africa jAfrica will record the largest amount of population growth of any world region between now and 2050. Africa's population is expected to more than double, rising from 1.1 billion today to at least 2.4 billion by 2050. Nearly all of that growth will be in the 51 countries of sub-Saharan Africa, the region's poorest. The Population Reference Bureau's 2013 World Population Data Sheet and related material, including an interactive map and infographic, will be online at 10 a.m. (EDT) on Sept. 12, 2013, at The Data Sheet offers detailed information on 20 population, health, and environment indicators for more than 200 countries.

Source: Eturbo News



haitis-carnival-of-flower-008Visitors to Haiti can help trigger redevelopment, providing much-needed funds to boost infrastructure and create jobs, London’s Guardian reports.

Haiti proclaimed its independence in 1804, the first country in Latin America and the Caribbean to do so. Despite having to pay an extortionate independence fee, equivalent to $21bn (£14bn) in today's money, it was a relatively prosperous and peaceful place to live.

Indeed, most Haitians had a decent life before the 1960s, when the country could have been likened to Canada and Australia in terms of human development indices. Along with pre-revolutionary Cuba, Haiti was the tourist destination of choice in the 1950s, attracting jetsetters and wealthy travellers from the US and Europe. It was the place to see and be seen.

Over the past 60 years the situation has deteriorated. Most people I meet think the situation here is desperate, but I tell them I believe there is a lot of hope for Haiti because we got into this difficult situation a relatively short time ago. If you look at the history of other rich countries, you will discover that although they spent much longer in difficulty, they managed to fix their problems, and Haitians will do the same.

The 2010 earthquake was a wake-up call for Haitians, including 2 million in the diaspora, to take control and restore the country to how it was three years ago – or, better yet, to the halcyon days of the 1950s.

One of the key ways I believe that Haitians can trigger redevelopment is through tourism, particularly eco or boutique packages for those wanting to experience something different. We have a small amount of passing trade through international cruise ships, but this is of no benefit to Haiti or its people as such excursions are controlled by the cruise liner companies and elites.

The ministry of tourism is rebranding Haiti as a holiday destination, with the strapline: "Haiti – experience it". And last year the country received 950,000 tourists (mainly from cruise ships) compared with 4.5 million in the Dominican Republic, but I know we have the potential to attract at least double that.

If we can bring more funds into the country, the hope is that this can be used to improve infrastructure, create jobs, and support some of the most vulnerable people.

Haiti is a hospitable place where we enjoy life, even when things are difficult. If visitors started to come and praised the small progress we have made, it might drive some communities and leaders to take pride in their nation and really work together to attract greater numbers of tourists.

Haitians are not a lazy people waiting for others to support them. While here, you will experience a vibrant, busy, resilient country, where people are looking for a better life, working hard, and committed to seeking opportunities around every corner.

We are tired of reading in the newspapers that there is no hope for us. Some of those articles are depressing and have pushed some professionals to consider leaving. The good news is that some sectors seem to understand the challenges of attracting tourists and are working together.

Admittedly, there are some problems Haitians cannot deny, including the food crisis in pockets of the island, but there is another side to the coin: the island is one of the safest places in the Americas, in terms of drugs and crime, and we are blessed with some of the Caribbean's most beautiful beaches and unspoilt countryside.

There are countless places visitors can enjoy authentic Haitian music, from classical to grassroots folklore (rara), as well as one of the finest cuisines in the Caribbean, incorporating French and African influences alongside native Taíno and Spanish culinary techniques.

We tend to use a lot of different vegetables and meat then combine them with peppers to add flavour and a bit of a kick. And if you visited one of Christian Aid's local Haitian partners, such as Koral (Konbit pou ranfòse aksyon lokal, or Gathering for the strengthening of local actions) and Veterimed, you might also get to taste our farmers' famous organic yoghurt or cheese.

Haitians are busy preparing for the vibrant three-day carnival of flowers in Port-au-Prince on 28 July. The last carnival we hosted was in Cap-Haïtien at the same time as the Rio carnival, and it attracted more than 500,000 people.

Carnival is a traditional part of Haitian culture, and when discussing with some friends who are regular participants, I realised that for them it was a great psychosocial way to heal and renew. Some argue that the government could better use the funds for education or the environment, but I hope to attend the carnival this year for the first time to take some photos with my daughters.

