The president of Suriname, Chan Santokhi, has said his government should have been consulted better before Mark Rutte issued a public apology for the Netherlands’ slave trading past on Monday.
Santokhi was positive about the content of Rutte’s speech, calling it a ‘clear’ statement of ‘Dutch involvement in the inhumane treatment of people who were taken to Suriname by force over a long period to work as slaves for the Dutch economy.’
But he remained critical of the way the apologies were drafted and delivered, on a date determined by ministers in The Hague with no input from Suriname or the Caribbean islands.
‘A collective approach from the start would have been a more acceptable way of working towards a moment of rehabilitation.
‘This is about centuries of oppression and exploitation. Offering apologies also means acknowledging the momentum, cultural aspects of the descendants of enslaved people and making the moment when you apologise meaningful.
‘Specifically, the preparations for offering apologies are just as important as how you apologise in practice.’
Criticism in advance
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