SURINAM – SURINAME

Blizu usca reke Surinam u Atlantik-Close to the confluence of the Suriname River and the Atlantic Ocean

Blizu usca reke Surinam u Atlantik-Close to the confluence of the Suriname River and the Atlantic Ocean

Dok na reci Surinam-A dock on the Suriname River

Dok na reci Surinam-A dock on the Suriname River

Dzamija i sinagoga jedna pored druge-The mosque and the synagogue next to each other

Dzamija i sinagoga jedna pored druge-The mosque and the synagogue next to each other

Hindu hram - Hindu temple

Hindu hram – Hindu temple

Hindu hram-Hindu temple

Hindu hram-Hindu temple

Holandska kolonijalna arhitektura-Dutch colonial architecture

Holandska kolonijalna arhitektura-Dutch colonial architecture

Kabinet Predsednika republike-The President's Office

Kabinet Predsednika republike-The President’s Office

Karipska gradnja-Caribbean wooden houses, Gingerbread style

Karipska gradnja-Caribbean wooden houses, Gingerbread style

Katedrala Sv. Petra i Pavla - The St. Peter and Paul Cathedral

Katedrala Sv. Petra i Pavla – The St. Peter and Paul Cathedral

Katedrala Sv. Petra i Pavla-The St. Peter and Paul Cathedral

Katedrala Sv. Petra i Pavla-The St. Peter and Paul Cathedral

Malo utvrdjenje- Fort Zeelandia

Malo utvrdjenje- Fort Zeelandia

Ministrastvo pravde i policije-The Ministry of Justice and Police

Ministrastvo pravde i policije-The Ministry of Justice and Police

Narodna skupstina-The National Assembly

Narodna skupstina-The National Assembly

Paramaribo-istorijske zgrade-Historic buildings in Paramaribo

Paramaribo-istorijske zgrade-Historic buildings in Paramaribo

Paramaribo-scena iz parka-A scene from the park in Paramaribo

Paramaribo-scena iz parka-A scene from the park in Paramaribo

Predsednicka palata-The Presidential Palace

Predsednicka palata-The Presidential Palace

Takmicenje ptica na Trgu nezavisnosti-The Birds Song competition on the Independence Square

Takmicenje ptica na Trgu nezavisnosti-The Birds Song competition on the Independence Square

Unutrasnjost katedrale-The interior of the Cathedral

Unutrasnjost katedrale-The interior of the Cathedral

Velika stara vaga-An old and big beam scale

Velika stara vaga-An old and big beam scale

Vencanje na reci Surinam-The wedding on the Suriname River

Vencanje na reci Surinam-The wedding on the Suriname River

Veseli Surinamci-Cheerful Surinamese guys

Veseli Surinamci-Cheerful Surinamese guys

Zenska biznis grupa-A Women's Business Group

Zenska biznis grupa-A Women’s Business Group

Francuski pisac i filozof Volter, u svom poznatom delu Kandid ili optimizam,
u ironiji na francusko buržoasko društvo XVIII veka, odvodi glavnog junaka
koji se zove Kandid u daleku, obećanu zemlju El Dorado na severu
južnoameričkig kontinenta. Bio je to Surinam, i tada, ali i danas, pojam
veoma dalekog, nepoznatog dela nekog Novog Sveta koji je u delu predstavljen
kao utopija i kontrast tadašnjem evropskom društvu.
Današnji Surinam mogao bi da nosi onu drugu odrednicu – optimizam. On se
oseća još na ulasku u avion za glavni grad Paramaribo (skraćeno Parbo), gde
upoznajete prijatnu mešavinu naroda i rasa, koja spontano uveseljava čitav
aerodrom, pa i ozbiljne carinske službenike koji im ne mogu odoleti. Ipak,
njihova radost kulminira prilikom sletanja aviona i ravna je pobedničkom
golu na odlučujućoj utakmici.
Takvu radost iskazuju i na takmičenju ptica pevačica nedeljom u zoru ili dok
bučno razgovaraju na ulicama Paramariba jednim od mnogobrojnih jezika u ovoj
zemlji, bilo da je to holandski kao glavni, ili kreolski, engleski, hindu,
kineski, indioski, španski, portugalski ili čak surinamski, kao neverovatni
spoj holandskog, engleskog i portugalskog jezika. Ovakva začuđujuća mešavina
jezika i naroda prepliće se na ovom relativno malom prostoru u odnosu na
ostale južnoameričke, dajući mu posebnu čaroliju u kojoj svi podjednako
uživaju. Džamija i sinagoga ovde su jedna pored druge, kao nigde u svetu.
Na najvećem gradskom trgu, ispred predsedničke palate, odvijaju se sve
društvene aktivnosti: koncerti, sportske priredbe mladih, predizborne
kampanje, vašari, do natpevavanja ptica. Neretko mnogi ljudi nose svoju
ptičicu u malom kavezu svuda sa sobom, da bi, potom, spustili kavez na haubu
automobila ili ga okačili na štap u parku i pažljivo slušali glas svog
ljubimca.
Stara karakteristična holandska arhitektura, očuvana ili patinirana,
svrstala je istorijski centar ovog grada u kulturno nasleđe Uneska, čime on
lagano izlazi iz zaborava i postaje turistička destinacija. Stidljivo i
polako i najvećim delom za Holanđane kao njihova bivša kolonija, ali i za
ostali svet, iako me, na pomen ove zemlje, još uvek svi pitaju gde se ona
nalazi. Zgrade raznih ministarstava, kabinet i palata Predsednika, zgrada
Narodne skupštine predstavljaju posebne primerke ove holandsko-karipske
arhitekture, kao i jedna od najlepših katedrala u tom stilu, Svetog Petra i
Pavla. Napravljena je u drvetu i u krem boji sa plavim kitnjastim
ornamentima koji joj daju gotsku dimenziju. Oltar, zidovi, lukovi i strop
katedrale su u punom mahagoniju, što unutra daje osećaj božanske topline.
U centru Paramariba nalazi se park džinovskih palmi Palmentuin, koji je još
uvek duhovno prebivalište lokalnih šamana u kome oni komuniciraju sa svojim
precima. Na tom mestu nekada su se nalazila tri sela do kojih je bio nemoguć
prilaz osim rečnim putem, koji je bio pod kontrolom malog utvrđenja Fort
Zeelandia, ispred koga danas stoji statua holandske kraljice Vilhelmine.
Za razliku od susednih zemalja, Surinam i Gvajana nemaju plaže jer je čitava
njihova obala ogromna močvarna delta u koju se slivaju brojne reke na putu
za Atlantik. Zbog toga su vode najveće reke, koja se naziva takođe Surinam,
naizgled uvek muljevite, iako čiste i prepune ribe. Upravo su one povod zbog
koga delfini preko dana ulaze duboko u reku, gde se često mogu videti kako,
u veseloj igri, iskaču pored čamaca. Negde u daljini, s druge strane reke
koja neodoljivo podseća na Amazon, nalazi se Nju Amsterdam, prva odbrana
teritorije od gusara i osvajača, Engleza i Holanđana koji su se stalno
smenjivali, dok konačno ovi drugi nisu zauvek preovladali.
Današnji Surinamci su potomci tadašnjih vlasnika plantaža šećerne trske i
kafe iz njihovih, kako to pažljivo kažu, drugih porodica afričkog porekla.
Johan i Margarita su dvoje takve dece čije ime nosi plantaža kafe, sa koje
posmatram zalazak sunca nad ogromnom rekom na ulazu u okean.
Oko mene radosni Surinamci ispijaju aromatični rum.

