Robert Fisk does a good job of exposing the ongoing racism in the Arab world against migrant workers of Asian origin ("Arab Spring has washed the region's appalling racism out of the news", 7 May), but he could have also drawn attention to the racism against blacks that has been directly tied to regional unrest. In Libya, militias dedicated to "purging slaves and black skin" ethnically cleansed all blacks from Tawergha near Misrata during the civil war.
Other cases of anti-black racism include Sudan, where thousands of black Christians and animists captured during Khartoum's wars of aggression (carried out as part of a campaign of Islamisation) against the populations of what is now South Sudan remain in slavery; and Iraq, which has caught up with its Gulf neighbours in the trend of bringing in forced labour from the Indian subcontinent and East Africa. In fact, in the southern port city of Basra there is a large black population descended from slaves imported over a millennium ago: some of the wealthier tribal sheikhs in the area still keep members of this community as slaves.
In Arabic it is common even today to refer to a black person as "abid", which has derogatory connotations of slavery. Clearly there is still a very long way to go before the Arab world approaches the standards of tolerance upheld in the West.
Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
Brasenose College, Oxford