Ruling party calls €200 mil. fund for slavery awareness "madness"
Parliamentarian Pim van Strien of the largest coalition party VVD calls it “madness” that the Cabinet wants to allocate 200 million euros to an awareness fund about the slavery past. “As far as the VVD is concerned, this is not a done deal,” he said on Twitter.
On Thursday, insiders reported that the Cabinet will soon apologize for the Netherlands' history of slavery and that this amount of money will go into making people aware of this past.
A majority in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament, supports making an official apology. Kati Piri of the PvdA is relieved by the news. “At least there are apologies for the slavery past,” she said on Twitter. “Unprecedentedly cruel practices that affect people’s lives to this day.” Her GroenLinks colleague Lisa Westerveld agrees: “It is an ugly history, but it is our history: that of slavery, colonialism, and oppression. Let’s realize that and also that it resonates in today’s inequality,” she tweeted.
DENK pointed out that at the end of 2016, it was the first party to ask the Cabinet to formally apologize for our colonial and slavery past. Sylvana Simons of BIJ1 thinks it is the only right step. “Of course, we must continue monitoring the progress and ensure that the right stakeholders get and stay on the move. But for now: happy and relieved.” According to her party, “recognizing and apologizing for this past is an important first step toward rectifying the unequal relations it caused.”
Marieke Koekkoek (Volt) is also optimisitic. “If we recognize the past together, we can also build a joint future.” According to Christine Teunissen of the PvdD, it is “extremely important that the Cabinet finally apologizes for the enormous injustice done by the Netherlands.” It has a “tremendous impact on people to this day.
Parties on the radical right-wing are against apologies. FvD called apologies “self-hatred at its peak.” And PVV leader Geert Wilders sneered that “they have gone completely mad. Rutte 4 is Woke 1.”
Reporting by ANP