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Refugees - a rational and humane response to the crisis

02 Jan 2017

Refugees – a rational and humane response to the crisis – has bothered me since I first encountered groups of Syrian shoeshine boys in West Beirut at Christmas 2013. ‘Those boys should be in school,’ I thought. Soon I learned there were not enough school places. The government couldn’t cope with the numbers. Even the informal street schools run by charities were often full. At best they could offer classes only part of the day. in any case their families couldn’t afford to give the boys time off work. There’s no welfare. https://www.tes.com/us/news/breaking-views/teacher-snapshot-teaching-syrian-refugees-jordan A conference of Middle East experts was held during World Refugee Week 2016. Participants recommended a number of actions. These included giving more education in refugee camps, updating international law on refugees, and measures to reduce extremism. The conference statement is reproduced below. ‘A response to Middle East Migration: 31 December 2016: The following statement is signed by some of the participants in the conference on Migration, its Genesis and Causes hosted by Initiatives of Change and the Next Century Foundation during World Refugee Week 2016. We believe it represents a consensus view of participants: Action to support Refugees in recently established camps in the Middle East:…

How the saints help us

18 Oct 2015

John Henry Newman and hope in Christian life · Hermann Geissler, Osservatore Romano (English Version) Sept. 11, 2015. Reproduced by permission. In a discourse on Saintliness the standard of Christian Principle, Newman develops these ideas. As usual, he starts with the conscience, that instinct of the heart which tells “the difference between right and wrong, and is the standard by which to measure thoughts and actions” (Mix 83). The light of conscience is given to us to guide the soul in its journey towards heaven: “to tell us our duty on every emergency, to instruct us in detail what sin is, to judge between all things which come before us, to discriminate the precious from the vile, to hinder us from being seduced by what is pleasant and agreeable, and to dissipate the sophisms of our reason” (Mix 84). To perform this function the conscience “needs to be regulated and sustained. Left to itself, though it tells truly at first, it soon becomes wavering, ambiguous, and false; it needs good teachers and good examples to keep it up to the mark and line of duty” (Mix 83). According to Newman, the tragedy is that these necessary teachers and examples are…

Margaret Thatcher: Tribute to a Successful Revolutionary

12 Apr 2013

Margaret Thatcher: Tribute to a Successful Revolutionary

I met Margaret Thatcher as she was entering Thames Television headquarters in London during the 1979 election campaign, after which she won the first of three successive election victories. She was interested that I was holding a copy of a recently-published book about appearing on television: It’s Your Turn Next. Margaret Thatcher on the platform I’m grateful that Margaret Thatcher did come to power in the UK. She proved to be Britain’s greatest peacetime Prime Minister in modern history and a strong, though not uncritical, ally of the United States. She restored the British people’s sense of self-confidence and purpose. She reminded us that Britain had already written glorious unique pages in European, indeed world history, and had the potential to make further magnificent contributions if we would accept necessary reforms. Told once that a report with which she disagreed was based on facts, she replied: ‘Facts! I’m here to change the facts!’ That is why she was admired by so many and achieved the highest approval ratings of any leader of her Party in modern times, 62%. She took tough decisions in economic management that had been dodged for years in the name of political…

Gun Control: How to End Gun Violence

22 Mar 2013

Gun control is among the top news items and blog posts. Searches for the keyword ‘’gun control” have spiked. So have those for ‘’Obama gun control’’ and ‘’Batman Tragedy’’. There are few criminal events as stunning and frightening as a mass shooting. Sudden, random and unpredictable episodes like the killing of six men by a gunman in a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin; the early morning massacre at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theatre; and the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut. These horrific events have spawned a federal task force on gun control and kick-started a national conversation about gun violence and gun law. President Obama is even considering a “universal background check” for anyone wanting to own a gun Lawmakers began a new session of Congress with the mass shooting at Newtown inspiring a new push to pass gun control laws that could prevent another tragedy. On Day One, lawmakers in the House of Representatives introduced nearly a dozen bills related to gun violence. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-New York, a long-time gun control advocate, led on the Democratic side. She is sponsoring legislation that would require background checks for all gun sales — including at gun…

Gun Control – ‘’Right of the People’’ : The Supreme Court Debate

21 Feb 2013

The Second Amendment provides: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.’’ In this post I consider two questions related to gun control. Is the right to keep and bear arms stated in the Second Amendment to the Constitution an individual right or a collective one? And if a collective one, who is included? In D.C. v Heller in 2008, the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court debated the meaning of the phrase “right of the people” http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/07pdf/07-290.pdf. In summary the Court held: ‘’1. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home…. (a) The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms…. (b) The prefatory clause comports with the Court’s interpretation of the operative clause. The “militia” comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert…