The Dutch and their Hypocritical May 5

Posted by By at 25 October, at 08 : 52 AM Print

The Dutch and their Hypocritical May 5
hendrik verwoerd

hendrik verwoerd

The Dutch and their Hypocritical May 5

(I republish this piece which I wrote many years back because the Dutch, with absolutely no sense of any history that does not celebrate them, are feverishly busy with moves to retain one of the most powerful symbols of slavery, Zwart Piet, whereby a Black man keep serving as Servant of a generous White guy.

They say it is Tradition.

It is not the pains of slavery that is gnashing, but the total insensitivity of the children and grand-children of those that inflicted such horrendous anguish on a people.)

What then did you expect when you unbound the gag that muted those black mouths? That they would chant your praises? Did you think that when those heads that our fathers had forcibly bowed down to the ground were raised again, you would find adoration in their eyes?” – Jean-Paul Satre.

I don’t know how Satre answered his important question, but no children or grandchildren of colonisers, enslavers, continent-stealers, racist-exterminators, who attempt to hug any moral ground, should expect anything but denunciation from my mouth.

May 5, Holland is in a somber mood. A public holiday is declared and people wore the look of dejection. That was until a few years ago, when some enterprising souls decided to make a market-day of it. Then things were tremendously transformed. Flags flew at half-mast. Church bells chimed. Preachers preach while politicians politicized. Television stations revisit the past, showing footage of the 40s. The papers are full of the stories. The Monarch must adorn herself in stolen garb and make solemn speech. What’s going on?

The Dutch are remembering their conquest by Germany in the 40s, and honoring their war dead.

Nazi Germany war machines rammed through Holland in May 1941. Making a mincemeat of the Dutch army, they conquered the country in less than a week. The Dutch Royal family ran to England, as did many of European Royal and Political leaders (and there they were kept by the loots from their colonies, mostly in Africa.) They were not to return until allied troops (comprising many Africans) came to their rescue on May 5, 1945.

Those who know their history will remember that Holland was on the verge of famine before the rescue came. That is why we continue to wonder whether parent have stopped discussing with their children in this country, or how explain some Dutch youth saluting Hitler?

Living witnesses still vibrate with anger when they remember the deprivations and the humiliations they suffered at the hands of their German brethren.

The genesis of the palpable Dutch hostility to Germans (manifested in football competition), had its roots in that incident. European Union or no European Union, most Dutch people still carry the grudge from that humiliation.

An incident a few years ago vividly illustrate the bitterness Dutch people still feel when they remember the German occupation. A writer once narrated this experience: “I was sitting with a friend in front of her parent’s house in a village close to the German border, when a German couple pulled up in their big AUDI car. The man alighted, said a few greetings and asked for direction. The mother of my friend was affronted. Her eyes brimming with hostility, she asked: “Who showed your parents the way in 1942?”

Embarrassed beyond speech, the man took a hurried exit. My friend was shame-faced. ”

jan van riebeeck

jan van riebeeck

These are ordinary, God-fearing, good-Christians who go to church every Sunday, giving praise to Jehovah and beseeching him to ‘forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us…’

Holland was conquered and occupied for about five years, the Dutch are making song-and-dance about it. Yet these are the same people who were at the forefront of the African slavery – the worst crime committed against a people in the history of the world. They built a fort at Elmina in Ghana where they killed and stole millions of Africans – less than one-tenth of a million Dutch perished in the Hitler war.

The Dutch share in the slave-trade was large: in fact, in the seventeenth century, it was the largest. The Dutch West India Company had various settlements on the African coast, and millions of slaves were ferried from there, especially during the time of Dutch occupation of Brazil. In the twelve years (1637-48) they transported no less than 23,163 slaves from Elmina and Loanda, for an amount of 6, 714, 423 guilders and 60 cents, (the Dutch were very precise!) They bought slaves from the Congo for 40 to 50 guilders and sold them in Brazil for 200 to 800 guilders. Certainly a worthwhile business.” (J.W. Schulte Nordholt, ‘The People that Walk in Darkness’. Ballantine Books, New York. p.10).

Until few years ago, there are no monuments built for the victims of the Dutch atrocious crimes on the continent of Africa. There is no museum on slavery in this country which built its wealth on the blood of Africans.

Let’s contrast the Dutch self-celebration with their colonial past. Their prime colonial possession, Indonesia, was conquered from the Portuguese in 1811 and was occupied until 1949 when the Indonesians wrested control of the country from these Bible-wielding, tolerant disciples of Calvin.

We should also remember that among the first act of the Dutch government after their country was liberated was to rush head-long into reclaiming their ill-gotten colonial possessions, until they were checkmated – thanks to the Americans.

In 1667, by virtue of the Treaty of Breda, Holland received Suriname from their cousin, the British, in exchange for New York (then New Amsterdam) which they have stolen from the Indians.

Suriname was thoroughly pillaged until the country was made ready for ‘independence’ in 1975. The bulk of Suriname major natural asset, bauxite, had been extracted and transferred to Holland.

