Opinion: The writing on the wall

POSTED: 09/10/14 7:15 AM

Election results never make everybody happy. The UP’s victory turned to nothing real quick, when the other three parties signed an agreement before the sun came up on Saturday, August 30. But in politics like in life – it is what it is.

One disappointed voter – or maybe it was a group of voters, we don’t know – used the wall that fences off the property of the government administration building – to send a message. You really have to stand in front of that wall and have a good pair of eyes to be able to read it, but it is there.

Under the heading Election Results it reads: Theo out – new hospital gone. Macamba say no Theo – William, Sarah and Frans say yes massa. Frans buy votes but DP say we selling our soul to get in government. Indian and Chinese in power – 6-month contract here to stay. Better must come – Theo will be back.

Is this graffiti artist frustrated? We guess so. Using his (or her, who knows?) right to freedom of expression, the graffitioso nailed his declaration to a wall of the government building, the way Martin Luther hammered his 95 theses on the power of efficacy and indulgences on the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany, almost 500 years ago on October 31, 1517.

But unlike Luther, whose theses sparked the Protestant Reformation, our graffitioso will have to settle for less. Sure, Theo is out – but out of where? He is still a Member of Parliament and as local history has shown, governments have a tough time to serve for four years straight. The thing is, it takes two to tango, so considering political prudency, it is not wise to antagonize politicians Theo might need later to form a coalition of his own.

New hospital gone? Why is that suddenly an issue? The UP has heralded the arrival of a new hospital. On closer scrutiny, that pipe dream looked an awful lot like the expansion plans the hospital has on its website – but maybe that’s just the way we’re looking at it.

The macamba reference is interesting. The dictionary defines a makamba as “a tropical American feather palm having a swollen spiny trunk and edible nuts.”

Arubaplaza.com has a different explanation: “On Aruba the Dutch are often referred to as ‘Macamba’. A word that is usually used in a negative way. The story behind this word is (or so they say) as follows:
Small fish that were used by local fisherman as bait where called Macamba’s. They caught them by throwing nets into the sea from land, and used them to fish for bigger fish further and deeper out to sea. When the first colonists arrived on Aruba they were as white as those fish and were referred to as ‘they who are as white as a Macamba’. Later the term ‘Arucamba’ was added for those born on Aruba but who lived most of their life in Holland.” Nothing about edible nuts in that definition, so that’s at least something to be grateful for.

It is tempting to think that our graffitioso has something against Dutch people – and that’s fine. There is no law that says everybody has to like the Dutch. The underlying vibe is rather negative though and points to someone with an exclusive, rather than an inclusive agenda for country St. Maarten.

While the UP is still reeling from the 2010 election fraud case, this piece of graffiti points fingers at USp leader Frans Richardson as the one who is buying votes. We’d say: you must have quite a nerve to throw such unsubstantiated rumors around. Frans may call this slander.

The remark that “Indian and Chinese” are in power is so baseless that one has to wonder whether our graffitioso actually managed to graduate from Kindergarten or that he has to do his year again.

Graffiti on someone else’s property is a form of vandalism that often goes unpunished. In this particular case, it is remarkable that nobody noticed anything, because we’d think that the security camera that is attached to the corner of the police station building must have recorded the graffiti artist. Maybe it’s time to review that recording and figure out who is responsible for this stuff.


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