The atheist versus believer discussion

The other day I came across a long discussion on a popular social media platform between an atheist and a believer. Both were devoutly fanatical and convinced to be able to “save” the other from damnation. Frankly, it was a very unnerving exchange.

These “shouting matches” have been raging forever in houses of worship, media outlets and have found a wider audience on the internet. This particular interaction made me recall a story a Buddhist monk told me a few years ago just outside a temple in Yangon, the former capital of Myanmar. See photo.

“About 2,600 years ago a group of people congregated one morning in a remote village to listen to Lord Buddha, Gautama Siddhartha. A man stood up and asked the Buddha if there is God. Known for his long answers, this time he spoke emphatically however: ‘There is no God’. In the evening Lord Buddha spoke in a neighboring village and was asked by another person: ‘Is there God’. He answered: ‘Yes, there is God’. After the session was concluded a Bodhisattva who always accompanied Lord Buddha asked him why he had flip-flopped. He answered: ‘Why would I flip-flop? If you believe there is God, or if you believe there is no God, you believe in something you do not know. You believe this, the other believes that. What difference does it make? Everyone can believe whatever he wants whether or not it is based on facts'”.

Now, do I think this story is real? I don’t know, there is no way of establishing that. Yet it tells us more about ourselves than anything else.

This above mentioned social media discussion is more about classifying people in “good boxes” and “bad boxes”. But, as soon as you do that, you divide the world. Firstly, how did you become good? Where did you get the idea that you’re good ? Chances are you’ve compared yourself with other people based on color, sex, religion, origin, sexual preference and labeled them as bad. And, now you feel good and liberated.

You may ask where I stand on this issue. Is there God? For me it’s an absolute irrelevant question. More relevant would be for example to ask why we create God(s) or deities? India has over 300,000. Maybe both sides need to be honest about what we would expect to see if God(s) do(es) or do(es) not exist. What would we have reached? Certainly not the end of social injustice, discrimination, global warming and all kinds of misery we confront on a daily basis.

Willemstad, Curaçao

Kapasidat di dirigentenan vs. struktura estatal

Un bista den nos historia ta demostrá ku semper a mira struktura estatal komo e solushon pa nos reto i problemanan. Despues di konkista, Hulandesnan a dirihí nos komo un entidat (semi)hurídiko (i no komo un propiedat privá) primeramente for di Recife, despues Nieuw Nederland i despues Amsterdam. Rònt di 1804 ta organisá nos den un Raad van Policie. Di 1816-1828) e seis islanan ta bira dos kolonia separá (Kolonie Curaçao i Kolonie Sint Eustatius). Di 1820-1845 e dos kolonianan ta djòin kolonia Sürnam ku un sólo Gobernadó na Paramaribo. Di 1828-1833 ta kombertí isla Kòrsou den un munisipio. No satisfecho ku e islanan Hulandes, na 1845 ta hinka tur seis den un sólo konstelashon konosí bou di vários nòmber: 1. Curaçao, 2. Curaçao en Onderhoorige Eylanden, 3. Staatsdeel Curaçao 4. Gebiedsdeel Curaçao i 5. Nederlandse Antillen.

For di despues di Statüt (1954), nos ta esnan ku a kreativo. Ya na 1955 Gezaghebber di Boneiru, Weis de Hasseth ta pidi Konseho Insular para (parsialmente) e outonomia ku Boneiru a kaba di haña pasombra “outonomia lo hiba Boneiru atras”. E ta proponé hasi Boneiru parti di teritorio insular di Kòrsou òf un Federale district van de Nederlandse Antillen.

Despues no tabatin un smak di eiskrim ku nos no a purba: Nieuwe Unie, Mankomunidat, Federashon Kòrsou-Boneiru, Provinsia, Estado Liber i Asosiá, UPG, Munisipalidat, Directe Banden, Koninkrijkseiland, Antia Nobo, Antia Restrukturá, Integrashon den Venezuela, Independensia i loke final di kuenta nos tin, esta Kòrsou Outónomo den Reino for di 2010.

Ketu bai nos ta buska e struktura estatal perfekto, e remedi mágiko ku somehow lo resolvé tur problema ku ni sikiera ta di índole konstitushonal: enseñansa, infrastruktura, mentalidat di kompleho, struktura ekonómiko antikuá, falta di konekshon komershal global.

