2010-10-22

mixed feelings about the breakup

The six islands Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, Saba and Sint Maarten used to be grouped together in a Dutch-controlled ‘autonomous country’ called the Netherlands Antilles. Aruba seceded in 1986 and became a separate country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

On October 10th of this year the Netherlands Antilles was dissolved. Curaçao and Sint Maarten became ‘countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.’ Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba each became a ‘special municipality.’

Many people are not thrilled about this reorganization. Norwin E. Leito, writing in the Bonaire Reporter, had this to say:

  In a way we could say that there was a certain feeling of funeral. It is not that there was never a fight between the islands. However, there was still a feeling of “we.” Now it feels as if the family has been torn apart.
  Everyone could see the beautiful fireworks in the sky. But one really could feel the nostalgia among the people. One guy tried to congratulate two other guys who were passing by. But they really did not appreciate this and they said that according to them there was no reason at all for congratulations. They even were ready to fight… There were even some people who could not hold their tears. I am one of those people to be honest. I feel that I have lost my brothers and sisters. In other words: the other islands.

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