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The week that was: the people behind the headlines are the real stories ǀ View

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Opinions expressed in View articles are solely those of the authors.
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Welcome to our weekly round-up of the latest View opinion articles. Amongst the hot topics that have had you talking this week are the return of identity politics in Northern Ireland and the exposing of human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia. Presenting all points of view, we aim to give you a flavour of the opinions that have driven debate across Europe and beyond over the last seven days.

Behind every major news headline, there are real people who are affected. They are often a forgotten part of the news cycle - and yet, people are the story more often than not. Looking into an individual experience of people on the ground helps us better understand what is at stake for a whole community.

Take for instance Brexit and the impact it is about to have on the 66 million people living in the UK, not to mention the millions across the European continent and beyond. Amongst all the facts and figures, there are real people whose life experience is waiting to be shared. Individual stories can prove to be more compelling and convincing than statistics.

Many of this week’s View articles share personal experiences that take us behind the headlines to delve into real lives and communities. Perhaps one of the most relatable ones is Emma DeSouza’s struggle for recognition of her identity.

Emma has written for View before about identity politics in her native Northern Ireland. In her latest contribution, we see the impact a chaotic Brexit is having on her rights as protected under the vaunted Good Friday Agreement. The historic bilateral treaty, signed in 1998, brought peace and stability to the region after nearly three decades of violence. It also gave protections for the people of Northern Ireland, including being able to choose their citizenship. At this crucial moment in history, Emma – and many others like her in the North – are being denied these rights as the Good Friday Agreement is increasingly eroded by pro-Brexit politicians.

Northern Ireland is proving to be the Achilles’ heel of the Brexit process, but is there an alternative? Contributors Adrian Severin and Radu Golban put forward a different plan to prevent a hard border in Ireland, averting the collapse of the Good Friday Agreement and plunging of the region into more years of armed conflict. But is the solution something that is likely to gain traction in Dublin, London and Brussels?

Written with her identity obscured, author TKI exposes the fault line of a story that is being kept from the glare of the world’s media: the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia. In a poignant piece, she writes in support of an Amnesty International campaign to give voice to the voiceless; her friend Eman Al Nafjan, one of several women’s rights activists wrongfully detained and tortured in Saudi prisons.

In a similar vein, the tragic death of American citizen Otto Warmbier in a North Korea prison camp almost two years ago put the human rights abuses of the reclusive communist state firmly in the spotlight. From this individual story, the world’s eyes were opened to the many faceless victims of the pariah nation. Contributor Louis Charbonneau from Human Rights Watch argued this week that the EU has a moral responsibility to press the United Nations to tackle North Korea on these abuses.

The op-ed this week by Spanish prosecutors Cristina Dexeus and Carlos Bautista have put into perspective a volatile moment in Spain’s history as the leaders of the Catalan independence movement go on trial in Madrid. In recent weeks, we have published two different pieces on the same subject, which have helped demonstrate just how passionate the debate surrounding this is. While many see the trial as a kangaroo court designed to condemn Catalonia’s separatists, the authors of this week’s piece attempted to show that under a judicial system in a democracy like Spain, everyone is guaranteed a fair trial.

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