Saba represented at Arnhem’s Emancipation Day celebration

Saba was represented at the Emancipation Day event at Arnhem’s Ronde Weide park on Thurs­day, June 30. Arnhem is the first city in the Dutch province Gelderland to bring such awareness of Emancipation Day and organise remembrance and celebratory events. Saba government advi­sor Gerald Simmons at­tended the event on be­half of Island Governor Jonathan Johnson.

“Terrible actions in our history are like throw­ing a massive rock in a calm pond. The waves that rock creates are the ripple effects that sur­pass many generations. It starts with acknowl­edging the ripples and their impact. Until this day, the effects of slavery and this dark part of the Dutch history are visible on Saba and in our com­munity.

Saba government advisor Gerald Simmons (third left), Arnhem Mayor Ahmed Marcouch (fourth left) and oth­er guests at the Emancipation Day event in Anthem, the Netherlands, on Thursday, June 30.

“It is beautiful to see how the city of Arnhem remembers and acknowledges the past and celebrates Emanci­pation Day in this way, and it is very good to see more cities in the Neth­erlands have events like these in Arnhem,” said Simmons.

The event was or­ganised by the June 30 and July 1 Committee chaired by Barbara Es­seboom. The commit­tee’s mission is to con­tribute to improving knowledge and aware­ness of the Dutch trans-Atlantic slave trade his­tory. The committee’s central principles are connection, freedom, equality, equivalence and spreading of knowl­edge. In remembering and celebrating Emanci­pation Day, the commit­tee applies education, art, culture and dialogue as main means to reach its goals.

Arnhem Mayor Ahmed Marcouch was one of the speakers at the event. “I saw even in the histori­cal mayor’s office that the family crest of for­mer mayor Pels Rijcken includes a depiction of slaves and cotton planta­tions. This is symbolism of a very dark past of the history of the Nether­lands.

“Arnhem is building a beautiful series of mile­stones in schools and via cultural organisations such as the June 30 and July 1 Committee. I be­lieve that education is the answer. `Keti Koti’ teaches us that it is pos­sible to break the chains, because no man or wom­an can be owned by an­other,” said Marcouch.

Marcouch and Sim­mons discussed col­laboration possibilities between Saba and Arn­hem. They concluded that this is most definite­ly worth further joint ex­ploration. “Step-by-step Saba is building a net­work in the Netherlands on a municipal level. The exploration of a possible collaboration with also Arnhem follows and adds to the other good contacts that Saba has made with other cities, such as the previous working visit of the Saba delegation to Alkmaar,” said Simmons.

The Daily Herald.

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