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Reisverslag ENUSP Empowerment seminar Zagreb, day 1
19 oktober 2012
ENUSP Empowerment seminar Zagreb, day 1
It was a long travel, leaving home before 5 AM (I didn’t even go to bed last night, because I’m a late-night-worker and I was afraid to sleep through my alarm, so I took some extra rest in the nights before, and I was perfectly on time today).
At Schiphol Airport I had an extended security check again, They fully grabbed me at my tits and between my legs, I had tears in my eyes. Why am I treated like a criminal?? They even checked my hair (my Mohawk) with their metal-detection-stick.. And when the stick made a sound at my bra, they touched again.. I felt so degraded and angry. I hated travelling again, and I was afraid to be checked again during the flight-transfer at Frankfurt.. I felt like I wouldn’t be able to handle that. I was really quite upset and I noticed that my emotions were very strong, so I blamed my fatigue, and then I bought myself a nice shower-cream, to get rid of the dirty feeling of being touched so disgracefully. (it’s a horrible flash back to the forced body cavity searches, which I also didn’t ask for… “safety-reasons” bleh… sometimes I dream to become a diplomat who has immunity for those checks… what would it take to get such a status??)
Luckily I was able to forget this nasty part quite soon, because I got excellent service in the airplane (they ran out of cakes, and gave me a fruit salad instead, and then showed up with cake after all, and the stewardess was very nice, she loved my hair and we had a nice chat).
Around 14.00 I arrived at Zagreb Airport, and I immediately walked into some other ENUSP-members (Maths and Stephan) who I know from other meetings (ENUSP event in Brussels 2011, and WNUSP Global Assembly in Kampala, Uganda in 2009). Then the last part of the travel (by shuttlebus) was really nice. It was great to catch up with everyone.
After a stroll of unplanned sightseeing we arrived at the Arcotel Hotel, where the ENUSP-meeting was about to start off. We were the last ones to arrive, and then the meeting started with a Welcome from Eric Olsen and Gabriella Tanasan.
Eric gave us a clear outline of the goals of this weekend-seminar: this Empowerment seminar is meant to develop a strong identity and groundrules for ENUSP as a European umbrella organization, so we can support, serve and empower our national member-organizations. During this weekend we will discuss and brainstorm on how we can empower ENUSP. A 6-month project has resulted in a document called: ENUSP Strategic Plan 2012-2015, which contains a list of topics, questions and goals and this is the bottom line for the Empowerment seminar. ENUSP is building on a strategic attitude, and that is why a group of members was selected to gather in Zagreb and discuss possibilities, options and so on.
Then came a word from the hosting organization: SHINE Croatia who told us a bit more on the Croatian situation. SHINE advocates for full human rights and inclusion for persons with psychosocial/mental disabilities. In Croatia there are 17.000 people living under full guardianship (out of 4 million citizens). All these persons are automatically excluded from the right to vote, and note that 14.000 votes are needed to have one member of parliament in Croatia.
On top of that, there was a scandal at the Croatian elections a few years ago, when it turned out that dead people had voted, because the ballots were just delivered without adequate checking. This weren’t thousands of votes, but still it created a big fuzz in Croatia.
Now, the Croatian government has decided to take an “individualized approach” when it comes to voting for persons with disabilities under guardianship: they all need to be assessed whether they are capable of voting, but this is impossible and very discriminatory (would everyone need to do a test before voting?? What kind of a system would that bring us, if some voters are found “incapable of sane voting” ?)
Next to this topic, SHINE has also supported the filing of several complaints at the European Court on Human Rights (mainly on psychiatric interventions at occasions where just some social problems existed). They have already won 4 of these cases.
Then Maria Nyman, the new director of Mental Health Europe (MHE, www.mhe-sme.org ) introduced herself and talked about How can ENUSP and MHE work together in the future-ideas? This lead to a lively discussion on empowerment, independency, collaboration on topics, funding and so on. Maria Nyman really seems to be a true ally for ENUSP and said that she also thinks ENUSP is of vital importance for Mental health Europe. We shared a lot of thoughts (pro’s and cons) on possible collaboration between ENUSP and MHE (close relation or more distant). This discussion wasn’t over yet.
Mental Health Europe has a lot of practical support to offer to ENUSP, but many of us also agreed that we also need to build ENUSP into a full partner with an own identity. So these are the things we are discussing here in Zagreb at the Strategic Empowerment seminar of ENUSP. Tomorrow we will continue with these discussion on how to make ENUSP grow.
It was about 7 pm when the Board meeting of ENUSP started. I didn’t have to be present, because it was just for the Board-members of ENUSP.
I then had a bit of food, went to my room, but decided that it was too early to go to bed. So I went down for a smoke, and sat there chatting for 2 more hours. Then I went up to my very pleasant room and wrote this blog. Now there is just a little bit of time left for a quick bath and then off to bed (early isn’t the right word for going to bed at midnight..).
Personally I really want to be in my strength tomorrow, because today I sometimes felt that my emotions took over the reasoning, like when I was thinking about collaboration on the legal/bureaucratic stuff (EU, UN, NGO’s and so on) I started feeling a bit fed up.
It’s not that ENUSP is now diving into bureaucracy, not at all, but it’s mainly my own anti-bureaucracy-complex, which was bugging me. Somehow my agitated feelings are also in a way linked to my personal pain of not finding Dutch lawyers on my side, and being exposed to doing it on my own, almost drowning in the complexity of legal issues.. (how fake are our rights in one of the richest country in the world?).. Laws and conventions are just paperwork about how it SHOULD be, but it’s the practice that matters.. Sometimes I doubt if I should spend my energy to UN-things and legal things at all, because it’s top-down and far away from reality (and without lawyers it is nothing, because it’s such a special language.. why do that to our world??), most nurses don’t read these things, and they don’t understand what the UN-conventions mean to their practices (so what’s the use then.. there is a huge risk the psychiatric interventions will be renamed again to move away from the laws.. isn’t that how solitary confinement became “seclusion”.. ) : the caregivers are in need of practical advice on alternatives, so they can change their practices for real. I feel my strength is in that area. I’m better at discussion with psychiatrists and nurses, and make them see how it works.. Lawyering is draining me, I don’t like discussions about words in a “objective” and unfeeling way, It makes me feel lost in life. I want to value feelings, and the legal field isn’t the place to do that.. Sometimes I’m wondering if I’m wasting my energy at high level meetings, and if I’m taken over by bureaucracy. Sometimes I think that the CRPD isn’t so good, because now we need lawyers to explain it (and we don’t have enough lawyers then..). And I just prefer human language that is understandable. So I’m struggling in my mind with all of these issues. I’m really trying to separate these personal doubts on strategies from the issues at the Empowerment seminar, because I know it’s my broken heart that is talking.. (it was a heavy day with the checks at the airport, and the long travel, and the ignorance of Dutch lawyers just hurts and is demotivating) But it isn’t all bad.. I do believe in ENUSP, good people are in it, and maybe even the UN-conventions aren’t so bad..
My own doubts on my own strategy are making this seminar extra complicated. But one thing is for sure, feeling tired doesn’t benefit the situation, so I’m going to have my bath and go to bed. (no more philosophy for now)
20 oktober 2012 17:32 | Door: Tonu
Sane voting, great idea :)