Our Story, By Us
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DevSur provides news from Suriname with an international, developmental focus. But we don’t just report the news; we dive behind the issues the affect the daily lives of the people of Suriname. Our intention is to present our country from a different perspective than the usual.
Our strategy is to provide independent news and editorial content about Suriname, in English. Among our readers, who include media practitioners, diplomats, businesspeople and individual readers, we’re noted for excellence.
We’re non-partisan, which in small societies brings with it the necessary challenges, but we made a conscious choice to retain our independence over the choice of issues we write about. Something our audiences appreciate.
Independence and innovation indeed comes at a price. Advertising is available, but, to foot our operations bill, we occasionally produce special reports and print versions at the request of clients.
Yet we’re always keen to hear from anyone who supports our goal of presenting Suriname’s story unbiased. We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about our packages for donors and other support.
We hope you enjoy our content.
Peeling back all layers
A few months ago me and a friend of mine, a sharp-penned Caribbean journalist, got into it. He was trying to get information prior to the 2010 elections in Suriname and he couldn’t find any. The information was there, but in Dutch; a language he didn’t speak. So we exchanged nasty words when he –without any considerations for my nationalistic sentiments- referred to Suriname as “backward”, as he whined about how difficult it was to get updated information. I won’t say what I called his country in return.
Truth be told though: he wasn’t far off. Suriname is one of the few remaining secrets of the Caribbean; better yet, a multilayered secret. Though no longer a colony of The Netherlands, the country still maintains Dutch as its formal language. Most people are well versed in English –some even speak multiple languages-, but Surinamers are proud of how impeccable they read and write Dutch; however, it being a language that a vast majority of the world population doesn’t speak, the country’s beautiful secret remains hidden.
Noted Surinamese poet Shrinivasi once told me he wished more Dutch Caribbean writers would take the challenge of writing in English, thereby demanding their place among the world’s celebrated penmen. In his view, writers in this part of the world who write only in Dutch are missing out on opportunities.
Shrinivasi, in all his wisdom, said: “There is a vibrant publishing industry in the English speaking Caribbean, with some top notch writers, who, because they master the English, have reached world stage. V.S. Naipaul, Derek Walcott and the list goes on. Unfortunately, because we master predominantly the Dutch language, our writers are underestimated and taken for granted. And it’s not like we don’t have literary giants. But because we write in Dutch our reach is limited and we don’t break through. And our Dutch publishers don’t help either. I don’t know if it’s on purpose, but our work is hardly ever translated to English, while you will find a lot of books written by European Dutch writers that were. Our young writers should take on the challenge of writing English work as well. They should broaden their scope.”
I am not a fictional writer, but I fully agreed with him. And I am taking on the challenge. This forum will bring continuous news and features on Suriname, in English. DevSur.com aims to reveal the secret. All layers of the multifaceted secret to be exact.
We took the first step and started the website, then we took step 2 when we went on Facebook. Step 3, DevSur PRINT, our bi-monthly tangible edition is meanwhile on the street. Seems like we’re in for a long walk.
Come along, you’re in for an adventurous ride.
Marvin A. Hokstam