Letters from an expat.
When someone refers to an occupied building as a "Squat" what is the image that springs into your mind?
Well, what ever it is, it's probably not going reflect the situation that has existed for all too short a time in the old customs building here in the center of Münster - and ended today.
Clean brightly decorated rooms, the grass cut at the rear of the building and a cultural program with talks, lectures or meetings, sometimes two or three a day. Regular meetings to decide everything democratically and inviting the neighbors for coffee. I'm guessing that this is probably not the image in your head.
In order to end the occupation of the building police reinforcements were drafted in at great expense from nearby Dortmund. Police Dogs were used to keep supporters at bay. Some of the supporters and occupiers were handled quite roughly.
Why? Is the only question that keeps going through my head. The occupiers weren't hurting anyone, indeed they were showing that with bravery, energy and a great deal of ingenuity the building, which is in federal ownership and had been empty for the last three years, could be put to good use.
The federal organisation that owns the building are now claiming that the city is intending to buy it from them and lodge Syrian refugees there. It's just that there is huge amount of documented unused real-estate capacity in Münster at the moment and the requirement just isn't there.
For me a perfect case of what Michael Heller called "The Tragedy of the Anti-Commons."