Na 1938 durante di e delaster reunion di Koloniale Raad, su Presidente, Sr. Jossy Henriquez, a atvertí ku kos no ta drecha ku un struktura nobo. Avanse ta dependé prinsipalmente riba kapasidat di esnan ku ta manehá e struktura.

Garantisá ku e kartanan konosí di defisiensa demokrátiko den Reino (pero no ta papia di nos mes defisiensia demokrátiko), sklabitut, West Indische Compagnie, Calvinisme, i tur tipo di viktimalisashon lo aparesé. Enbes di wak otro den kara i akseptá nos fayonan, nos debilidatnan i traha duru pa bai dilanti.

Willemstad, Kòrsou

Until everybody is safe, nobody is safe: The case for vaccinating

UNTIL EVERYBODY IS SAFE, NOBODY IS SAFE is a United Nations’ slogan which makes the case for vaccinating everyone around the world. Failure to vaccinate prolongs the pandemic—with all the massive social, health and economic costs that entails—and allow new possibly vaccine-resistant variants to flourish, putting everybody back in danger.

We’ve seen new COVID-19 cases here in Curaçao drop dramatically, but we cannot lean back. We have to stay vigilant. Many countries struggle because they haven’t been able to get their hands on the COVID-19 vaccines. We, on the other hand are among the fortunate ones to have vaccines for everyone. Why should we care about what goes on elsewhere? COVID-19 has taught us—at a terrible human cost—that we all live on a interconnected planet and our fate is in each others’ hands.

We cannot lean back either whilst false information is leading to people hesitating to take the vaccine. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that those hardest hit by the pandemic are often those most likely to be skeptical of vaccination. Here we have to double our efforts to try to dispel some of the vaccine myths which are a real threat to public health, i.e. the health of everybody. A study by the University of Illinois this year found that 63% of vaccine-sceptic people changed their minds after reading/watching news reports about people who had already been successfully vaccinated. The study also found that people are more likely to be hesitant when politicians talk about the need to vaccinate or contact them directly with information on how to get vaccinated. Now is probably the time to stop pointing fingers at the antivaccine movement, and change our communication strategy.

Willemstad, Curaçao

For di 1945 nos a pidi pa no pone nos riba lista di dekolonisashon

Foto (UN): Alexander Loudon ta firma e Karta di UN na nòmber di Reino Hulandes. Su tras, di dos na man robes, John Horris Sprockel.

Vários ta riba e trein pa denunsiá Hulanda di a faya ku e proseso di dekolonisashon di Nashonnan Uní (UN). Por tuma nota di un seri di (mal)informashon di e eventonan na 1955 ku a kondusí ku awe nos no ta riba e famoso lista ku tur ta papia di dje, lista di paisnan ku mester dekolonisá.

Mayoria no ta konsiente ku for di 1945 nos pais a deklará di no ta un kolonia i nunka a subi e lista original di paisnan ku mester dekolonisá. Ta bon pa tuma nota ku pa kambia di status polítiko (uso di outodeterminashon) bo no mester ta riba un lista. Na 2011 South Sudan a bira independiente. Na 1975 e Reinado di Sikkim a disidí ku e no ke ta independiente mas i a integrá den India. Ningun lista a stroba nan. Ta bon pa esnan ku ta skòp Hulanda sa ku si bo ke bira independiente òf provinsia, djis kombensé un mayoria di pueblo via di un referèndum.

Ban pa 1945. Durante di e konferensia na San Fransisco pa lanta UN, a diskutí status di paisnan sin gobernashon propio. Nos pais tabata representá pa Sr. John Horris Sprockel, Presidente di Staten pa Curaçaosche Roomsch Katholieke Partij (CRKP). Normalmente ta lider di CRKP, mr. dr. da Costa Gomez (Dòktor) tabata bai konferensianan internashonal, pero pa rasonnan polítiko e no a bai. Na momentu di e konferensia ku por sierto a dura 2 luna, Dòktor tabata okupá ku Partido Demokrat ku a kaba di lanta na desèmber 1944 i tabata mustra di lo a bari den elekshon pa Staten na 1945.

Na San Francisco Sr. Sprockel ta keda nombrá den e poderoso supkomishon responsabel pa diseñá e International Trusteeship ku e meta:”[to] promote the political, economic and social advancement of the non-self-governing territories and their development towards self-government and self-determination.” E paso aki tabata esensial pasombra a kaba di kita tur kolonia di e paisnan ku a pèrdè di Dos Guera Mundial i a pone nan bou di responsabilidat di komunidat internashonal.

