27 July 2012

Curacao to seek apology and reparation from Dutch slavery


WILLEMSTAD — With the commemoration of 150 years abolition of slavery next year, Curaçao will demand an apology and recovery money for the evils of slavery. Minister Carlos Monk of Administration, Planning and Service, and currently interim Minister of Culture (PS) said this...during the unveiling of the commemoration stone for 29 slaves who had to pay for their liberation fight in 1795 with their life.The pain caused by the colonial past hasn’t been acknowledged for ages, according to Monk. In the picture, Monk and the Young Watch unveil the commemoration stone for the 29 slaves who died during the slave rebellion in 1795.

The ceremony was held on the Queen’s Birthday for a mere handful of invitees at the National Archives. In his speech, Monk emphasized the self-sacrificing ability of these 29 slaves who influenced the course of the Curaçao history. “They were the forerunners, showing us how to fight for our freedom now. Their execution is the reflection of the colonial cruelty to rule over our people; through the years, this colonial oppression adopted other forms but the aim of the colonial power is unchanged: namely to rule over our people. However, their execution made them immortal, martyrs and heroes, and simultaneously their executioners are condemned for all eternity.”

According to Monk, if we don’t commemorate the sacrifice of these heroes, there’ll be no rousing or motivating the fighting spirit amid the people to fight against this injustice or whatever form of exploitation. “That’s why this tribute and recognition are necessary; there’re instruments to build a real foundation for our people; the basis of our fatherland. How can we say we’re a nation if we don’t recognize our own heroes? The deeds of these men, under inhumane circumstances, with empty hands, practically unarmed, must always serve as inspiration – to believe in our ability, strength, and capacity to battle, and destination.”

According to the Minister, the island has been fighting for its freedom for 217 years and is prepared to engage battle with more intensity. “Just like many of our forefathers, many of us present here and the next generations are prepared to give their life for our freedom. 217 years ago, we (Curaçao citizens) were born at the moment of self-sacrifice of the heroes we honor today.”

The Minister also elaborated on the present-day powers that should be eliminated. “Nowadays, we mustn’t only fight against the colonial power but also develop the critical awareness so we can combat bad habits and egoism that enslave us. Nowadays, we have to fight against the individualism that divides us and weakens the power of unity and the society, the system that enhances consumerism instead of a sense of public responsibility.” The same supposedly applies for the media that bends the truth to one’s will and supports the neocolonial system and other forms of human exploitation. According to the Minister, the battle is therefore a battle for an independent and sovereign people.