Decembar 2011.
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In his famous work Candide or Optimism, French writer and philosopher
Voltaire, in an ironic take on the French bourgeois society of the 18th
century, takes his main protagonist Candide, to El Dorado, a faraway,
promised land in the North of the South American continent. That was
Suriname, then, as well as today being a synonym for a very far unknown part
of the New World, depicted in his work as utopia and a contrast to the
European society of the time.
Today’s Suriname carries the other meaning of Voltaire’s work – the
optimism. You could feel it already as you enter the airplane on a flight to
the capital Paramaribo (shortened to Parbo), where you meet a pleasant
mixture of peoples and races who all have spontaneous fun, entertaining the
whole airport, including the serious customs officials who cannot resist
them. Yet their joy culminates during the airplane landing and equals that
of a winning goal at a crucial football match.
They display similar joy during the birdsong competition on early Sunday
mornings, or while they talk loudly on Paramaribo streets in one of the many
languages spoken here: whether it is Dutch, as the official language, or
Creole, English, Hindu, Chinese, Amerindian languages, Spanish, Portuguese,
or even Surinamese as an incredible combination of Dutch, English and
Portuguese. This fascinating mixture of peoples and languages in a
relatively small space, compared to other South American countries, creates
a magical atmosphere equally enjoyed by all. Mosque and synagogue stand next
to each other like nowhere else in the world.
In front of the Presidential Palace on the main city square all kinds of
social activities take place: concerts, youth sporting events, election
campaigns, fairs, right through to birdsong competitions. Often people carry
their bird in a small cage wherever they go; then you could see them placing
the cage on a car’s bonnet, or hanging it on a pole in the park, attentively
listening to the singing voice of their pet.
The typical old Dutch architecture, whether restored or neglected, has
helped to classify the historical centre of the capital as a UNESCO World
Heritage Site; that is why it is slowly coming out of oblivion and becoming
a tourist destination. It is becoming a tourist spot slowly and shyly,
mostly for the Dutch for whom this is an ex-colony, but also for the rest of
the world.yet, when I mention Suriname most people still ask me where that
country is. The buildings of various ministries, the Presidential Cabinet
and Palace, the National Assembly, are all examples of the unique
Dutch-Caribbean architecture, and so is one of the most beautiful cathedrals
in that style – Roman Catholic St. Peter and St. Paul’s Cathedral. It is
made of wood in cream colours with picturesque blue ornaments which give it
a gothic feel. The altar, the walls as well as the arches and the ceiling
are all made in full mahogany wood, which gives a feeling of godly warmth
inside the Cathedral.
In the centre of Paramaribo you can find Palmentuin Park with gigantic palm
trees; it is still the spiritual home of the local shamans where they
communicate with their ancestors. In the past this was a location of the
three villages that were accessible only via a river route which was under
the control of a small fort called Fort Zeelandia; today in front of it is a
statue of the Dutch Queen Wilhelmina.
In contrast to the other countries in the region, Suriname and Guyana do not
have beaches, as their entire coastline is a huge marshy delta where many
rivers come together on their route to the Atlantic Ocean. That is why the
waters of the largest river, also called Suriname, always appear muddy, even
though they are clean and abundant with fish. Because of the fish, dolphins
swim deep into the river during the day, where they can be spotted often,
jumping between boats, in and out of the water in frolicking play. Somewhere
in the distance, on the other bank of this river which reminds me so much of
the Amazon, there is New Amsterdam, the country’s first defence against
pirates and invaders, the English and the Dutch, who used to take turns for
a long time, until finally the latter prevailed.
Today’s Surinamese are descendants of the sugar cane and coffee plantation
owners from that period, who belonged to their second, African families, as
they like to say considerately. Johan and Margarita are two such children
whose names were given to a coffee plantation where I sit watching the
sunset above a huge river which flows into the Ocean.
All around me the cheerful Surinamese drink aromatic rum.

December 2011

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