Issues are like Tissues

The common court of the Dutch Caribbean took a historical decision this week. It agreed that banning same-sex marriage is against our constitution, in Curacao and Aruba. Of course, the governments have the right to appeal, which would take a few more years, but so far it has been quiet.

Three judges presided over the case, entered by a same-sex couple in Curacao and a same-sex couple in Aruba. It was handled by a brilliant lawyer from Curacao who did a fantastic job, paving the way to the enlightened decision.

One of the judges took his time, and explained the reason for the verdict at length, also an unusual gesture.

The issue of same-sex marriage has been in the pipeline here for a long time, approved by parliament but never enacted for fear of political repercussions.

Finally, the courts decided, and hopefully, the issue is laid to rest!

That day, as we were celebrating the Civil Rights victory, December 6th, at 8:22am, we were surprised by an absurdity at 9:02am: A demonstration of the Indigenous Group, stole the thunder. It is a handful of self-style native Caiquetio tribe members, hair braided, and the chief beating a drum under a feathery headband.

The group visited the Dutch representation on the island and demanded that the Netherlands, as the colonizer, return all land, and gold extracted from the island during colonial times. They had a number of other requests, mostly directed against recent immigrants to the island.

The demonstrators took the issue seriously. They signed a petition with their traditional tribal names, Casique Chief, War Chief, Clan Mother, Warrior, and Medicine Man and as they pleaded their case with the Dutch representation —  they report they were treated respectfully, and were asked lots of questions.

I found is difficult not to laugh.

The Dutch should demand restitution from us for all the resources they sunk into Aruba in recent decades, if that’s all we can come up with. Feathers, and a drum.

These people see too many Hollywood movies, they should get a life, and get a job.

It is true that on December 19th, the Dutch government will officially apologize for its role in colonial-era slavery. A number of Dutch ministers will be dispatched to all former colonies to carry the message. They will also spend 200 million euros on a fund promoting awareness about the colonial power’s role in slavery and 27 million euros to open a slavery museum. The modern, liberal Dutch are preoccupied with the wreckage of the past, yet in Aruba, the issue is moot. While there were slaves living here, somehow public consciousness doesn’t consider that historical fact a problem.

Slavery here was minimal, we had no agriculture and thus the exploitation didn’t reach grand scale.

Incidentally, the apology might be postponed, at the request of Surinam that wants more time to prepare festivities and would like to see the apology coincide with the commemoration of the abolition of slavery, in the spring next year.

Meanwhile the LGBTQ issue is heating up. We saw a parents’ demonstrating against what-they-call gender indoctrination, just this week.

It all started with  the play E Cashi Magico. Elementary school kids went to see this some months ago. The play is about a boy with two moms who wants to wear a dress. Message of play: Be yourself. Last week another elementary school went to see Disney’s movie Strange World. In the movie two boys like each other and hug. Both elementary schools are DPS, Public schools, and fall directly under the Minister of Education, Endy Croes. In both cases parents were not informed about the content of the movie or play. Parents who protested in both cases are Christians. The group that called the press conference belongs to the Iglesia Hesus Biña Nobo, close to Certified Mall.

Recently, the principal of Scol Basico Washington had an urgent meeting with the minister. It is the school that went to see Disney’s Strange World. We understand that the minister asked the Department of Education to revise all school content for LGBTQ++ content.

I agree that when it comes to ‘enrichment’ parents have to be consulted what’s in store for their kids, and they can then withhold their kids from participation.

Also, parents might not have been aware of Disney’s new policy of inclusion: At Disney, inclusion is for everyone. We reimagine tomorrow as our way of amplifying underrepresented voices and untold stories as well as championing the importance of accurate representation in media and entertainment.

The new Disney movies make room for more than traditional values.

Member of parliament Miguel Mansur is the only one who has reacted till now.

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December 08, 2022
Rona Coster