On the help drug addicts need

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“ It’s true that breaking free from heroin, alcohol or sugar requires an effort of individual will. It is equally true that it is easier to summon the strength to quit when others are on hand to help. These truths ought to be self-evident ”

Nick Cohen, ‘You don’t have to be poor to be hooked on alcohol or drugs but it helps’, The Guardian

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On how governments should deal with homelessness

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“ In light of the global scale and depth of homelessness and inadequate housing, and the roots of these problems in the failure of governments to regulate the financialisation of housing, it is no longer reasonable for governments to treat these realities as mere policy or programme failures. Homelessness and inadequate housing are violations of human rights – and demand the appropriate response (…) Strategies must transform how governments, at all levels, interact with those who are homeless and inadequately housed. Instead of viewing them as needy beneficiaries, objects of charity, or, worse, as criminals, they must instead recognise that people who are homeless also have rights – and are active citizens who should be involved in decisions affecting their lives ”

Leilani Farha, ‘Housing is a human rights issue – and 2018 must be the year to address it’, The Guardian

On the effectiveness of the political correctness argument

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“ One could then say that no one proclaims or describes himself as “politically correct”: the phrase exists first of all as an accusation. On the part of those who address the accusation, the “not politically correct” or rather the ‘political impropriety”, is instead claimed and built on very solid foundations: those of freedom of thought and expression, of opposition to censorship, of courage to go beyond all the conformism and the speeches granted by the public debate. It also assumes the existence of influential and unspecified (almost mythological) actors who try to control everything that is done and all the words that are used: and that carry with them, automatically, a kind of policeman morality. The use of the “politically correct” argument has great success and effectiveness: it immediately pushes on the defensive, puts in check any answer, disqualifies from the beginning ”

Translated from Italian.

Giulia Siviero, ‘Being ‘politically correct’ in a radical way is subversive’, Il Post

On U.S.’ unacceptable recognisement of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

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“ Of all the issues at the heart of the enduring conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, none is as sensitive as the status of Jerusalem. The holy city has been at the centre of peace-making efforts for decades. Seventy years ago, when the UN voted to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, Jerusalem was defined as a separate entity under international supervision. In the war of 1948 it was divided, like Berlin in the cold war, into western and eastern sectors under Israeli and Jordanian control respectively. Nineteen years later, in June 1967, Israel captured the eastern side, expanded the city’s boundaries and annexed it – an act that was never recognised internationally. Israel routinely describes the city, with its Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy places, as its “united and eternal” capital. For their part, the Palestinians say East Jerusalem must be the capital of a future independent Palestinian state. The unequivocal international view, accepted by all previous US administrations, is that the city’s status must be addressed in peace negotiations. Recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital puts the US out of step with the rest of the world, and legitimises Israeli settlement-building in the east – considered illegal under international law ”

The Guardian, ‘ Death toll rises to 12 in violence after Trump’s Jerusalem recognition ‘, The Guardian

On how parents should act in a meritocracy

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“ …while parents have every right to act in ways that will help their children’s lives go well, they do not have the right to confer on them a competitive advantage – in other words, to ensure not just that they do well but that they do better than others. This is because, in a society with finite rewards, improving the situation of one child necessarily worsens that of another ”

Richard Reeves, ‘How the middle class hoards wealth and opportunity for itself’, The Guardian

On May’s unstable leadership

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“ While May has survived the immediate threat to her premiership in the wake of the disastrous election result, Whitehall insiders and some ministers believe she is entering a crucial period between now and the autumn in which she will have to show some willingness to modify her Brexit plans. An Opinium poll for the Observer found that most voters (57%) believe May should resign before the next general election or earlier. Her net approval ratings remain dire, with 51% disapproving of the way she is handling her job and only 30% approving. Overall, Labour has a lead of two points over the Tories ”

Michael Savage & Jamie Doward, ‘Brexit: former civil service head warns Theresa May of chaos’, The Guardian

On how Iraqi forces’ abuses resulted in alienated individuals and potential ISIS’ victims

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“ While maintaining security and rebuilding the city is vital for enticing people to return, the behaviour of the Iraqi security forces – which include Shia soldiers – towards the mainly Sunni residents will be one of the ways in which Baghdad’s efforts will be measured in Mosul. Many are quick to point out that the reason, in the summer of 2014, for Isis’s success in the city – an insurgent flashpoint since 2003 – was the abuses of the Iraqi security forces, which led to alienation. Since 2003, Iraqi forces have carried out abuses against the civilian population with complete impunity, mainly targeting Sunni Arabs […] They have carried out campaigns of arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, torture and extrajudicial killings. These have all been key push factors for young Sunni Arab men to join Isis ”

Fazel Hawramy, ‘Mosul’s residents tell of hopes and fears after ISIS flees Iraqi city’, The Guardian