Peremptory

Dear Editor,

  When I was 12 years old a pharmacist who worked in the Lago hospital gave me an English dictionary with a little more than 370 pages. The story goes like this. Every Sunday after church we had to pass by our grandmother before returning home. At that time I was 9 years old.

  One Sunday my grandmother sent me on an errand by the neighbor and I saw this big book and was amazed. The neighbor (a pharmacist) saw my reaction and asked me if I liked it . I told him I had never seen such a big book before, so he told me it was a dictionary.

  Immediately I thought of my father because my father never answered us when we asked him the meaning of a word. He would say to us “Look it up in the dictionary.” He could see the reaction on our faces and would explain to us, “When you ask me the meaning of a word and I tell you, you would only know the meaning of that one word, but while looking up the word in the dictionary you will come across other words of which you probably did not know the meaning and your curiosity would make you look up the meaning of that word also. In doing so one word of which you did not know the meaning would be the reason that you learn the meaning of more words.”

  At that time the forming of the Netherland Antilles was in full swing and the word “preambule” was used frequently. When I saw this dictionary and that gentleman asked me if I liked it I immediately asked him if could open it . So I went straight to find the meaning of the word “preambule” which I found out later was actually “preamble” in English.

  But in paging through that dictionary looking for the word “preambule” I came across the word “peremptory”. I read the meaning of the word and when I asked the pharmacist to explain to me what was written he told me, “As you grow older you will understand the meaning clearer, but for now just do it. Don’t dilly dally.”

  For many years that word stuck with me and I never ever used it in all my writings. Lo and behold, in reading the letter to you “The hypocrisy of the Dutch exposed”, “peremptory” pops up in front of me.

  To continue my story, three years after, when that pharmacist was getting ready to go to the United States to live, he left that dictionary for me with my grandmother. When I told my father the story about the dictionary he told me to write the word “peremptory” in the front and I will always remember the occasion.

  I write about “peremptory” but I hope that after reading this piece your readers will revisit that article, because it is an important piece of history.

  “The hypocrisy of the Dutch exposed”. In discussing this with a lady, she said to me, “But all Dutch people ain’t bad.” My answer to her was, “Exactly, but those who are bad do not take the people of the Dutch Islands into consideration when they are taking it out on their fellow politicians.”

  I will repeat: Why should 250,000 to 300,000 people have to bear the consequences for the activities of about 200 to 300 politicians?

Russell A. Simmons