Na momentu ku algun delegado di otro paisnan a puntra nos pa keda inkluí, i asta a bisa di ta dispuesto pa kambia/amplia e diseño di e International Trusteeship pa inkluí Antia Hulandes, Sr. Sprockel a bisa ku esaki no mester: “The Kingdom of The Netherlands is far more ahead regarding decolonization than what was the initial goals of the UN Trusteeship”.

Dòktor despues den vários reunion di Staten ta deklará ku outonomia ta na kaminda i ku no tabatin sentido pa keda inkluí riba lista di UN. Nos pais ta haña gobernashon propio na 1951.

Willemstad, Kòrsou

“Curaçao’s Belang bij San Francisco” 28 yüli 1945; Notulen Staten van Curaçao 1945-1946

‘Taalunie’ Papiamentu/o

Kasi un dékada atras mi a lansa e idea di un union di idioma pa loke ta trata Papiamentu/Papiamento (Taalunie Papiaments) ku lo mester enserá e islanan Aruba-Boneiru i Kòrsou. Pa falta di interes di e koalishon ku mi tabata forma parti di dje, e idea a keda te einan. Un idea ku nunka a keda investigá.

Un union di idioma normalmente tei pa desaroyá i stimulá maneho ku e meta pa hasi nos idioma mas fuerte. Esaki dor di konseho, stardardisashon, aplikashon den enseñansa, investigashon, modernisashon i kon atendé (mi no kier men eliminá) desviashon di idioma riba e diferente islanan. Praktikamente tur union di idioma (manera esun di idioma Hulandes) tin komo meta pa atendé ku e kuestion di desviashon.

Mi no ta ligwista, ni mi ta pretendé di ta unu. Lokual si mi ta kombensí di dje komo un globalista, ta ku union riba sièrto terenonan ta deseabel, prinsipalmente ora tuma nota ku segun Nashonnan Uní den último 70 aña mas ku 230 idioma a desaparesé for di mundu. Huntu ku e idiomanan aki tambe un sèt di èkspreshon kultural a evaporá pa semper. Un union ABC di idioma Papiamentu/o ta sumamente nesesario pa konservá i elevá nos idioma komun. Tambe e por bira e chispa pa mas koperashon strukturá entre e islanan ABC.

Willemstad, Kòrsou

Formation: Pause and rewind

We’re daily bombarded by news, news-ish and plain garbage. Yes, I know that we live in the so-called ‘information age’. The problem is however that we do not give ourselves the time to digest the information received, but rather jump to the next barrage of stories that’s unleashed. News outlets are not interested in sorting through the deluge, but are rather preoccupied with exclusivity, breaking news and of course the financial bottomline. What are we to do? As consumers of information we need a pause and rewind button in order to reflect back on the newsfeed, understand what it means and extract knowledge from it. Nowhere is this more obvious than what’s happening with the chaotic formation process since 19 March. The protagonists are in total confusion and are being played, left and right. Not because the opponents are so smart, but because of self-inflicted wounds. What the protagonists need now is to be transparent, to live up to their values, and perhaps most importantly, self-advocacy. What’s going on right now will surely end in humiliation.

Willemstad, Curaçao

Kreando un generashon nobo di adikto: ‘vaping’

31 di mei ta Dia Internashonal Sin Tabako. Tabako i nikotina mundialmente ta mata 8 mion hende pa aña, inkluso 1,2 mion no-humadó ku ta inhalá huma i nikotina di e humadó. Apesar ku a logra konsientisá tokante dañonan di tabako, kompanianan a haña un otro manera pa prinsipalmente hóbennan bira adikto na nikotina: sigaria-elektróniko òf ‘vaping’. Awor mas ku nunka mester di regulashon i lei kontra ‘vaping’.

Algun aña pasá komo Parlamentario mi a introdusí un lei kontra humamentu den lugánan será ku e meta pa protehá e no-humadó. Tambe mi a laga legislashon atras na 2016 pa etikèt obligatorio ku ta atvertí pa peliger di morto di produktonan di tabako i nikotina i un di dos tokante edat mínimo pa kumpradó di e produktonan aki. Ta di spera ku ta tuma akshon pronto.

Akseptashon di e lei kontra humamentu den lugánan será a surpasá tur èkspektativa.

