Highland clearances reminds one of the petition sent in 1898 to the then Scottish Secretary from the inhabitants of Bunessan, Isle of Mull. The petition concerned the withdrawal of the Post Office-supported ferry service from the mainland. Apart from the disruption to the mail service it meant that the export of cattle, sheep and other farm produce had to travel 40 miles to Tobermory. The petition signed by over 200 crofters, fisherfolk and others, and preserved in the National Archive, Kew, ended by stating that "the memorialists would humbly suggest - what in reason and justice they might more than naturally expect in the last decade of the 19th century - progress and improvement instead of the proposed retrograde movement to the inconveniences experiences in primitive times".

The petition failed and the 1700 population of the district continued to decline.

Professor Ian Levitt, Chester.

The Herald: Help with mental health can be hard to findHelp with mental health can be hard to find (Image: PA)

Stigma not the only problem

I HAVE just read Wendy Halliday's article about the importance of being open about how one is really feeling, and not keeping things to oneself, and I fully agree with her sentiments ("It’s time to talk more openly about mental health", Agenda, The Herald, February 1). However, I fear that the bigger problem facing people with mental health issues is the lack of professional help available to those who desperately need it, especially within the NHS.

Speaking from some family experience, even after breaking the stigma barrier and being prepared to open up there is often nowhere to go to be properly heard and healed.

Ann McDougall, Ceres, Fife.

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Own goal by Scots MPs

I HAVE seen little coverage of the debate and vote held on January 30 at Westminster to make it mandatory that all of Scotland’s games to qualify for the Football World Cup and European Championship should be broadcast free-to-air on TV. This was proposed as an amendment to the Media Bill currently going through Parliament. It would have applied to both men’s and women’s football. At present all England’s qualifying games are by law broadcast free on the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, but to see Scotland play, a subscription is required to get past a paywall.

The proposed amendment was defeated and four Scottish Conservative MPs - Andrew Bowie, David Duguid, Alister Jack and John Lamont - voted against the proposal. Apparently they are happy to maintain the status quo whereby not only are we deprived of watching our own nation’s team like every other country in Europe, but also to continue with the added insult that when Scotland are playing, we are served up England matches on terrestrial TV.

There have even been occasions when Scotland was involved in a vital qualifier while England was playing in a friendly match – and guess what was on the screen that night? How on earth do these men justify vetoing for Scots what is actually written into law for English football fans?

Dr David White, Galashiels.