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Dutch tourists in Suriname, Suriname Tourism

Racism in Suriname: ‘Whites robbed for their colonial past’.

Two white Dutch tourists were robbed and brutally attacked in Suriname last week. The reason why they had to endure such treatment, locals say, was because they are (far, distant) descendants of "slave owners".

Published: April 27, 2018, 2:33 pm

    Paramaribo

    The robbery took place in the vicinity of the Toemoe Bridge. “It was a terrible experience, I suddenly saw someone running towards the car with a gun in his hand, he fired a shot and then I understood that it was serious”, black driver John Tojo told De Ware Tijd .

    “I was really shocked and immediately stopped.” He also became victim of one of the many robberies on the road to Langatabiki last week.

    The robbery took place in the vicinity of the bridge, and Tojo was forced to leave together with the other passengers. The group was transported by four masked robbers to a spot where twelve other victims were gagged on the ground. “We also had to lie on the ground and especially the white tourists I transported were mistreated.”

    Tojo emphasizes that the robbers were very angry with the whites. Because, according to the robbers, they are seen as descendants of slave owners, and they had to be dealt with harshly. Tojo says that the white victims were treated very inhumanely. “They started to walk on the white victims and I found that very bad, but when I wanted to say something, they started beating me.”

    The robbers fled after their act with Tojo’s car. According to the victim, the vehicle was found totally destroyed by the police. “I can not work now, because everything is almost destroyed and that is stressful for me.”

    Through a voice message and a video on Facebook, citizens are warned to be cautious when visiting the area. District Commissioner Margretha Malonti confirmed that crime has increased in her area in recent times.

    According to her, the criminals are lurking both on land and on water. She also suspects that they are boys of the environment because they speak local dialects.

    In the meantime Minister Stuart Getrouw of Justice and Police has already been informed of the worrying situation. The patrols have been stepped up, but there is still no trace of the robbers.

    “You know that the distance between Moengo and Langatabiki is almost 100 kilometers, but one has been surveying to see if they can catch the criminals, but that has not yet succeeded”, says Malonti.

    Suriname boasts an African heritage preserved by at least 70 000 descendants of runaway African slaves.  In 1975, Suriname left the Kingdom of the Netherlands to become the independent country of Suriname. Today, one in three Surinamese live in the Netherlands.

    But the former president of Suriname, Ronald Venetiaan, had cautioned descendants of African slaves against a push for reparations from Europe, because it could be counter-productive.

    “I think we have the potential, we have the energy, the opportunity to build something for ourselves and I think that’s what we should do,” he told BBCcaribbean.com.

    “I don’t want to waste energies talking to the Europeans, to the White man, to settle something with him.”

    The currant leader, President Dési Bouterse, returned to power in 2010. From 1980 to 1987 he was Suriname’s de facto leader after conducting a military coup and establishing military rule.

    According to WikiLeaks cables released in 2011, Bouterse was active in the drug trade until 2006, and Europol has issued an arrest warrant for him.

    As Suriname’s president, he enjoys national immunity from arrest in his country. Because Bouterse was convicted of the drug offense before his election in 2010 as Head of State, he enjoys no international immunity on these charges.

     

     

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