So go and see the Haiti tourism Facebook page and get a new sense of the country. The images represent the undimmed hope and light that Haitians would like to shine above our struggles to make the country a wonderful place to live and to visit again.

I cannot say visitors will find the place to be perfect and polished, but I am sure they will enjoy their stay and make plans to come again. If you are unable to stop by, maybe just take a little time to think positively about the future for Haiti and its citizens. Experience it. Not easy, right? But you can.

For the original report go to


Those going through the Legion d'Honneur Square in the northern Seine-Saint-Denis suburb of Paris, will notice the presence of a globe-shaped monument in the middle of a flower bed, as Elise Vincent reports in this article for Le Monde

As they come closer, they will see that names, surnames and numbers have been etched onto colorful medallions. A plaque at the foot of the monument will tell them that these are the names of former slaves, along with their identification number. There are precisely 213 of them. Afr monnd if they read to the end, they will learn that these names are also the names of French West Indians, who added their ancestors – found through genealogy – to the list.

This new monument was inaugurated on May 23 by the Minister of Overseas France, Victorin Lurel. The same day, a similar sculpture was unveiled in Sarcelles, in another northern suburb of Paris – Val d’Oise. For the past 15 years, both Sarcelles and Saint-Denis, two cities where the French West Indian diaspora is most important, have been marking the “victims of slavery” on this very day.

These are not the first monuments France has erected to commemorate slavery. Former Presidents Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy even inaugurated one together in 2007, in Paris’s famous Luxembourg Garden. But even though every little French village has a monument engraved with the names of those who died during World War I and World War II, there are few such monuments for former slaves.

The monuments in Saint-Denis and Sarcelles would certainly not have come to life, without the desire of Antilleans (French West Indians), who wanted to pay homage, in their own name, to the Africans that France reduced to slavery for more than two centuries. The memorials are also the fruit of a little Parisian organization – CM 98 – which struggles to keep alive the memory of slavery's victims -- and make France face this tragic past.

Overcoming the stigma

In most of the French West Indies, even today, lighter skins are considered more attractive than darker skins. Only an experienced eye can tell the difference between the different nuances of black by which many Antilleans define themselves: metis (“mixed-race”), quarteron (“one-quarter black”), chabin (“having two black parents but being light-skinned”)...

This sort of Stockholm syndrome influences family trees. While in France many look for ancestors within the French aristocracy, many in the French overseas territories look for “white” colonists in their family trees, rather than “black” slaves.

The goal of CM 98 is to help all Antilleans – and their descendants – who want to research their family tree. "After years of thinking about it, we came to the conclusion that the problems in our islands were often linked to skin colors," explains CM 98 vice-president Emmanuel Gordien. "We want them to overcome the stigma of slavery, the idea that slaves were dirty and depraved."

On the table of her living room in Aulnay-sous-Bois, in the suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis, Chantal Charles-Fred unfolds her family tree. This 45-year-old woman from the French West Indies Island of Martinique has always been curious of her origins. In her home, everything recalls her native island – her trinkets, her two massive aquariums, a tapestry on the wall showing a beautiful beach.

For a long time she researched her family tree by herself. But when she discovered, thanks to CM 98, the person she points to with her finger, at the top of the maternal side of the tree, Charles-Fred says she was shocked to see the caption born in Africa. His name was Maximin Criart – identification number 128. Maximin was 30 when he was emancipated and given a surname.

Chantal doesn’t have any resentment. Like all those who worked with CM 98 to have their ancestors’ names etched into the monuments, she does not intend on filing for financial reparations from the French government.

"For me, it is just a way to affirm myself," she says, "knowing your origins makes you stronger."

CM 98's secret weapon is a unique database of 120,000 names that they were able to build after searching the archives of French overseas territories for seven years. They researched documents that are not known to the general public, but that historians know well: the registers where the surnames of emancipated slaves where written after the abolition of slavery in 1848.

These notebooks, which were inscribed by quill, are called the registries of the “newly freed” in Guadeloupe, and the registries of the “individualities” in Martinique. Before these registers were created, the slaves only had a first name and an identification number. When they were mentioned in official deeds, it was in the same way that cattle or hectares of land were mentioned.

