News and background stories on maroon communities in the Americas.
Ronnie Brunswijk, former leader of the Jungle Commando and current headman of the political party ABOP, has turned to the Saramaccan village of Pokigron at Lake Brokopondo to plead the inhabitants for forgiveness.
In the 1980’s, at the height of the civil war, a rebel patrol under authority of Ronnie Brunswijk attacked the village of Pokigron, burning it to the ground. ,,I wasn’t there myself when it happened”, says Brunswijk, ,,but the attackers were my men. Therefore, I am responsible.”
There is no question as to Brunswijk’s motives regarding this gallant gesture. The councilman, himself of Ndyuka origin, is actively seeking Saramaccan support for ABOP for the upcoming presidential elections in Suriame, which are to be held in May 2010.
To underscore his plea, Brunswijk presented himself to Pokigron wearing the typical bright yellow ABOP is associated with.
Villagers of Pokigron have responded with mixed attitudes towards Brunswijk’s action. Some believe Brunswijk is being untruthful when stating he wasn’t at Pokigron at the time of the attack. ,,It was broad daylight, I saw him there with my own eyes”, says an elderly man.
Others, such as village captain Wilson Godliep, argue that Pokigron should forget about the past and focus on the future.