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“Stand up against the demons of discrimination,”

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Dit jaar zijn de slagingspercentages voor het voorbereidend wetenschappelijk onderwijs (vwo) gestegen, terwijl die voor het hoger algemeen vormend onderwijs (havo) een lichte daling hebben laten zien....

A radiant sun and people dressed elegantly. When the wreaths were laid at the Kwakoe statue on Saturday, July 1, there was the scene. Participating in the annual event to remember the abolition of slavery were President Chandrikapersad Santokhi, Vice President Ronnie Brunswijk, Dutch Deputy Prime Minister Wopke Hoekstra, and Aruban Deputy Prime Minister Urell Arends. This was preceded by a number of speeches and performances. Poet Sombra skillfully displayed his poetic talent to the general population. In his statement, government chief Santokhi makes it clear that it is crucial to think carefully about the impact that the various stages or manifestations of Dutch colonial control in Suriname have had on the country.

“Today it is exactly 160 years ago that the Emancipation Law of King Willem III came into effect. This law stipulated that the enslaved in Suriname were finally freed from the yoke of slavery. The abolition of slavery was in fact the first phase of the emancipation process of the enslaved. The freed had to continue working on the plantations for a unilaterally determined wage for another ten years.” Thus President Santokhi continued. The head of state noted that only after July 1, 1873, the emancipated were completely free to shape their lives. “If we move to July 1, 1873, we see in our minds the emancipated standing there. Free at last from the shackles of slavery, free to choose the shape of their lives, but still mentally battered with little self-confidence. Without education, without property or financial knowledge, without equal rights and without a guaranteed future,” said the head of state.

The head of government says that the emancipated were facing an economic recession. “Many, driven by emotions, turned their backs on the plantations, where they had to endure so much suffering. The jobs were partly filled by foreign workers from faraway India, China and later Indonesia.” According to President Santokhi, this setting has been the basis for the new Suriname. “A Suriname where different groups from different parts of the world were brought together. And were ignorant of each other from the start and suspicious of each other,” underlined the head of state.

President Santokhi emphasizes that the wounds inflicted by slavery were deeply engraved in the flesh of the ancestors, but are especially deeply engraved in the soul of the descendants. “The wounds still cry out for healing, which can only come after deep acknowledgment, heartfelt apologies and deliberate forgiveness.” The head of state believes that this healing, which should ultimately lead to real reconciliation, is disrupted by the detestable attitude to life that underlies slavery. The head of state calls the attitude to life in one word discrimination. “As long as we do not rise up against the demons of discrimination, reconciliation will remain a dream. As long as our people are still seen as unequal on the basis of their skin color, religion, sexual orientation or property. As long as we will be weighed down by the pain planted in our souls by the lashes of slavery,” the president’s message reads.




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