The distribution of surnames were made by officials who were more or less inspired. In some villages they just inverted the syllables of the first names: Marie became "Rima.” Others had mythology on their mind and went with Dionysos (“Dionysus”) or Andromaque (“Andromache”). The unluckiest slaves were afflicted with “shameful names” such as Bracoupe ("Amputed-Arm"), Grospoil ("Big Hair"), Gros Desir ("Big Lust")...

For the sculptures to become a symbol, CM 98 activists made sure there would not only list the names of those who researched their family trees. For many Sundays in a row, they held office at the Saint-Denis and Sarcelles town halls so that anybody with family papers could come and discover the identity of their ancestors.

Tearful discoveries

To be sure that people came, they searched the directories of the two cities. They identified Antillean-sounding family names and wrote to them on the stationary of the Sarcelles and Saint-Denis town halls.

"We have decided to inaugurate a monument to honor the women and men who were victims of slavery (...). If you want the name of your ancestor – your name or your father or mother’s – to be added to the monument, CM 98 is waiting for you," said the letter.

Marie-Veronique Jeremy, 63, a retired nurse answered the call. "Tell me everything," said the volunteer who welcomed her, shaking with emotion and holding her family papers carefully wrapped in plastic.

Marie-Veronique gave her father's name. The computer found the identity of a certain Noel Jeremy, emancipated in 1849, at 47, in Guadeloupe. She started crying: "I am black, but I didn't think..."

Ariane Virginius-Porlon, a CM 98 volunteer, explains: "Even today, in France, we don't tell our children the truth. Every three years they spend their holidays in the islands. They think they will be living the good life, and when they find out their grandparents' house is a hut, they are shocked."

Laura Felip, 33, whose family is from Guadeloupe, had the name of her ancestors engraved on the document. "I was not brought up in the culture of shame," she says.

The window is open. The sun delicately sets. Felip explains that she is often asked for her “residence permit” when she has administrative papers to fill out, even though being from overseas territories makes her fully French. Quietly, she says that she would like those monuments to help people understand that "you can be black and French."

Read the article in the original language.

For the original report go to



ethioEthiopian Airlines – Africa’s oldest, largest and fastest growing airline – is proud to announce that it will commence four weekly flights to Enugu (ENU), Nigeria effective August 24, 2013. Located in southeastern Nigeria, Enugu is the capital of Enugu State in Nigeria. Enugu will be the third city in Nigeria served by Ethiopian Airlines. Ethiopian currently serves Abuja (ABV), the capital of Nigeria, and Lagos (LOS), Nigeria’s largest city. Enugu will be Ethiopian’s 46th African and the 76th international destination.

Ethiopian Airlines will be the first international carrier to fly to Enugu. Ethiopian will also increase its five weekly flights to Abuja to daily service. “We are proud to add Enugu in Nigeria to our wide global network covering five continents. The addition of Enugu to our network is a continuation of our commitment to provide the best possible connectivity options to passengers traveling between Africa and the rest of the world. Enugu will be our third destination in Nigeria after Lagos and Abuja, which are both served with daily flights,” said Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian.

With the new service, four times per week, passengers to and from Enugu will find convenient and hassle-free connections to the many global destinations in the Ethiopian-wide route network such as Mumbai, Dubai, London, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Cairo and Beijing. About Ethiopian Ethiopian Airlines, the fastest growing airline in Africa, made its maiden international flight to Cairo in 1946 and now provides dependable services to 70 international destinations spanning four continents. Ethiopian is proud to be a Star Alliance Member. The Star Alliance network is the leading global airline network offering customers convenient worldwide reach and a smoother travel experience. The Star Alliance network offers more than 21,555 daily flights to 1,356 airports in 193 countries.

Ethiopian is a multi-award winner for its commitment and contributions toward the development and growth of the African aviation industry and in recognition of its distinguished long-haul operations enhanced by the introduction of new routes and products. Recently, Ethiopian won the SKYTRAX World Airline Award for “Best Airline Staff Service in Africa” for its outstanding customer service. In addition, Ethiopian received the “Airline Reliability Performance Award” from Bombardier Aerospace, “African Airline of the Year Award” from Air Transport Quarterly Magazine, “Transformation Award 2012” from Planet Africa Network, and the “International Diamond Prize for Excellence in Quality” from the European Society for Quality Research (ESQR). Captain Desta Zeru, Vice-President of Flight Operations for Ethiopian Airlines, also won the “Africa Legend of Travel” award from African Travel Quarterly (ATQ) magazine and Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam won “African CEO of the year” from the African CEO Forum as well as the “African Business Leader of the Year” award from the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA).


jacobins2“The Black Jacobins Revisited: Rewriting History Conference” will take place on October 27–28, 2013, at the International Slavery Museum and Bluecoat Arts Centre in Liverpool, England. Papers will be considered on any aspect relating to The Black Jacobins and its legacies.

