Monday, 1 December 2014 - 18:33
Immigration officer suspects racism in hospital Zwarte Piet flap
Fred Vertommen, an official with the immigration and naturilzation office IND, was dispatched to investigate a possible case of racism at Jeroen Bosch hospital earlier today, where a baby with a darker skin colour was placed in a room with a nameplate reading "Zwarte Piet." Vertommen says he is deeply hurt by the occurrence he was sent to investigate, according to broadcaster Omroep Brabant. Vertommen has since been to the hospital to investigate, and says that the hospital's reasoning is "lame". In trying to establish the reason for the label his nephew had now attained, his uncle Hamza Bouharrou approached a staff member at the hospital. The staff member allegedly said it was intended to be a joke, and that the names "Sinterklaas" and "Zwarte Piet" were used to test the electronic door signs. The child was brought to the hospital in an emergency situation, and they began caring for the boy before changing the sign as their protocol dictates, a hospital spokesman told the broadcaster. It was when Bouharrou was visiting his ten-day old nephew in the hospital that he noticed hospital staff had used the name of the moorish slave that helps Sinterklaas, as opposed to Damin, the boy's name. The character is often depicted in the Netherlands in blackface makeup. Bouharrou took to Facebook to express his fury, and has sparked an instantaneous reaction from fellow outraged Facebook users. According to his uncle, Damin's condition remains life threatening.