A couple of days ago, I wrote a post lamenting the closure of Ungdomshuset in Copenhagen. Since then, the city has seen rioting on a scale unprecedented for over a decade, with property damage in the millions, but thankfully no serious injuries (as far as I have been able to ascertain). I am not in Copenhagen, but talking to people there and following the news stories paints the picture of a situation gone seriously awry.
I am still saddened by the closure of Ungdomshuset, and of learning that the owners, the unsavoury religious sect Faderhuset, have now decided to demolish it. An erasure of symbolic proportion. However, I am equally saddened to learn that sympathisers of Ungdomshuset last night broke into the library of my old high school in my neighbourhood of Christianshavn and practically razed it, throwing a large number of its books into the street where they burned them along with other material at hand. A senseless act of equally symbolic proportion. Are these so-called anti-fascists so blinded by their own sense of victimisation, or whatever it is that motivated this, that they are completely blind to the precedent they are following here?
Of course, the violent acts of a few idiots do not detract from the legitimacy of the general protests against the closure of Ungdomshuset, but it nevertheless hurts their legitimacy seriously. The events of the last couple of days prompt two interrelated questions: What the fuck were these people thinking? And How the fuck did we get to a stage where people think whatever it was they were thinking?
Photo of the windows of the library at Christianshavns gymnasium being boarded up earlier today, from politiken.dk. Check out Berlingske‘s slideshow of the events of the day of the closure here. See video recordings of the vandalisation of the school building here. The school has set up a support fund – read more here.