The Conference Programme includes presentations by Selwyn Cudjoe (Wellesley); Robert A. Hill (UCLA and C.L.R. James’s Literary Executor); Bill Schwarz (QMUL); Christian Høgsbjerg (Leeds Met); Rachel Douglas (University of Glasgow); Fabienne Viala (University of Warwick); Peter Fraser (Institute of Commonwealth Studies); Nigel Carter (London Met); Raphael Dalleo (Florida Atlantic University); Rawle Gibbons (University of the West Indies, Director of three Caribbean Productions of The Black Jacobins Play); Yvonne Brewster (Director of London Production of The Black Jacobins Play; Founder of Talawa Theatre Company); and Nick Nesbitt (Princeton); among others.

There will also be a reading of extracts—Toussaint Louverture: The Story of the Only Successful Slave Revolt in History—and the first performance since 1936 of precursor to C.L.R. James’s classic history of the Haitian revolution The Black Jacobins (which started life as a play with Paul Robeson in the lead).

As places are limited, attendees should register as soon as possible online at (Registration must be completed by 1 September 2013 at the very latest.)

For more information, please contact conference organizers Dr. Rachel Douglas at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and Dr. Kate Hodgson at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Source: Repeating Islands


alainAfrican Diaspora Tourism is in support of Alain St. Ange, Minister of Tourism and Culture, Republic of the Seychelles in his nomination for election as a member of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Executive Council. "St. Ange has done an outstanding job in the tourism field and has managed to brand Seychelles globally as a desirable destination," says African Diaspora Tourism publisher Kitty Pope.

"He is a strong believer in strategic regional marketing approaches as demonstrated by the successful Vanilla Island Cooperation of Indian Ocean Island. Having developed win-win marketing partnerships with African mainland and other destinations, St. Ange is very visionary and insightful as a leader. He would bring the same commitment and expertise in tourism to the UNWTO Executive Council," says Pope. "I am certain he will be able to help increase tourism arrivals to Africa in a few years the same way he has for Seychelles. I believe St. Ange has the capability of making Africa a premier global destination of the twenty-first century."

St. Ange is the creator of Carnaval Internationale de Victoria (The Carnival of Carnivals), where got participation from various countries around the globe. His idea for such a carnival was to bring different cultures together for celebration in Seychelles. He has also launched other successful, original marketing campaigns where he worked with global media outlets to raise the profile of Seychelles. Having worked as CEO of Seychelles Tourism and now as minister of Tourism and Culture for more than a year, St. Ange helped to reinvigorate and reinvent Seychelles Tourism.

A sought-after speaker and conference presenter, St. Ange has become a highly-regarded African tourism leader and has worked with other countries in helping to put together portfolios to increase tourism arrivals. Many global organizations leaders in Africa are supporting St. Ange's nomination to UNWTO. His philosophy of "friends of all, enemies of none" has gained him respect around Africa and beyond. African Diaspora Tourism believes that St. Ange will be a valuable asset if he is elected to the African seat on the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Executive Committee.



gay curacaoCuraçao will celebrate its first full-fledged Pride this year with the launch of Curaçao Pride 2013 September 25-29 (Source:The Chronicle).

Organizer is Curaçao Gay Pro, an association of professional organizations and individuals working with or for the Curaçao and International sexually diverse (LGBT) communities. Curaçao Gay Pro (CGPro) is a joint enterprise of Floris Suite Hotel, The Curaçao Pink House/Pride Foundation (FOKO), The Gallery Lounge gay club, Pepper Katana ( and Williwood country pub and terrace. CGPro takes over the reins of the Curaçao Gay Plasa Organization, which since 2005 has been organizing a precursor event called Curaçao’s Get Wet Festival, containing many pride elements.

