Published On: Mon, Apr 16th, 2018

Caribbean ‘Think Book’ for May 4 and 5 launches

bookWILLEMSTAD - Parera naval base in Curaçao was the scene for the presentation of Caribbean Think Book – for 4 and 5 May. The publication (in three language editions) has been designed to explain to Dutch Caribbean students the impact of World War II on their islands and what the meaning and importance of National Remembrance Day (May 4) is.

The book is meant for groups 7 and 8 of elementary schools and the first grade of preparatory vocational education.
Curaçao Governor Lucille George-Wout, Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath and Minister of Education Marilyn Alcala-Wallé were in attendance.

As St. Eustatius historian Walter Hellebrand said he was asked to advise on the book’s text from a Windward Islands’ perspective, and contributed information and illustrations for St. Eustatius, he was invited for the launch.

Hellebrand said the publication is an initiative of the National May 4 and 5 Committee and will be distributed in Dutch, Papiamentu and English. The accompanying teacher’s manual has also been printed in these three languages.

National Remembrance Day is observed throughout the Dutch Kingdom to commemorate the victims of World War II, and to underline the importance of the defence of freedom.

However, Hellebrand explained that the Committee felt it was necessary to reinstall this notion and its meaning with the youth. In a creative and interactive way, the book informs them about the War, and challenges them to think about what freedom – and being deprived of it – means.
Against the backdrop of the Navy support vessel Zr. Ms. Pelikaan, Navy Commander for the Caribbean Region Brigadier General Peter Jan de Vin welcomed the audience, including students of three Curaçao schools.

Committee board member Kilian Wawoe gave a touching rendering of the conversation with his father who experienced the War as a child in Curaçao, Hellebrand said. The message his father wanted to pass on to the children was: “Curaçao was always there to help the European Netherlands in times of need.”

He thanked the contributors from the other islands, Hellebrand among them, for their cooperation.

Project coordinator Saskia Luckmann introduced the joint performance of students of the three schools. It was obvious they had been asked what the theme of freedom meant to them, because they came up with statements such as “No more bullying,” and “No more hitting.”
In her speech, Governor George-Wout touched on what seemed to be the common theme: “Freedom is not a given, you have to make an effort for it.”

She also referenced to the struggle for freedom of the slaves on Curaçao and the Jews who came to the island because they were persecuted elsewhere.

“Mistakes of the past have the tendency to repeat themselves. Freedom does not come naturally. You have to work on it. So, I welcome this initiative to make the youth aware of that,” the Governor said.

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