To those who did not know it, Bauxite is used in the aerospace industry, so you should stop wondering how the Dutch managed to build a respectable aircraft industry – Fokker.

Those Dutch with no sense of history, now shouting about illegal immigrants, should remember that their fore-fathers were among the most brutal of the slave-raiders. “The Dutch had established themselves in Berbice in 1624. During the years 1624 to 1763 they were the cruelest of slave masters. The Dutch slave code was much harsher than the Spanish code (the savagery of the Dutch code is shown by one provision of calculated cruelty: the burning alive of mutinous slaves over a slow fire). The Dutch had no institution comparable to the Spanish audiencia, a tribunal which included four judges. The ruthlessness of the Dutch created the situation that came to a climax in the Berbice slave rebellion.” ( ‘Marcus Garvey and the vision of Africa,’ edited by John Henrik Clarke. Vintage Books, New York. p.19).

When we look at European Royal, Political, and Spiritual leaders looking solemn and commemorating anything, we should just see them for what they are: a bunch of sanctimonious hypocrites.

What crimes did Nazi Germany committed in Holland that the Dutch did not commit in Indonesia or in Suriname or in South Africa? What atrocities was perpetrated against France that the French did not do to the Algerians or the Vietnamese? What abomination did the British suffered in both WWs, that they did not visited on Nigerians and Ghanaians and Kenyans?

Why do Europeans so solemnly remember their own sufferings, yet suppress their recollection of the crimes they committed on non-Europeans?

What rights have European got to ask other people to forgive and forget, and let bygones-be-bygones, while shedding crocodile tears over a few misfortunes they visited upon themselves?

Both World Wars were quarrel among Europeans until they globalized it. What right has a European to ask us to stop remembering the slavery and the brutal colonization, while his own country yearly spend millions commemorating Hitler’s aggression?

At least, Hitler was a European, his brethren, we are not.

What have Africans got to do the European Holocaust? As Dr. Yosef ben-Jochannan puts it, the holocaust ‘was a family dispute between Europeans and Europeans.’

Those whom Europeans regarded as their heroes, are our own Hitlers. As savage as we are, we have not managed to build ovens for human beings. Nobody mourns with us on our own one-hundred million victims of our own holocaust.

Africans did not fight in Hitler’s army. If anything, we were used as cannon-fodder to stop the Germans – a fact that is often glossed over by the jaundiced accounts, rendered by western mythorians masquerading as scholars.

There are Africans alive today still waiting for their compensation for fighting with ‘mother countries.’

Why do the Dutch want us to remember their suffering when their crimes against the Africans and the Indonesians remain unrequited?

Unto this day, one of the few Dutch, who with a pang of conscience, fought against the Dutch colonial army in Indonesian still cannot enter his country of birth. We talk here about Poncke Princen. This guy’s only crime was to rebel against the atrocities his people were committing in Indonesia and, over fifty year hence, he’s still denied the right to enter this country.

Whatever happened to Christian charity. Whatever happened to ‘Human Rights!’
(Note: sadly Poncke Princen died few years ago – Femi)

A few wretched souls were asking for compensations from the Japanese the other day.

How much has their country paid back to the Indonesians and also to the Africans for all the centuries of Dutch colonial rampage?

The people of Suriname remember their liberation from Dutch forced slavery in the months of June\July. There was no mention of it in the Dutch media. There were no minister or royalty to make big speeches. We ask again, what crimes, what abominations did Germans committed in Holland in the five years of occupation that the Dutch did not commit in Africa and in Suriname for over four centuries?

These manifest double-standards is the hallmark of European history. By embarking on huge self-celebrations, they try to make a crime looked out of proportion. If they are not truly denying our humanity, the Dutch should have spent just one percent of the time and money they spent on May 5 to remind themselves of the unspeakable atrocities they perpetrated against us.

We do believe, as Bob Marley said, that somehow, someday, ‘someone would have to pay for all the innocent blood, Europeans are shedding everyday.’ In conclusion we paraphrase Douglass Frederick. His Fourth of July 1852 philippic denunciation of America equally applies to this country, as it does to all Euro-America.

What to the black man is your Fifth of May? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty,an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity;your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass-footed impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgiving, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to him, more bombast, fraud, deception, impiety and hypocrisy – a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages…You glory in your refinement and your universal education; yet you maintain a system as barbarous and dreadful as ever stained the character of a nation – a system begun in avarice, supported in pride, and perpetuated in cruelty.”


About the Author

Femi Akomolafe is a passionate Pan-Africanist. A columnist for the Accra-based Daily Dispatch newspaper and Correspondent for the New African magazine. Femi lives in both Europe and Africa, and writes regularly on Africa-related issues for various newspapers and magazines.

Femi was the producer of the FOCUS ON AFRICANS TV Interview programme for the MultiTV Station.

He is also the CEO of Alaye Dot Biz Limited Dot Biz, a Kasoa-based Multimedia organisation that specialises in Audio and Video Production. He loves to shoot and edit video documentaries.

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Femi Akomolafe




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