The first Curaçao Pride will have a lot of celebrations, like a Masked Street Dance in downtown Willemstad, several theme parties, among them a White Party Curaçao Style, but also honoring of LGBT icons and allies, a movie marathon, spiritual celebrations, and as an extra this year, the first Caribbean Conference on Women and Sexual Diversity. Some activities will require registration, while others will be free. CGPro expects a considerable amount of visitors from the Caribbean, the USA and Canada, Latin America and Europe, contributing to Curaçao’s tourism drive.

Curaçao Pride 2013 is part of CGPro’s year program which runs till mid-2014. Other elements of this program are the first Caribbean Carnival Festival in February 2014, and a large All Caribbean Pride in May 2014, which will see an even larger attendance of visitors from abroad. Details of these events will be announced in the upcoming months. CGPro, is going to present Curaçao’s Pride Program 2013-2014 to the International Pride Organization INTERPRIDE and the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association IGLTA.

For Curaçao Gay Pro and its constituents, the launch of Curaçao Pride 2013 means a new phase after 18 years of uninterrupted struggle for recognition and acceptance of sexual diversity by society by the Curaçao Gay movements. It also shows that Curaçao is following the worldwide trend towards sexual equality and deserves the label of the most Gay-Friendly Island of the Caribbean.


For the original report go to

Source: Repeating Islands



ernesto che guevara el che vivefrontalCuban Revolution leader Ernesto "Che" Guevara writings have been added to UNESCO's Memory of the World Register. (Fox News Latino) The documents include original manuscripts from "Che's" youthful "Motorcycle Diaries" days, to his diary from the mountains of Bolivia where he was executed by that nation's military in 1967. They are now recognized as world heritage and will be protected and cared for with the help of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. The Memory of the World Register comprises nearly 300 documents and collections from five continents. Guevara's works are among 54 new additions this year. His widow, daughter and son were on hand at a ceremony in Havana on Friday to celebrate the inclusion of the documents in the register.

For the original report go to



jamaica unescoThree of Jamaica's outstanding historical collections have been given special awards by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in recognition of the significance of the country's heritage to the international community, Jamaica’s Observer reports. The collections, 'Protector of Immigrants', 'Registry of Slaves', and 'Silver Men of the Panama Canal', contain records of Jamaica's heritage during the period of slavery, Asiatic indentured immigration, and involvement in the construction of the Panama Canal. They have been incorporated in UNESCO's Memory of the World Register, and have been awarded two special Plaques of Inscription.

The plaques were unveiled on June 27 by Minister with Responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, during a ceremony at the offices of the Jamaica Archives and Records Department (JARD)in Spanish Town, St. Catherine. Delivering the keynote address, Senator Falconer, described the unveiling as a "proud moment for Jamaica".

She said incorporation of the collections on the prestigious UNESCO register is a "fine tribute to the hard working staff of the Jamaica Archives and Records Department." "Our inclusion in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register is a significant testimony to the quality and importance of our archival information. I have no doubt that, in time, other aspects of our historical memory will also similarly be recognised," the Minister said. She pointed out that the unveilings is a strong signal of the administration's "commitment and intention to continue the excellent work of preserving and making Jamaica's historical records "matters of world and personal significance." "I want to thank UNESCO, the Regional Office for the Caribbean, the Jamaica National Commission for UNESCO, the Jamaica Archives (and Records Department) and all of those (stakeholders) who, over the years, have helped us to preserve and make accessible, such records of world significance," the Minister said.

In her remarks, Government Archivist, Claudette Thomas, welcomed the recognition accorded the collections, while expressing the hope that "Jamaicans will seek to become (more) aware of the documentary heritage of this country." She also expressed gratitude to the Office of the Prime Minister, under whose purview JARD falls, UNESCO, the Local Memory of the World Registry Committee, Ministry of Youth and Culture, and the University of the West Indies (UWI), for their support in "facilitating the achievement of another significant milestone". Jamaica National Commission for UNESCO Programme Manager, Dr. Maria Smith, said that the collections are "important to our individual and our collective identities." She said the Commission remains "committed to its mandate of seeking to advance the nation through education, science, culture, communication, and information."

Chairperson of the Local UNESCO Memory of the World Committee, Winsome Harrison, in commending JARD, said the incorporation of the three listings on the Register from any single country is a "major accomplishment", noting that "it is not an easy thing to get listed on the Memory of the World Register." "I am very happy to be sharing in this very proud moment for JARD. And to the staff...I say do enjoy this feeling of accomplishment," she said. Mayor of Spanish Town, Councillor Norman Scott, said the recognition accorded the three collections, places into context the relevance and importance of records and archives "which are major sources of information that form part of the cultural and documentary heritage of Jamaica." The Jamaica Archives and Records Department is the sole government entity mandated to preserve Jamaica's cultural and documentary heritage for posterity. Its main purpose is to preserve records of government which are on paper and in electronic and audio/visual formats.

