A'dam deputy mayor voices racism concerns at murder commemoration

Kerwin Duinmeijer
Kerwin Duinmeijer. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Rutger Groot Wassink, deputy mayor of Amsterdam, voiced concerns about racism in today's society during the 35th commemoration of the murder of Antillean boy Kerwin Duinmeijer on Dam Square on Monday. Over 200 people attended the commemoration for the 15-year-old boy, Het Parool reports. 

On the evening of August 20th, 1983, Kerwin and a few friends walked out of a snack bar and got into a fight with two skinheads. After a short argument and a scuffle, one of the skinheads stabbed Kerwin. The boy ran to Dam Square and asked a taxi to take him to hospital. The taxi driver refused to let him into his car. A second taxi driver called an ambulance and provided first aid to the teenager. The ambulance arrived 20 minutes later and rushed Kerwin to hospital, where he died of blood loss a short time later.

His murder is considered the first racist murder in the Netherlands since World War II, according to Het Parool.

Groot Wassink warned of racism still present in daily life in the Netherlands. "The poison of racism is here too", he said during his speech at the commemoration. He expressed concern for how normal prejudices and insults have become in language used by politicians. "How normalized it is to shout things that sow division and invoke nothing but hatred."

He also referred to statements recently made by Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs at a meeting for expats, in which he said that peaceful multicultural societies don't exist. "I refuse to believe that it is genetically determined that we can not live together. Amsterdam shows that it is possible", the Amsterdam deputy mayor and leader of the GroenLinks faction in Amsterdam said. 

Activist Jerry Afriyie, Roy Hofwijks of the district committee in Zuidoost and John Leerdam of the platform for Dutch Caribbeans also spoke at the commemoration.