The Surinamese president is facing a possible 20 year jail sentence for the murder of 15 intellectuals during his military regime in the 1980’s. During his first term as president, the parliament voted a new law and granted him amnesty. Really cool, isn’t it. Now he should be able to reign without any concern and walk away from the consequences of his actions all those years ago. Whether he is the one who shot them or not, he was the leader of the country and no one else can be held more accountable for what went on in that time.
But no. He had to appear in court a few times (he never did). So, shortly after the prosecutor proposed the 20 year sentence this week, Bouterse called a meeting with his associates and followers in which he claimed that God is the one who put him in the presidential seat and that the judge cannot remove him.
In a sense, he is right though. The bible says that a people gets the leaders that reflect it. Bouterse’s name is also linked to drug trafficking. He led a dictatorship in the 1980’s and is also seen as someone who wants to get away with murder and with that injustice. I am not saying that the Surinamese people is one that is unjust and wants to get away with crime. But as a people, what are we exactly? A lot of us are hardworking. But many of us still like the idea of fast money making (not unique to Suriname). What I am saying is that we are not a clean slate people. Many of us want change, but we will be the first to jeopardize our own chance at it. We have elected someone we could recognize as one of us, that was worthy of leading us to change and a brighter future. Do many of us even know what we want? Simple things as maintenance of the things we have built is already an issue. How can we achieve anything great together if that is the case?
Bouterse is a socialist all the way through. The idea(l) of socialism is indeed one that I applaud. But it seems to be a curse. Looking throughout history, the destruction that follows socialist regimes is evident throughout all continents. There is always something that goes wrong and unfortunately I don’t think the world has learned from the past at all.
And now, Bouterse, claiming that the judicial system cannot remove him because God himself made him president. I am not sure what God he is talking about. I understand that as a leader you have to stand strong and not waver too fast. But man, your people is suffering. I also understand that some challenges will remain the same, no matter what government is seated. But president Bouterse seems to believe in his own failures. He seems really disconnected from the people, sadly. Governments are a crazy thing. There will always be room for them and their friends to gain more. More money, more power at the expense of the people, no matter who is seated. Some governments manage to separate the country’s wealth at a more even rate than others. And that is when they are applauded. It is extremely frustrating for people that try to make a living to get to place where all their efforts seem fruitless because the cost of living is getting higher and higher with no real hope of and end to it. Although I don’t believe that we as a people fully understand how to prioritize, but that is a whole different story.
What I don’t understand about the God-statement Bouterse has made is, how can he drag God into this when the efforts he claims to be making, keep failing. I believe that when you walk with God, you will get (very good) direction how to handle your life and the life of those you are responsible for. Where does he leave God in that? Or the president doesn’t fully understand the concept of God. And in that case Desi Bouterse doesn’t understand that God can indeed take him out of the presidential seat.
Being a president is a hard job, especially for someone who is facing criminal sentences. But honesty and transparency can get you through a very good deal of the way. I don’t believe that Suriname as a whole is willing to be honest. Not the government and neither the people. We all get caught up in our emotions and refuse to think straight, all too often. If you ask me, I do not know what will happen or even what is supposed to happen. I do know that as a citizen I can work, prioritize, love (meaning help, sustain where I can) my neighbor. I feel like too many of us depend on the government for a better life. Of course the government is responsible and needs to be held accountable for our development. But some of us are so afraid to step out of our comfort zone, me too and maybe rightfully so.
God is God, no matter who he decides to leave in the presidential seat. God is who I depend on. He will hold the president accountable for his actions in life and me for mine.