Can an apology heal the harm left by slavery? | The Stream

Can an apology heal the harm left by slavery? | the stream

Al Jazeera English published this video item, entitled “Can an apology heal the harm left by slavery? | The Stream” – below is their description.

The Netherlands has formally apologised for the 250 years it used slave labour, exploiting more than 600,000 people of African and Asian descent in its former colonies.

​​“For centuries, the Dutch state and its representatives have enabled and stimulated slavery and have profited from it,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a nationally televised speech on Monday.

“It is true that nobody alive today bears any personal guilt for slavery … [however] the Dutch state bears responsibility for the immense suffering that has been done to those that were enslaved and their descendants.”

In an effort to heal the wounds of the past, the government also plans to open a slavery museum and establish a fund to promote awareness about the Netherlands’ role in the slave trade.

The move comes at a time when more European institutions are attempting to reckon with the colonial past and their roles in the transatlantic slave trade. Since the spread of Black Lives Matter demonstrations in 2020, mayors of major Dutch cities including Amsterdam have apologised and acknowledged how their institutions have benefitted from slavery.

But critics are concerned that a formal apology will have little real-world impact and say the Dutch government’s plan is flawed because descendants of enslaved people have not been consulted in the process.

In this episode of The Stream, we’ll look at the issues and challenges surrounding formal apologies for slavery.

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About This Source - Al Jazeera English

The video item below is a piece of English language content from Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera is a Qatari state-funded broadcaster based in Doha, Qatar, owned by the Al Jazeera Media Network.

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In This Story: Netherlands

The Netherlands, informally Holland, is a country primarily located in Western Europe and partly in the Caribbean, forming the largest constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In Europe, it consists of 12 provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with those countries and the United Kingdom. In the Caribbean, it consists of three special municipalities: the islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. The country’s official language is Dutch, with West Frisian as a secondary official language in the province of Friesland, and English and Papiamentu as secondary official languages in the Caribbean Netherlands. Dutch Low Saxon and Limburgish are recognised regional languages (spoken in the east and southeast respectively), while Sinte Romani and Yiddish are recognised non-territorial languages.

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