Yesterday, I followed one of those utterly useless discussions on Facebook. Some ex-pats were complaining about the depiction of dark-complected human beings on the State (Golden) carriage of the Dutch monarch.
Some participants where quite fast and harsh in their condemnation of everything. Ranging from the carriage, the monarchy to fellow participants. What struck me as odd was, that not one of the other participants seemed to be a descendant of slaves. In fact, both the person who started the ball rolling and the biggest detractor, were from the African continent. Due to my mixed heritage, I try not to take sides nor point fingers in discussions related to slavery. This time I felt compelled to. People were getting so self-righteous and indignant in name of the slaves, that it was getting pathetic. They were advocating the replacement of said panels, the carriage and even the monarchy. This was all done, by those who don't have an ounce of slave blood in them.
I had the gall to speak against the hiding of these panels in museums or their destruction. My view is, that they should be shown regularly to the masses, lest we forget the blood, sweat and tears that went into building the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
I am a descendant of slave stock. My German ancestors 'disgraced' and 'dirtied' their blood. I don't think my extended family, nor I would have survived WW II. I belong to a community that was persecuted, jailed and killed not only in the period from 1939-1945, but before that and to this day.
We as a community took the symbol of our shame and turned it into a symbol of pride and belonging. We can and do wear it with joy and pride nowadays. So much, that many don't even know the suffering that used to be attached to it.
And yet, some Self-Righteous prick dares question if I would ask the same of the Jewish community. I'm not part of the Jewish community and they were not a party in the discussion, what they decide to do is their problem.
I CAN ask my fellow descendants of slaves and the survivors of slavery to take the symbol of our captivity and wear it with pride. Let us show the world that, while we will NEVER forget where we come from, we will not allow ourselves to be shackled by our past.
The only way to rise above your past, is to unburden yourself from the ballast keeping you down.
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