Negoshinan involví den tabako i nikotina a haña un otro manera pa introdusí nikotina den kurpa humano, esta ‘vaping’ . ‘Vaping’ ta tuma lugá ku un aparato di bateria ku ta kenta un líkido konteniendo nikotina i krea vapor (‘stoom’) ku seguidamente e humadó ta inhalá. ‘Vaping’ ta relativamente nobo i no ta den e lei pa protehá e no-humadó. E tempu ei no tabata tin sifranan definitivo kon malu ‘vaping’ di nikotina ta.

Awe ta sientífikamente probá ku ‘vaping’ ta malu pa salú pasombra e ta kousa malesa króniko ku ta afektá pulmon i kurason. Sigaria elektróniko ku ta kontené nikotina i sigaria konvenshonal ta mesun adiktivo. ‘Vaping’ ta keda merkadiá na hóbennan komo algu ‘super cool’ i esaki lo sòru pa hinter un generashon nobo bira adikto na nikotina. Rason sufisiente pa polítika, sektor di kuido i instanshanan pa prevení kanser bini huntu pa atendé ku e frontera nobo di adikshon na nikotina.

Ta di spera ku ‘decion makers’ i ‘influencers’ den nos komunidat konsientisá riba e peligernan di morto prematuro di ‘vaping’. Nos mester di lei i regulashon riba e tereno aki. I pronto.

Willemstad, Kòrsou

Kon haltu e lata di ‘screening’ (integridat) mester ta?

Tabata 2016. Mi a keda invitá na un enkuentro soshal kaminda e ‘who’s who’ di Kòrsou tabata presente. Di aleu mi a mira un persona ku semper ta papia di beisbòl ku mi, reis bin den mi direkshon. Numa e biaha aki no pa mama gai di New York Yankees, pero pa kuestioná mi karta pa minister Presidènt (AD, 22 mei 2016) tokante algun miembro di Konseho di Konsulta (Raad van Advies, RvA) ku a keda menshoná den Panama Papers. Panama Papers a èksponé un sèt di ilegalidat den kompanianan offshore sekreto.

Kasi histériko e persona aki (ku un tempu tabata den RvA): “Pakiko bo a hasié Alex? Bo a hasi daño na pais i hasi imposibel pa atraé hende bai traha pa RvA.” Ami: “Pasombra mi ta kere ku e lata di integridat di RvA mester ta mas haltu ku e promedio. Final di kuenta ta S.E. Gobernador ta na kabes di RvA.”

I einan mi ke bai. Kon haltu e lata di integridat mester ta? No mester ta un sorpresa ku e polítiko ku a haña su mes envolví ku hustisia òf kuestionamentu ta opiná ku e lata mester ta meskos p’e ku ‘Jan Modaal’.

Pero, e lata di integridat no mester ta mas haltu ku normal ora ta trata posishonnan klave den nos komunidat manera den kaso di un parlamentario òf minister? A kaso integridat ta solamente un kuestion di tene bo mes na lei i regla? Òf e mester inkluí norma, balor, moral i fatsún?

Ta parse ku integridat i ‘screening’ ta bon ora e ta konta pa otro hende i no pa nos mes. Nos a mira ku ora a resultá ku e lei di ‘screening’ a pone ku un minister a drenta un ‘deal’ ku Ministerio Públiko i akspetá su infrakshon en bes di bai Korte i pleita su inosensia, ke kore kambia e lei.

Irespekto e resultado di e proseso aktual di screening, e bosnan pa kambia lei i baha e lata di integridat, lo oumentá. T’esei nos ke? Pone e lata di integridat te na suela? No ta un señal di madures si nos sòru pa e lata aki ta mas haltu posibel i asta un dia yega ku ni mester di ‘screening’ pasombra tur partido i kandidato a komprondé e importansia di integridat pa un demokrasia i bon gobernashon?

Willemstad, Curaçao

Promé polémika kandidato pa minister di Ekonomia

Diskushon manera tin aktualmente rònt di e kandidato pa minister di Ekonomia no ta nobo. Mi no ta komentá e kaso aktual, pero ta trata e promé kontroversia den historia tokante un kandidato pa minister, esta Sr. F. Karner pa e kartera di ekonomia den Gabinete (Dòktor) da Costa Gomez na 1952, esta leu promé ku lei di ‘screening’.

