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Dutch politician John de Laet compares Nelson Mandela to Black Pete

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On Friday, the AD reported that Dutch 'GroenLinks' party leader John de Laet compared recently deceased Nelson Mandela, with the controversial Dutch blackface caricature Black Pete. Mandela was South Africa's first black president and helped the country unite after overcoming Roman Dutch law apartheid. On December 5, 2013, Mandela passed away after a long fight against reacuring health issues such as lung invections. "Say! Does anyone think that the drawing for the #wk2014 [World Cup Soccer 2014] will be fair? After the death of the head [Black] Pete?," Twitted de Laet after CNN reported the death of Mandela.

While Roman-Dutch law ceased to be applied in the Netherlands, Roman-Dutch law is still applied by the courts of South Africa. Apartheid was implemented to create seprate states, one state for whites and another for blacks. At the beginning of the 1960s, a "Bigger Apartheid" was implemented which focused on territorial separation and police repression.

Followers immediately began responding to de Laet' Tweet, one follower writes that he would have expecting something like that to come from Geert Wilders of the PVV. On Friday, de Laet posted an apology Tweet saying that the "comparison was/is unfortunate. [The] Tweet was meant to criticize the news [broadcast] which placed the [World Cup Soccer 2014] practice drawing at the beginning [of the broadcast]. Apologies to whom I offended.".

The Dutch blackface caricature Black Pete is in the center of a race debate that has currently engulfed the Netherlands. 'Nederland Wordt Beter' has given the Black Pete debate a social media meeting point for Dutch citizens who want the Dutch St. Nicholas holiday to be inclusive for all residents. They have made numerous requests to have party organizers agree to the compromise of having Black Pete's with streaks of black in their faces versus blackface. Some Dutch residents, see Black Pete as a symbol of institutional racism due to the Dutch' role in the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade. They also believe that this causes the Dutch establishment to see and treat them as second class citizens.



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