Mark Rutte Apologizes for Netherlands’ Role in Slave Trade

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Mr. Mendes said he believed that the government’s apology was not sincere, and that many people in the Netherlands still did not take the issues of slavery and racism seriously.

On Sunday, the day before the apology, a group of descendants of enslaved people stood in frigid temperatures in front of the Royal Palace in the center of Amsterdam to protest the apology and the way the government had handled it.

Many said they felt the apology had been forced upon them.

“We came here to make noise against an apology that’s being rammed down our throats,” said Reggie Hoogvliets, who, with Mr. Mendes, was among those at the protest.

He said he would not accept Mr. Rutte’s apology, partly because the government did not speak to the right stakeholders and descendants of enslaved people.

More communication and a meaningful date would have made the apology more palatable, many people said.

“We want to tell our own history to our children from our own vantage point,” said Regilio Bruinhart, who was also at the protest in Amsterdam on Sunday.

“The pain isn’t that long ago,” Mr. Bruinhart added. “My father’s grandfather lived through it.”

Franc Weerwind, the Dutch minister of legal protection, who is the only member of the Dutch cabinet of Surinamese descent and is a descendant of enslaved people, was in Suriname on Monday on behalf of the government.

“Accepting the apology, as expressed by the prime minister, is up to each person himself,” Mr. Weerwind said. “Now we have to start building — together.”

Ank Kuipers contributed reporting from Paramaribo, Suriname.

Sumber: www.nytimes.com

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