I am writing a historical fiction on genocide and slavery during the Anglo-Dutch Spices Wars (1600-1625) over the control of nutmeg (Myristica Fragrans), which I will dramatise. Through this project, I hope to bring to life the story of how the Dutch captured the only English held nutmeg island, Pulau Run, in October 1620, after a long siege; committed genocide against the native population starting from April 1621; imported slaves from many places, including Bengal, to work on the ’emptied of people’ nutmeg plantations. This year’s 400th anniversary of the genocide provides a unique opportunity to engage East London’s diverse communities to participate in a creative theatrical piece on the bloody history of spices.
I read many materials on the topic, including journals and letters, visited the nutmeg Islands (Banda Islands) in August/September 2019 and delivered a public presentation in October 2019 in East London to share my research with people, which I also utilised to gaze potential interest in my project. I was very encouraged by the positive responses that I received from the event participants and some individuals who watched the presentation video on YouTube.
Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, I had to delay the project, which I hope to complete by April 2022, 401 year of the massacre’s anniversary.