For the original report go to

Source: Repeating Islands



August 16 – 20, 2013 Third Annual African Landing Commemoration Dayafrican landing

This year, honor the arrival of the First Africans in Colonial America on British occupied territory at Point Comfort (Fort Monroe). This program is presented by the City of Hampton; Project 1619 Inc.; National Juneteenth Foundation; The Sankofa Project; Weyanoke Legacy; and the Hampton Contraband Society.

This year's program will span five days and include an Opening Reception; a Symposium on the Legacy of Slavery and Freedom and It's Impact on America's Culture; the Third Annual Juneteenth Jazz & Heritage Reconciliation & Healing Concert featuring Rev. Ron Myers MD of National Juneteenth Foundation and jazz legends, Herman Burney and Todd Ledbetter at the American Theater; Hampton African American Historical Sites Bus Tour; and the Fourth Annual World Day of Reconciliation & Healing from the Legacy of Enslavement Prayer Service and Ritual of Remembrance at Fort Monroe.

For more information or to become a sponsor of the Third Annual African Landing Commemoration Day , contact Calvin Pearson This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Admission Fee: The cost for each activity varies from free to $20.

CalvinHistory of the First Africans

Between 1618 an 1620, thousands of Africans were enslaved during the war between King Alvaro III of Congo and his uncles and sold into slavery. There was also the war between the Portuguese Leader Endes de Vascondes and a band of a marauding mercenary soldiers against the Kingdom of Ndongo. In 1619 Africans were loaded aboard the Spanish ship Sao Joao Bautista and headed toward Vera Cruz, Mexico when it encountered the “White Lion” who many believe was an English ship with a Dutch flag and the “Treasurer” an English ship. The White Lion and the Treasurer captured cargo from the Sao Joao Bautista including nearly 60 Africans. The White Lion arrived at Point Comfort along the Virginia coast, present day Hampton during the latter part of August 1619 carrying 20 and odd Negros, where they all came ashore. Two of the original Africans who came ashore, Antonio and Isabella, became servants on the plantation of Capt. William Tucker who was the commander at Point Comfort. Some of the slaves were purchased by Governor George Yeardley and his Cape Merchant Abraham Piersey. They were then transported to plantations along the James River in what would become Charles City. The Treasurer arrived 3-4 days after the White Lion but was not allowed to trade their Africans so they left Point Comfort for Bermuda where they traded their Africans for corn. There is no documentation that either ship ever traveled to Jamestown to unload Africans. These Africans became the first Africans to arrive in America on British occupied territory.

In 1623 Antonio and Isabella gave birth to William Tucker, the first African child born in America. The Tucker Family and descendants from the first African child born in America still resides in Hampton. William Tucker is buried in Hampton.

Photo: Juneteenth Leader Rev. Ron Myers (l) with Calvin Pearson, founder of African Landing Project 1619.





amsterdamnIn this article (The New York Times, 1 July 2013), Nina Siegal focuses on an exhibition at the Scheepvaart Museum, the maritime history museum in Amsterdam. She writes:

“On Jan. 1, 1738, the Dutch West India Company slave ship Leusden, carrying nearly 700 African men, women and children through Surinam, got caught in a terrible storm. Fearing that the captives would scramble for the few lifeboats, the captain ordered the crew to shut the ship’s hold and lock the Africans below deck.  (A rendition of the slave ship's lower deck is designed to recreate the feeling of being imprisoned at the Scheepvaart Museum.)

Six hundred and sixty-four people were suffocated or drowned while the boat sank and the crew escaped. It was the greatest tragedy of its kind in the Atlantic slave trade, the historian Leo Balai said, with a death toll almost five times that of the next largest: the massacre of 132 slaves on the Zong, a British-owned ship that was transporting slaves from Africa to Jamaica in 1781. They were thrown overboard for insurance money. “The story of the Leusden was never told in Holland,” Mr. Balai said. “It was the largest murder case in the history of the slave trade, but no one ever talked about it.”

