Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Bahamas squatters hold firm against the government

Squatters in the Bahamas, who have occupied government-owned land for several decades, are fighting to keep their homes, The Bahama Journal reports.

3 comments:

Heath said...

Robert, do you have any thoughts on this development in NYC?

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/18/nyregion/18homeless.html

While the segment of the homeless population in NY that this initiative is aimed at is not even remotely close to being an organized squatter community, it's interesting to note the parallels in the sense that the government is trying to wipe out communities of people.

Despite the good intentions--and good policy in my view--of moving folks into supportive housing, it also seems to derive from an impulse to eradicate any and all unpleasantries from the eyeshot of the average Manhattanite these days (i.e., the wealthy and the upper middle class). That, to me, seems similar to the impulse that fuels all the reproach that is rained down on squatters in the global south. Or am I wrong about that?

rn said...

Good point, Heath. It struck me when reading the article, too. While the Mayor may suggest that city workers will operate "humanely, respectfully and firmly," there's something awful about a policy that amounts to forcibly removing people from the communities where they have chosen to live. As with squatters across the developing world, the issue here is to work with people to develop a plan they can agree to.

These homeless people are, indeed, people, and they have found a home where they feel comfortable. Can their eviction ever be respectful? Working with them to get them the help they need is different than simply uprooting them from their chosen environment.

heath said...

Well said. Though I guess a few folks don't see much wrong with it:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/20/nyregion/20homeless.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

If the folks in the encampments support the program, that's great. But I think you're right when you say that governments should at least consult with the people they're presumably trying to help before deciding on a particular course of action.