E di dos elekshon pa Staten di Antia a base di derechi di voto universal tabata riba 21 desèmber 1950 i e Staten a sinta riba 21 febrüari 1951. Gabinete da Costa Gomez tabata konsistí di: Partido Nashonal (PNP), Arubaanse Volkspartij (AVP), Katholieke Volkspartij (KVP) i Curaçaose Onafhankelijkpartij (COP). Riba 17 aprel 1951 Staten konforme su tarea a ‘screen’ i aprobá tur minister.

Vakminister di Ekonomia, Cecil Delvalle, ta anunsiá su retiro komienso di febrüari 1952 i Dòktor ta proponé kandidato F. Karner un profeshonal di sektor privá. Protesta a surgi pasombra Karner a nase na Oustria. Ounke ku Karner a nashonalisá bira Hulandes no tabata konsider’é Hulandes ‘outéntiko’. Den e reunion di Staten riba 14 di febrüari 1952 pa ‘screen’ e kandidato, emoshonnan tabata haltu. Korant Amigoe a yama esaki e siguiente dia “een weinig opbeurende vertoning”. Segun nótulonan algun parlamentario a konsiderá nombramentu di un Oustríako un paso atras den nos outonomia (optené na 1951). Pa otronan, e papel di Oustria den di Dos Guera Mundial na banda di Alemania, tabata motibu pa deskualifik’é.

Dòktor a trata na tur manera splika dikon mester pone e mihó hòmber na e puesto i ku outonomia no ta kuestion di èkskluí hende. Ora di vota a resultá ku Dòktor no por a kombensé tur ku tabata sostené su Gobièrnu. Karner ta keda nombrá ku un base smal, 10 voto na fabor i 7 kontra.

Willemstad, Kòrsou

Pakiko tantu helengue pa despues bisa ku ta negoshá?

Ta resultá ku ta sigi negoshá ku Hulanda tokante Coho. Pakiko tur e helengue di Plan B, histeria tokante chantahe i menasa di parti skòp. Akaso esei a yuda nos posishon di negosashon?

Kiko tabata e Plan B ku e dos partidonan a anunsiá ku lo hasi yudansa Hulandes superfluho? Lógika ta bisa ku pa konkluí ku no mester di plaka di Hulanda, mester tin su tras hinter un análisis sostené pa sifra. Esaki no a sosodé. A gaña nos.

Mientras tantu e ‘score’ Kòrsou-Hulanda ta na fabor di Hulanda sin sikiera ku e a mishi ku e bala. Nos a presta di hinka algun outogol, hasiendo nos mes ridíkulo i debilitando nos situashon.

Alentador ta ku ta bai negoshá ku Hulanda. Por sierto meskos mi a bisa na un foro organisá pa Partido Nashonal (PNP) fin di ougùstùs 2020( knops/: “Te awor no tin un mihó alternativa pa e oferta di Hulanda. Apesar ku na mi manera di mira e pakete no ta sólido, nos no mester rechas’é.”

Tambe mi a remarká ku nos no mester mira e oportunidat aki di e manera tradishonal di mendigo, esta saka man i pidi mas plaka posibel: “Si nos ke mira e pakete aki komo unu pa desaroyo, manera ami ke mir’é, Kòrsou mester pone su stèmpel di vishon di desaroyo.”

Mi a enfatisá ku pa nos logra mester sinta na mesa ku Hulanda: “[..] mi ta kere ku nos mester por dialogá ku Den Haag i hasi di e pakete di Hulanda un pakete di nos, un pakete ku ta sirbi nos den nos afán pa karga nos responsabilidat [komo pais outónomo].”

Kisas e futuro Fòrti por siña di mr. dr. Moises da Costa Gomez (Dòktor). Apenas e promé Konferensia di Mesa Rondó (RTC) a start na komienso 1948, partido Demokrat (DP) ku tabata den e delegashon Antiano, a pone kuchú riba mesa i a eksihí ku si Ulanda no rekonosé nos outonomia, e ta bandoná e RTC. DP ta lanta for di mesa i bai denunsiá Hulanda durante un konferensia regional na Venezuela. Dòktor a keda na mesa. Ora e RTC a tèrminá eksitosamente riba 18 di mart 1948 a keda demostrá ku Dòktor tabatin rason pa bisa ku ta na mesa bo ta prevalesé i no ora bo bandoná esaki. I mi ke añadí ku tampoko bo ta logra dor di papia disparati.

Willemstad, Kòrsou