It is now the subject of an exhibition at the Scheepvaart Museum, the maritime history museum here. The interactive exhibition takes visitors below deck on the ship before taking them above deck to meet the captain and other people who benefited from the Atlantic slave trade. The four-room exhibition is based on a Ph.D. thesis that Mr. Balai, who is Surinamese Dutch and whose ancestors were enslaved, published in 2011, resulting from five years of research in the Dutch national archives in The Hague.

“If you look for a list of shipping disasters in Dutch history you won’t find it,” said Remmelt Daalder, a senior curator at the Scheepvaart Museum. Why not? “It wasn’t seen as important. It was a large loss in terms of money, but no one seemed to mind that it was a large loss in human lives. No one was punished, and in fact, some of the crew members got a reward because they were able to save a box of gold from the ship.”

The exhibition opened last week to coincide with the commemoration of the official end of slavery in the Dutch colonies, which took place 150 years ago on July 1, 1863. Although slaves were never brought to the Netherlands, Dutch merchants played an important role in the maritime “triangular trade” from the 17th to the 19th century, capturing people from the West Coast of Africa and shipping them through its colonies in the Caribbean to the Americas. The Dutch West India Company alone shipped about half a million people to the American continent and shipping back the fruits of their labor — sugar and tobacco, for example — from the 1670s until about 1740. [. . .] As the Dutch commemorate the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery, however, some say that there’s still insufficient acknowledgment of the role the country played in the trade, or of the toll it has taken on the lives of its people. In the past five years, leading up to this commemoration, a number of Surinamese groups and others who represent people from the former Dutch colonies have been demanding that the government formally apologize. [. . .]

Sandew Hira, an economist and historian, has been an advocate for an official apology. “The Dutch glorify the 17th century and call it the Golden Age,” he said last week. “But in that century they were kidnapping hundreds of thousands of people from Africa and torturing them and forcing them to work for free in the colonies, in what we’d now call forced labor camps. In our opinion that so-called ‘Golden Age’ was the high point of the crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Dutch.”

On June 13, the Dutch Council of Churches issued a formal apology for slavery, and its secretary general, Klaas van der Kamp, called it a “black holocaust.” “Hundreds of thousands of people were removed from their homes, exploited and forced to spend a lifetime in captivity,” the statement says. “As churches we recognize our part in this shameful past and we must conclude that theology was abused in certain circumstances to justify slavery.”

The deputy mayor of Amsterdam, Andrée van Es, said the city doesn’t want to overlook its role in the slave trade. “When I was in school no one told me about slave trade history,” she said. “There is a lack of knowledge and also the Dutch are not very good at looking into the black pages of their history. There is a kind of taboo. People say, ‘Oh, it was 150 years ago, generations ago, we have to look at the future.’ In a way that is true. You can’t stay a prisoner of your past, but to move forward you have to look into the past.”

Source: Repeating Islands

For full article, see

Also see museum page at

australia Jonas

There will be a celebration to honor outstanding African-Australians  on July 27, 2013 at the Parliment House in Canberra, Australia. The capital city of Australia, Canberra is the seat of the government of Australia. Events will last from 5pm until 11 pm and will include a dinner honoring 100 Most Influential African Australians. The event is being put on by Celebration of African Australians, Inc. For more information visit


Why celebrate African Australians? African Australians contribute so much to this great country. We have iconic African Australians in sports, medicine, law and entertainment. Several others are captains of industries, entrepreneurs and celebrities. In addition, many serve the government and community in various capacities. Therefore, the aim of Celebration of African Australians Inc ("Celebrate") is to celebrate, appreciate and showcase the contributions of African Australians to our collective growth and prosperity. This is a flow-on from the United Nation’s proclamation of 2011 as the International Year for People of African Descent. How we celebrate African Australians and friends of Africa Several African Australian legends, superstars and icons will be honoured by Celebrate at the Parliament House, Canberra, this year. In addition to honorariums, Celebrate will also showcase on this website and its sub-domains: 1000 African Australian professionals (Doctors, Engineers, Nurses, Social /Industry/Government Workers, Accountants, Academics, Managers, etc) 200 African Australian Icons, Legends and Superstars And numerous Australian organizations, businesses and individuals supporting the African Australian Community. Furthermore, Celebrate is collaborating with various professionals, organizations and industries to promote African-Australian and African related businesses, innovations, projects and events.







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