Friday, 4 July 2008

Gaderummet - determined to continue

For quite a while I've intended to write an update on Gaderummet. I had to delay it, time and again. After weeks of waiting, the painters eventually, and rather unexpectedly..., showed up to paint my flat. Great! Finally my dim den - undressed pinewood everywhere: walls, ceiling, floor, and I'm still a quite heavy smoker... - would get lightened up somewhat. And, indeed, it got! But, of course, that meant a two-week stay at one of the guest rooms, that luckily are available here at the farm, right next to my flat. It meant the challenge of having to stay a three-steps walk away from the surroundings I'm used to stay in. I'm not good at that. Especially if I have to sleep in surroundings, I'm not used to sleep in.

Well, and then, actually during my stay at the guest room exile, I had this absolutely breathtaking experience - how to put it? - not just a step in the right direction, more like a leap, a breakthrough, something, that seized all my attention - and still seizes a great deal of it.

Nevertheless, here a quick update on Gaderummet's situation:

Gaderummet's right to use the localities Rådmandsgade 60 at Copenhagen came on last month, and June, 20th the court's ruling was announced: Gaderummet will have to leave the localities, that are transferred to two community mental health organizations, working closely together with several psychiatric institutions. Sad, but not unsuspected: no one has ever won a case against the local authorities at Copenhagen in the latter's entire history. This would have been the first time.

"Is it really possible, that an important part of all initiatives for homeless people at Copenhagen is thrown away in such a way? That from the mainstream and from what there is plenty available of diverting initiatives aren't wanted? That there is no room for initiatives that choose a different approach?" asks Preben Brandt, psychiatrist and spokesman of Gaderummet's board, in an article in the Danish socialist newspaper Arbejderen.

That this is very possible, the example of Soteria has shown, way back in the 70ies. That was the U.S., yes, and Gaderummet is Denmark. But psychiatry, and the politics of discrimination it serves, are international evils.

Gaderummet hasn't yet decided whether to appeal the decision, or not. Meanwhile they're looking for other localities to continue at least their counselling activities at, but hopefully also to be able to offer a place to stay for the homeless among the users at.

Update, July 4th, 10 am: Gaderummet decided to appeal the removal order.

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