alcoholics in Amsterdam
This article focuses on a government funded program which aims at luring alcoholics in Amsterdam off the streets by paying them in the form of beer, a half packet of rolling tobacco, free lunch and 10 euros a day so that they can pick up trash. Even though many people are against this program, it has proved to be successful in reducing the number of alcoholics in the parks since its implementation. This program was started by Rainbow Foundation, and it helps the homeless, drug addicts and alcoholics to get back on their feet. Adrian’s interpretation of the article is well-intended, but not valid. She disregards that the workers are drinking less, developing a positive self-image and improving the community, which accepts them as contributing members.
The main idea in the article is that with the implementation of the program, the workers seem to be drinking less. From the article, one of the members of Mr. Schiphorst’s team says that he used to take more than a bottle of whiskey or rum every day but with the program, he now sticks to beer which he consumes the five cans offered at work during the day and then another five or so in his free time (Higgins, 3). To add on to this, Mr. Smits refutes that the program has greatly assisted him to cut his intake of alcohol and also in the raising of his self-esteem.
The other idea that is depicted in the article is that workers are happier because of the program. This is evident where Mr. Schiphorst says, “I’m not proud of being an alcoholic, but I am proud to have a job again.” He is grateful for the opportunity of being part of the program and having not had a job for more than a decade due to the back injury and the chronic alcoholism, he is happy for finally landing a job, and he is very determined to keep it. The other quote which supports the idea that the workers are happier again is, “It keeps me away from trouble, and I’m doing something useful,” “I help myself, and I help my community.” These are words said by Mr. Smits who is an immigrant from the former Dutch colony of Suriname. He adds that the program has assisted him in cutting down his daily intake of alcohol and also in raising his self-esteem (Higgins, 3)
The third idea in the article is that the workers are offering great help to the community and their efforts are appreciated. Mr. Smits, one of the alcoholic team members, refutes, “I help myself, and I help my community.” This shows that he is proud of the help that he is offering to the community. Their efforts are being appreciated because the locals in the Eastern District which is heavily flocked by the immigrants and who used to curse the alcoholics for using Oosterpark which is the main park in the area as an outdoor bar now great the alcoholics with smiles when they meet them doing their cleaning rounds (Higgins, 4).
This reveals that the community appreciates the efforts of the alcoholics of cleaning the community rather than sitting down and using it as an outdoor bar which makes the park appear unruly. In contrast to Adrian’s idea who thinks that this program is just preying on people’s addictions than it does on helping them, the cleaning program has proved to be more successful and helped than other government initiatives that had been implemented before this in that it has reduced the number of dozens of people who used to gather at the park to take alcohol to just three people. To add on to this, the people involved in the team, for instance, Mr. Smits explains how the program has assisted him in reducing his alcohol intake, and this is in contrast with Adrian’s idea who feel that the plan does not seem to be involving the alcoholics in the team to be drinking less beer.
One of the individuals who justify my thinking on how important the program is in solving the problem among alcoholics is Ms. Elatik, the district mayor. She refutes that, “This is not a beer project — it is a cleaning project.” This quote assists in supporting the argument that challenges Adrian’s thinking in that it stipulates that the project is not all about beer, but it entails offering the alcoholics a cleaning job to lure them off the streets. In addition to this, she also says, “It is easy to say, ‘Get rid of them and punish them, but that does not solve the problem.” (Higgins). In this, as a supporter of the program, Ms. Elatik disapproves of alcohol but she feels that it is telling people to quit alcohol is easy to say, and also it’s easy to act by punishing them, but this does not solve the problem. She thus feels that the program offers the alcoholics something to do in the form of the cleaning job and helps them by restricting their drinking to a limited number of beer bottles in a day with no hard alcohol such as whiskey or rum. This thus challenges Adrian’s thinking about the program.
Higgins Andrew. “Amsterdam Has a Deal for Alcoholics: Work Paid in Beer.” The New York Times, 4th Dec 2013.
review where you are including the in-text citations/parenthetical references, because they do not always appear at the end of the sentence which includes the textual evidence.