Sales director Rob Heesen of Dutch department store HEMA feels the pressure over 'Back Piet'

The Dutch programme 'Het hart van Nederland' reports that the sales director of the Dutch department store HEMA has come under fire for his position on Zwarte Piet.

http://www.hartvannederland.nl/algemeen/2014/hema-directeur-onder-vuur-na-pietenmail/

Zwarte Piet is increasingly making the headlines again in the Netherlands as the Dutch prepare for the arrival of Sinterklaas and his black companian Zwarte Piet. Some consider this tradition racist, though the sentiment among the Dutch is to keep Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet.

The below caricature shows three well known Dutch comic characters being sold in Hema saying that the "Netherlands is a country where asylum seekers from around the world are welcome, but Zwarte Piet has to leave". We stress that Hema did not publish this - but caricatures and statements such as this are ripe on social media, giving an indication on how many people feel about the idea that Zwarte Piet is a racist tradition.

It may be illogical and irrational - but when a large part of the population feels this way, then government cannot afford to ignore this issue. There are too many underlying factors playing into into this discussion and it is high time that mainstream politicians act proactively rather than leaving it to fear mongers such as Geert Wilders.

Zwarte Piet


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