“When people try to tell you who you are, don’t believe them.”
— From this article.
I just arrived back home after a short trip to Suriname with my father. We tried squeezing in as much as we possibly could in the five days we were there. Bear with me and my bad phone pictures (I know that at some point I will have to buy a real camera and take photography courses).
On our first day there we randomly walked around Paramaribo, did a tour of Fort Zeelandia and took it easy for the rest of the day as it was on a Sunday. Day two consisted of a lot more of walking around Paramaribo, along Waterkant and the Independence Square. The next day we went to the markets, the wooden cathedral, the Palm Garden and afterwards we went to the Paramaribo Zoo. Yet another day we took a taxi to the countryside where we walked on the grounds of Fort Nieuw Amsterdam and visited the expositions. On the last day we went to the recreational park Cola Creek. We flew back early on Friday.
It was a short but very sweet trip. I will definitely return someday for a longer period of time so I can go to the binnenland and of course so I can eat tons of bamie and roti or drink many bottles of tamarind juice. I now know that if I can get a pool filled with anything I want that I will want to fill it with tamarind juice.
After what had happened at the local airport the week grew even more emotionally draining with everything that is happening around the world. I feel so, so deeply for the Dutch, all the other nationalities on the flight and for the Palestinians.
So many human lives are lost but the key persons are still holding on to politics. At these moments it is important that we show that we have (at least some semblance of) a moral compass and that we have respect for human lives. I may be naive and ignorant about everything that is going on but it feels so wrong when I see the news reports of pro-Russian separatists obstructing the way while bodies are decomposing or of Israelis cheering when bombs fall in Gaza. The news conferences given by world leaders placing blame on each other and making use of these incidents to further their own interests irk me the wrong way too. It is just irresponsible and they, more than anyone else, should know better. It doesn’t matter who you support we must all admit that the ways we are dealing with these tragedies are wrong on so many levels. We already know (especially those involved in both conflicts) where this absence of respect for human lives will lead, only to more misery.
This is just so sad.
I just found my old USB stick from high school and went through all of my papers and such from the fourth grade (the tenth grade in the US system). I liked making tongue-in-cheek comments, was overly ambitious and opinionated, bordering on controversial.
I wrote a paper on the concept of life after death in the three major religions while my school was strictly catholic. I also did a presentation on sterilization with very graphic pictures of the procedures and concluded at the end that male sterilization was the less scarier and more effective option. It is cute how I stubbornly explored only topics that interested me, like atheism (later agnosticism), feminism, mental health, island politics, social justice.
I remember that I sometimes got in trouble with the more conservative teachers and classmates because of my contrariness but I dare say now that it was totally worth it. I learned to be critical and to hold on to my own opinions even though they were not popular.
I forwent Spong’s De breuk and decided to read a recommendation by my father, Miriam Sluis’s Een koloniale speeltuin. I am rage-reading through some of the sections but it is quite eye-opening too. Many of her observations are painfully true and they put a lot of things in perspective for me.
Don’t tell my parents, proud islanders who have always told us that we need to come back and help build up the island, but I had said before that I won’t return. I am in my selfish twenties and if nothing comes up I don’t see myself settling back on the island anytime soon.
Among other things I find the irrationality, the closed-mindedness and the aggressive aversion to new ways of thinking rather off-putting. Politics on the island is at a standstill right now because of this. Besides that the opportunities on the island concerning work and personal development are scarce. After graduation I need to think about finding work that is not only satisfying but that will also enable me to pay back my study loans and to grow personally.
I will stop here with my rant because these are all excuses, excuses, excuses and a great deal of selfishness. Even though my parents have always nurtured a sense of social responsibility and consciousness about the island identity in us, I am still selfish and choose to live in ignorance. I need to work on this too.
Post-edit: There are safety concerns too. My parents have been telling us about the horrific things that are happening on this tiny island but I quite honestly didn’t believe them. My mother sits with tears in her eyes and my father is completely shocked by news reports about the incident at the local airport. They, the most hopeful persons I know, are slowly growing pessimistic about things getting better on the island anytime soon.
"Hell is other people." Sartre was so right. Flying makes me lose all hope in humankind. It is the worst part of travelling.
Maya Angelou's beautiful letter to her younger self
This. I need to remember this.
Come on, PvdA! Get a backbone, pull yourself together and stop this.
And Volkskrant is still not on Tumblr.
I just realized how privileged and spoiled I am. I need to work on being more grateful and also on lessening the effects of the Special Snowflake Syndrome on my behavior so I can deal with criticism and responsibility better. More humility and perseverance should be my goals. Because I am way too much of a product of my generation.
Does this all make sense?