Walking Stories

Cover 'Walking Stories'Lisa, a fragile Indonesian woman, walked along the paths of Saint Anthony’s park. Saint Anthony is a mental hospital. Lisa was dressed in red, yellow and blue; I was looking at a painting of Mondriaan, of which the colours could cheer someone up on a grey Dutch day. She had put on all her clothes and she carried the rest of her belongings in a grey garbagebag. She looked like she was being hunted, mumbling formulas to avert the evil or the devils. I could not understand her words, but she repeated them with the rustling of her garbage bag on the pebbles of the path.

When she arrived at an intersection of two paths where low rose hips were blossoming, she stopped and went into the bushes. She lifted all her skirts and urinated; standing as a colourful flower amidst the green of the bushes and staring into the sky. A passer-by from the village where Saint Anthony’s has its headquarters would probably have pretended not to see her, knowing that Lisa was one of the ‘chronic mental patients’ of the wards. Or, urinating so openly in the park may be experienced as a ‘situational improperty’, but as many villagers told me: ‘They do odd things, but they cannot help it.’ The passer-by would not have known that Lisa was a ‘walking story’, that she had ritualised her walks in order to control the powers that lie beyond her control. Lisa was diagnosed with ‘schizophrenia’ and she suffered from delusions. When she had an acute psychosis, she needed medication to relieve her anxiety. Her personal story was considered as a symptom of her illness. That was, in a nutshell, the story of the psychiatrists of the mental hospital. Her own story was different. Lisa was the queen of the Indies and she had to have offspring to ensure that her dynasty would be preserved. She believed at that day that she was pregnant and that the magicians would come and would take away her unborn baby with a needle. To prevent the abortion, she had to take refuge in the park and carry all her belongings with her.

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Rose Mary Allen ~ The Complexity Of National Identity Construction In Curaçao, Dutch Caribbean



Abstract: Curaçao currently stands at a crossroad of constitutional reform. In the context of these changes at the political level, it is logical that national identities are being redefined and repositioned. The developments in the fashioning of national identities in Curaçao deserve attention locally but also regionally. How do people in Curaçao construct national identities in daily life? How is a national collective constructed on the one hand, and how are differences with other collectivities constructed on the other hand? The historical context of constitutional changes that have occurred over the years is considered as well as an examination of the present discourse on constitutional reform. These identity issues are then placed within a wider Caribbean context. Keywords: constitutional changes, construction national identity, Curaçao, diaspora, cross regional analysis.

Curaçao, one of the five islands of the Dutch Caribbean federation called the Netherlands Antilles, currently stands at a crossroad of constitutional reform. In this new context, Curaçaoan notions of national1 identity are being re-examined, reconstructed and reclaimed. In Curaçao, discussions about national identity are centred on the concept of Yu di Kòrsou. Translated from the local Creole language Papiamentu, this literally means: Child of Curaçao. In the debate about identity, the crucial questions are: Who is a Yu di Kòrsou and who is not? What characterizes the Yu di Kòrsou and, by extension, what is authentic Curaçaoan culture and what is a ‘good’ Yu di Kòrsou?

Read more (PDF-format): http://www.cedla.uva.nl/ALLEN.pdf


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