Sambo’s F*ck The Police! encourages debate

AMSTERDAM – F*ck The Police! is the controversial title of a new theater production by Raymi Sambo, Sam Jones reports on Caribisch Netwerk. Last Sunday the premiere was in the Bijlmerpark Theater in Amsterdam.

Raymi is an actor who leads VIG, his own theater company since a couple of years. His plays address compelling social issues like discrimination, taboos surrounding homosexuality in the Caribbean community and now ethnic profiling.

The play is about youngsters with diverse backgrounds in a large city. The police often stops them in the streets and they stage a protest action when a rightwing politician visits their neighborhood. A brother of one of the protesters is a police officer. The brothers come face to face and then all hell breaks loose.

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“**** the Police, yeah, that hits a nerve,” says Chris Koers, the district chief of police who is responsible for the Bijlmer in Amsterdam. Koers sits in the front row of the theater with five colleagues. They look relieved after the show. “Sambo obviously chose this title to attract an audience,” Koers says, but he and his colleagues are impressed by the play.

Community police officer Winston van Geenen, the president of the Caribbean Network of the police has experienced people throwing the words **** the police at him. “But in my opinion you still have to listen to these youngsters.”

The play reveals clearly what is going on, Van Geenen says. “It is a mirror for both sides.” Whether youngsters can do something with it, he does not know, but their voice gets a podium this way and that is good.

There are not many youngsters at the premiere. Some of them admit that they have lashed out to the police in the past. Why? “If you see how youngsters are singled out based on their appearance then I will certainly shout **** the police.”

Sambo wants to encourage debate with his play. That message does come across to Christ Toppenberg who attends the premiere with her two sons Baruch (9) and lior (7). Are they not a bit young for such a hefty play? “Not at all,” Toppenberg says. “As black boys at a white school they often experience that they are singled out because of their color.”

“An entertaining but sad story,” Baruch says, adding that he sometimes says **** as well, but never to the police; only when he is very angry. “They are only words.”

Photo caption: Scene from the premiere of F*ck The Police. Photo Caribisch Netwerk / Sam Jones

Source: StMaartenNews http://stmaartennews.com/culture/sambos-fck-police-encourages-debate/

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