Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Is Amsterdam Bijlmer turning into a ghetto?


It seems like a ghetto disease, but just like East London also Amsterdam Bijlmer is turning into an American ghetto. Amsterdam Bijlmer is a neighboorhood in the city district Amsterdam South-East, it's the district where large Antillean, Surinam and African communities live.

The latest incident was the killing of a nineteen year old black teenager by an another black teenager. With twenty-two shooting incidents this year, Amsterdam Bijlmer is headline news in The Netherlands.

In the Hip Hop music video you see how the black chairwoman of Amsterdam-South-East, Elvira Sweet, is being shouted at by a teenager. While Sweet is saying, "We are doing everything, not only as city council, but also with police ..," she is brutally interrupted. “F** that," he shouts. "You're doing nothing. Now you stand here, you never stand here. You think you have the right to speak. You're never here man!”

Amsterdam South-East is my old neighbourhood, but something has changed dramatically over the years. More then ten years ago I lived there and wrote for the local paper. Back then South-East was in the middle of a huge gentrification program, which triggered a Malcolm X style revolution. It started because the black population was left out of the decision making process. Eventually the protests changed the political landscape in the district, and for the first time a black chairman was chosen to head the local city council. Since then two black women held the position. But somehow the last chairman has lost complete control over the district.

The video is on youtube and is seen by all those black kids in the hood. Is this end of black leadership?
To be continued …

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