Identity politics: Afro-Caribbean, Dutch Caribbean or an Economic Hybrid version?

-Chrome Bumper Art Hustle by Yubi Kirindongo

There’s a legion of folks out here macking the pretension they rep Curacao from the cradle to the catholic santana. The glass castle crowds, living their lives within this cocooned identity over-emphasizing that Afro-Curacaoans willfully should erase their African ancestry for a surrogate post colonial euro-caribbean culture label.

Two weeks ago I attended the last day of a 3 day conference titled: Collective Identity as the Foundation for Durable and Sustainable development.
For Curacao this was the first big international conference ever and salutations should go to one of the main promoters Jeanne Henriquez director of Museo Tula and her team for the effort to raise some awareness on identity politics. Of course for the glass castle cattle minded this causes irritation it threatens their status and comfort zone. You just don’t speak about negritude, blackness what its like to live life in a semi-Dutch colony being part of an 85% Afro-Curacaoan society. You don’t question if the Afro descendants have enough economic and financial power. You don’t ask for research on these issues. The memo is very clear. Shut up and don’t stir up emotions of the non-melanin powerful because they are the ones that feed you.
Grupo Trinchera should make a Tambu song about this. Top charts.

On the closing day of the conference the first speaker on deck was Richenel Ansano a healer and anthropologist from Curacao. As he made us sit in a circle he explained: “The stories of 7 generations ago we carry them in our soul, knowledge its a psychic transmission.” That’s some profound ancestral wisdom.
Questions were raised if post colonialism isn’t an issue anymore and the Trini keynote speaker Khafra Kambon of the Emancipation Support Committee said: “the fight for reparations is mandatory.” Friday evening I missed his speech but thank Goddess to the organizers they documented all the presentations on video and cd and I captured the complete essence when he stated that: “Generally cultural subordination breeds feelings of inferiority and inadequacy which undercut the self-confidence needed to develop take charge attitudes.”

The recently awarded Cultural anthropologist Rose Mary Allen explained that we should address #zwartepiet (the blackface coonmatic help of Sinterklaas) to decolonize minds. In the past Richenel Ansano advised the government to eleminate #zwartepiet. In vain though. We are not yet in resistance mode.
As we failed to do so this year even if when Quinsy Gario and Kno’Ledge Ceasar unexpected cultural mash up crew blowing up the #zwartepietisracisme spot in Dordrecht, the Netherlands sparked us in the Dutch Caribbean. Maybe next year during the 150 years of celebration of the abilition of Dutch slavery.

Adriaan Moen a sociologist and labor justice expert said: 20 years of Dutch colonialism will be finito. 5 billion florins of debt sanitation is a sort of reparation? I’m not sure what he actually meant by 20 years but Jeanne Henriquez answered: “We have political parties but no leadership. Dutch debt relief of 5 billion is not reparations.” and we need economical leadership to bust down the financial damage of slavery colonialism. Total sum it and unleash it (on the Dutch government).

Halfway you could say the conference was ok. Was missing the younger generation though. The promo wasn’t really aimed at all towards the young bloods which made eyebrows raise up. One speaker said: “Its always the same faces during this conferences debates etc. So we still stuck.” But everybody been spitting valuable arguments until lunchtime.

The Suriname economist/historian Sandew Hira from Holland broke down the Dutch Eurocentric slavery documentary that had a lot of Afro-Dutch folks vexed. He riding that Decolonize the Mind wave. Creating a systematic criticism model to challenge leading Dutch universities with their remixed history writings. That’s how you smash it and force them to respect our ancestors Trans Atlantic experience.

Hira also briefly touched reparations, calculations for land, trauma, labor etc for Suriname and that this was calculated by Armand Zunder (who also supposed to but ?) at €50 billion. Some say Zunder can’t substantiate the figures but I would need to see other research from other countries on this reparation hustle to compare and make my preliminary conclusions which could solidly push Curacao in an emancipatory B-Boy/Girl stance against the Netherlands. Its not so much about the financial compensation as many would think)

Richinel Ansano: “let’s stop talking and move something” He put chairs for his ancestors but they told him they will stand. Side note he speaks standing on his bare feet.

Another anthropologist Su Girigori spoke about: “Detach ourselves from fear that we can’t survive without the Dutch.” She pleaded for models to acquire a new sustainable collective identity: Restructure education, teachers, governmental/political mind set and media.

Sociologist/teacher Frank Quirindingo said we need to force a curriculum. Politicians need to feel the pressure and make laws. That’s cool with me but first we need more university, all kinds of students to attend these types of verbal interchangements.

Ex minister of education and linguista Martha Dijkhof took shots at the government. Independence ain’t giving a paper to the queen. (Pueblo Soberano party led by Helmin Wiels)She wants to see the government walk their talk. True spit she gave the whole coalition a classy ‘hala di sota’ (ass whooping).

Frederick Claret a social/educative justice advocate also rightfully hanged all the politicians, ministers who didn’t have the decency to come brainstorm on mental decolonization and all the other issues to form a collective identity.

Yomini Godfried a young teacher said Tula is already in her. The youth needs to be reached via art music etc. She fierce and let the public know during her stay at the university of Leiden they tried to cut her off on her negritude. She burst her heart out and during the closing minutes she was the only one slyly addressing her final words to the minister of education Lionel Jansen persuading him to walk that gangsta independent emancipated decolonized walk that PS infinitely yaps about.

Prominent senior citizen Henry Veeris asked why this conference co sponsored by Unesco. Why we ain’t using UNESCO to its fullest. He has a hyper valid point there too. We done dozing off. Time to take advantage of all these institutions. Catwalk intellectualisms should be carried by six.

Pim Senior our second man in the Hague repping MAN. Asked why #Curacao not independent yet. What’s wrong with us? He wants a political force. Decolonize minds. I overstand his clamor but him sitting on a decision making sub-ministerial chair makes it less credible.

Martha Dijkhof mentioned that in 2013 there will be a book about our history to be used in schools. Not sure how and who but Dijkhof seemed decisive to inject our youth with critical mind curriculums and Jeanne Henriquez hustling an appointment for the decolonization of the mind platform with the minister of education makes it something to look out for in the nearby school future. We need students that can think act outside of the traditional European educational chicken coup. That will require a total educational reform. An uphill battle but we been through that part time drama at Ser’i Neger right?

I left the conference with mixed feelings. Satisfied seeing people understand the importance of culturally welding a Caribbean Curacao identity with all the historical active side struggles. But still slightly disappointed to re-confirm the bitterness that only 5% of the attendees were below 30/40 years.

Check with http://www.kasdikultura.an or http://www.museotula.com for all documented presentations of
– Khafra Kambom
– Richard Goodridge
– Alex van Stipriaan
– Sandew Hira
– Natasha van der Dijs
– Rose Mary Allen
– Martha Dijkhoff
– Frank Quirindongo
– Su Girigori
– Richinel Ansano
– Yomini Godfried
– Jeanette Juliet Pablo
– Erwin Raphaela
– Aisha Henriquez

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