King Philip himself will not present the Dutch Literature Prize to Surinamese writer Astrid Roemer this year.
The Committee of Ministers of the Dutch Language Union – with Prime Minister Jan Jambon and Minister Ben Waits as representatives on our side of the language frontier – in consultation with Flemish Literature and the Dutch Literature Trust, decided not to hold the award ceremony.
The immediate reason for canceling the awards ceremony was Romer’s comments about the so-called murders in December 1982 in Suriname. On July 30, she wrote on her Facebook page: “The Suriname community has a DDB (then Prime Minister Désiré Delano Bouterse, ed.) Desperately need to become more self-aware. Thanks man.”
Roemer believes that “Desi” Bouterse should not be sentenced to prison after so many years, because according to her he did a lot for the decolonization of Suriname – in 1975 Suriname became independent from the Netherlands. Former Suriname president and dictator Bouterse was sentenced in absentia to 20 years in prison in 2019 for complicity in the December killings in which 15 of his political opponents were tortured and killed. The lawsuit is still pending because he filed an opposition. Furthermore, Potters was previously convicted in Holland for his involvement in the transportation of Coke.
Author Astrid Roemer continues to be the laureate of the Dutch Literature Prize because the authors’ personal views are not taken into account when evaluating their work. Although the committee is bored of its opinion. “We find Mrs. Roemer’s statements so inappropriate that it is inappropriate to continue with the ceremonial award ceremony.”
Roemer leaves a comment for the Dutch news hour She still stands behind her statements. “The fact that the awards ceremony won’t take place is heartbreaking,” Romer says. There were protests during the party and I don’t want my guests to feel bad. It is also a gift that will not be given because I will feel burdened in court.”
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