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“Coffee with Max Havelaar” – introduction (episode 1)

In Coffee with Max Havelaar on 25/03/2009 at 10:56

Host: Good evening ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to our brand-new web-show, “Coffee with Max Havelaar”! *applause* Yes, yes, the book was so fantastic that we decided to take it to the next level. So before we get started let’s get just a little insight for those who have no inkling of who Max Havelaar is exactly *laughter from audience*. In the novel, this man did great things to battle against a corrupt government system in Java, which as we know was a Dutch colony during the 1860’s – the time the book was written. Today, the character holds a strong reputation in the Max Havelaar Foundation – the Dutch member of FLO International, which unites 23 Fairtrade producer and labelling initiatives across Europe, Asia, Latin America, North America, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. But before we go on any further into what the novel is about, let’s give a warm welcome to first and most important guest on the show – the author himself, Multatuli! *Crowd cheers, Multatuli does a victory dance as he enters the room, and the band starts playing jazz music.* 

Host: So, Mr. Eduard Douwes Dekker (can I just call you Multatuli?) 

Multatuli: *laughs*, yes of course.

Host: So tell us about how you were inspired to write Max Havelaar.

Multatuli: Yes, well it all began during 1857, when I was transferred to Lebak, in the Bantam residency of Java (now Banten province).

Host: And I assume that by that time, all the secrets of Dutch administration were known to you, yes?

Multatuli: Yes, quite, and that was when I began to protest about the abuses of the colonial system. Consequently I was threatened with dismissal from my office for my “openness of speech”. However, I resigned my appointment and returned to the Netherlands. In 1860, in an act of further protestation, I wrote Max Havelaar, and I was pleased to see that it was successful; been read all through Europe.

Host: And I agree that it is still one of the most influential reads.Well, that’s it for today ladies and gentlemen, please give another round of applause to Multatuli, who will also be joining us next episode to discuss the elements of the novel. Thank you for joining us!