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Minister Stef Blok: ‘Suriname is a failed state due to ethnic division’

Leestijd: 5 minuten

According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stef Blok, Suriname is a  'failed state' and 'that is mainly due to ethnic division.' This became clear from film clips obtained by television programme ZEMBLA. Blok made this statement on Tuesday of last week in The Hague during a meeting with Dutch citizens working for international organisations. The source, from which ZEMBLA received the clips, said that many in the audience were ‘shocked’ by what Blok said that afternoon. The source wishes to remain anonymous.

Multicultural
The clips showed Blok discussing topics including xenophobia and the fear of migrants with an audience of some eighty members at the meeting, the so-called 'Touch Dutch Base'.

Blok said that he was not aware of any multicultural country in the world in which people live together peacefully. "Give me an example, of a multi-ethnic or multicultural society, where the original population are still living as well. (...) And where there are peaceful community relations. I’m not aware of any."

The Minister also said that his staff had been given the task to investigate whether such a society exists.

In response to someone in the room who mentioned Suriname as an example, Blok stated: "So parties in Suriname are not divided along ethnic lines? A functioning rule of law and democracy? (...)  Suriname is a failed state. And that is mainly due to ethnic division."

Cleaning
Another audience member suggested Singapore. "Singapore is indeed a small mini-country, extremely selective in its migration. Extremely selective. It is very difficult to “get in”. They don’t allow any poor migrants in. Well, maybe for cleaning."

Turkish baker
Blok also confronted those present with his 'approach as administrator'. According to the Minister, every society will quickly 'reach its limits' if too many migrants arrive. "That’s why I also say: I understand the people in Amsterdam-West and the Schilderswijk (in The Hague, ed.). Because if you live in Benoordenhout, it’s really great to be able to nip to the Turkish baker on a Sunday. You don’t suffer from any of the side effects. But if you’re surrounded by them, you suffer greatly."

 Genes
The Minister stated that it was genetically determined that people like to operate in groups in which people are similar and that’s why we find it difficult get along with strangers. "This probably lies somewhere deep-seated in our genes; that we want to have a clear group, to hunt with or to maintain a village. And that we don’t find it easy to make connections with people who are unfamiliar to us," stated the Minister.

Eastern Europe
Blok thinks that it will not be possible to make agreements with Eastern European countries within the EU about accepting refugees. The Minister said: "I don’t think it will be possible at central European level to oblige every country to accept an equal number of refugees. Eastern European countries will never agree to that."

He also thinks that agreements with Eastern European countries shouldn’t be forced because, according to him, 'coloured people' don’t have any chance of a normal life there.  "Imagine if we forced them and they say yes, then still... If you were to walk around the streets in Warsaw or Prague, there would simply be no coloured people. These people leave within a week. They’re probably literally beaten up. They have no life there."

Response Minister Blok
Asked for a response, Minister Blok stated: "On 10 July, I had a discussion in a closed meeting with Dutch citizens working for international organisations. My aim was to stimulate an open exchange and to hear the participants’ experiences. My contribution during the question & answer session of the meeting partly was aimed in part at sparking a reaction from the audience. During the closed meeting, I used illustrations that could come across as badly chosen in the public debate."

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