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Harvest Festival without a Harvest: Reflections on Seú 

Harvest Festival without a Harvest: Reflections on Seú


April 2, 2024


On the second day of Easter, the traditional Seú harvest festival took place as usual. As a yearly tradition, I've again penned down my observations and contemplations. The procession, consisting of 40 groups with over 5,000 participants, remains larger than the major carnival parades in terms of participants. However, this year, I noticed significantly fewer people standing along the sidelines of the road.

I observe this procession annually because it speaks volumes about the state of our society. Unfortunately, I must note that this year's procession hasn't progressed compared to previous years but rather regressed. It was less colorful, and there seemed to be an increasing presence of electronic music, whereas traditionally, no electronics were used. The quality of the music also appears to be declining, with few meaningful lyrics audible.

Most notably, despite being a harvest festival, there's no real harvest. None of the procession participants are actively involved in the agricultural sector. Instead, I see increasing groups with names reminiscent of carnival.

The prominent presence of politicians, especially administrators, with the Prime Minister and the Minister of Education and Culture at the forefront, is striking. Unlike at the carnival, children and adults are not separated, and children and young people are well represented. This offers potential for the future of the procession, especially for the mass tourism upon which we have become increasingly dependent.

But let's reflect: "Nos ke kosecha sin simbra" - "We want to harvest without sowing," repeats itself repeatedly. The law of nature remains valid: what you sow today will reap tomorrow. But it also works the other way around: he who sows wind will reap the storm.

The whole event seems to have little to do with our culture and can, at most, be considered folklore. It may remind us of where we come from, but it doesn't raise the question of where we stand and where we want to go. The prevailing narrative of Seú seems to be that we are a people of former slaves who cherish that, a people who want to harvest without sowing.

The only real harvest is found within the pages of the newspaper. As I pick up Tuesday's edition, I find a palpable fear surrounding tax collection. We live in a culture of fear that harks back to the days of slavery. The implementation of the government's initiatives falls far short, and staatssecretaris Alexandra van Huffelen tries to address it diplomatically. A Minister seals the fate of FKP's CFO, who is ousted for not cooperating sufficiently on unclear matters, yet nobody takes action. The Director of SOAB voiced his concerns on Facebook, stating that politicians are mishandling the “Landsontvanger” report. We're still debating who is morally upright enough to become a Minister. After 20 years, a politician still doesn't make way for rejuvenation, clinging to the party seat. How long do you intend to carry on, Madam Politician? Meanwhile, our "Gold" account at the central bank diminishes by 448 million. Moreover, the newspaper remains silent on the disappearance of five hard drives from government offices. I wonder if the data of the Census 2023 is on those discs.

These developments, I must admit, are concerning. We can't ignore the ongoing discussion about poverty levels and the societal issues that persist. It's high time we move beyond traditions and folklore and start asking ourselves where we want to steer our society. Each of us has a role to play in this journey, and it's crucial that we take the necessary steps towards a more progressive future.

Miguel Goede

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