Germany to recognise Herero genocide and apologise to Namibia – telegraph.co.uk
I did not plan this post. It just came after the one on the British in India by happenstance. Planned or not, it now forms a continuation of a worse variation of the usual put-downs and soul-destruction of regular colonization, one that saw Germany’s plan to exterminate a whole ethnic group, the Herero of South West Africa now known as Namibia. Why? They were stubborn, refusing to give up their land to German settlers.
Surviving Herero after an escape through the arid desert in Omaheke in German Southwest Africa (Times of Israel)
German soldiers used recently-invented Kodak film to take home mementos of the war http://www.sahistory.org.za/article/herero-nama-wars-and-genocide-south-west-africa#sthash.mMaEXgTW.dpuf
Germany, perhaps the modern world’s first evil empire – you know the others if you look through Western eyes, is a country despite its recent posture in the world well known for her history of denying the blots on her past for atrocities in Belgium, Poland, Russia … but not much about Africa. Now that Germany has finally acknowledged a single ghost from its horrible past, the genocide in Namibia, saying “sorry” is all it’s willing to do.
Germany deliberately exterminated over a hundred thousand people from two Namibian ethnic groups, some of whose body parts were sent to the home country for scientific experiments, first step in what Germans would later perfect on Jews.
The point that led to this write-up is the statement credited to the German government last week which says Germany will not go beyond apology thereby dismissing any idea of reparations, it believes, for all time.
When Michel Martelly was named as being in the running for Haiti’s presidency a few years ago, I wondered aloud here about that star-crossed country on May 16, 2011 on the suitability of a band boy/man for the long-suffering people of Haiti:
Haitians have been plagued by evil leaders since its freedom from France in the early 19th Century led by Toussaint L’Ouverture. France, with the active connivance of other Western Allies, made sure the newly- independent country would never really be free by ensuring an amount far greater than Haiti’s capacity to pay was levied on the poor country as punishment for no longer being a place of harvest for France …
– FROM THE DUVALIERS TO ‘SWEET MICKEY’, IS HAITI DUE FOR ANOTHER BUMPY RIDE? [https://emotanafricana.com/2011/05/16/from-the-duvaliers-to-%E2%80%9Csweet-mickey%E2%80%9D-martelly-are-haitians-in-for-another-bumpy-ride/]
Have reparations ever being paid and if so, on what ground(s)?
- Haiti paid what is, in the proper sense of the word, “reparation” for the “sin” of having liberated itself under L’Overture’s leadership from slavery. France would return in 1825 to demand 150 million Francs – more than $21 billion in modern currency as reparations/”independence debt” for its loss of slavery incomes! Of course, Western powers, especially the USA and Germany supported France before taking their turns to rape the country of whatever wealth it had left and using its human resources as free/forced labor.
- The United States paid former slave owners – NOT THE SLAVES – compensations of up to $300/slave before the Emancipation Proclamation could be signed by Lincoln.
- While there were European countries that reportedly paid millions to slave owners when slaves were freed, there were African countries that had to pay France because of independence. It is now part of the history of colonization that during the 1960s how France had all schools as well as other structures they could not cart back to France destroyed in Guinea (under Toure) after independence to serve as a huge warning to others countries that might be thinking of following Guinea’s example .
- I do not know if France is still collecting a so-called “colonial tax” from its former African colonies who TOOK independence – not ‘got'” – because France felt deprived of all that used to accrue to the country and the thousands of French employed in every sector of the various colonies’ economies.
- Reparations have also been paid to the State of Israel as well as to individual Jews. I’ll get to that shortly.
Herero men are chained together by German forces during the early 1900s [dailymail.co.uk]
While peoples of African descent seem to have always received the short end of the stick in matters of reparation: cash was paid to former slave owners in America and to French slave owners in Haiti through the “Independence Debt”, and in modern times, African countries have been hounded by former colonial masters which received payments for “losses suffered” by countries that became independent. HOWEVER –
No African country has ever received payment – reparations – for the untold hardships and irreparable loss of slavery to the continent, nor
Have any enslaved person or group of individuals ever received payment for the untold violence, forced labor, and other inhuman hardships that characterized the lives of slaves during slavery.
The Herero of SW Africa of modern times were Germany’s practice ground for its eventual inhuman treatment of the Jews, where among other evils,human beings were used for experiments.
Who and who ever got paid reparations, on what bases were reparations paid, and what are the differences in extent of sufferings and deprivation/degradation of their humanity and inhumane treatment which called for payment for one, and not another?
I guess millions who still deny the pogrom – The Holocaust – do so because perhaps due to the sheer magnitude of the deepest depths of human derangement that Nazi Germany visited on Jews, inhumanity first practised on Namibia’s Herero.
Reparations to Jews
It is on record that Germany has deservedly paid more than $61.8 million to the State of Israel as well as to individuals while German firms and individuals have also paid for forced labor to private individuals or their survivors; payments are still going on.
While many have fought for reparations to be paid over many years, including African-Americans and many on the African continent, including Nigeria’s murdered MKO Abiola – I’m not aware of Africans, African-American, or any group of people of African descent ever receiving reparation for the crime against inhumanity of slavery, “independence debt” … over the centuries.
An idea of the extent of inhumane deliberate atrocities against the Herero, can be gleaned from the following excerpts. [Links at the bottom]:
“By early August the majority of the Ovaherero nation was gathered with their cattle at the Waterberg (Hamakari). The decisive battle occurred on August 11, 1904, when 5,000-6,000 poorly armed Ovaherero warriors were encircled by 1,488 German troops and 96 officers armed with modern rifles, machine guns, and cannons. The Ovaherero were defeated and forced to flee, mainly in the direction of the waterless Omaheke desert to the east
“The fact that General von Trotha had set up prisoner of war camps at the Waterberg before the battle suggests that at this point in time he was not yet planning to exterminate the Ovaherero. But this goal emerged clearly in the following weeks. On September 13 von Trotha gave orders to drive away any Ovaherero women and children who came to ask for water, and on September 23 he rejected the suggestion by one of his officers, Major Ludwig von Estorff, that the Germans should accept Ovaherero offers to open negotiations. The culmination of this hardening stance was the General’s “words to the Herero people” on October 2, 1904.
“Given the Germans’ awareness of the lack of water in the Omaheke, the refusal to allow them to return westward amounted to a death warrant. If this was not clear enough, von Trotha summarized his intentions in a letter of November 5 to Governor Theodor Leutwein, who was soon to return to Germany in disgrace after opposing the genocidal course of action and being relieved of his military and civil authority:
And the forces under the brutal command of Von Trotha went on its duty with German efficiency, including forcing Herero women to remove all flesh from the heads using shards of glass to create clean skulls suitable for shipment! Many who did not die during their long trek, searching for water where none existed were often taken and piled high to be set on fire while still alive, though barely.
Finally, even though the genocide in Namibia would be covered by the Hague Convention of 1899, atrocities that included:
- poisoning water wells that would have been the only sources of water in the desert westward direction to which the Herero were driven;
- borderline was guarded so that the Hereros were trapped in a wasteland with no food and no water;
- up to 80 percent of Hereros died within a few years of the onslaught;
- Many survivors were sent to forced labor camps,
Germany today tells Namibia and the world that those atrocities happened before the 1948 Genocide Convention.
The “civilized” world looks on disinterestedly as Germany continues to sell sorry-is-all-we-can-say but continues to pay down its massive debt for war crimes against humanity that came later than the genocide in Africa, to Jews who definitely deserve to get paid.
Will Germany get away without paying penalties for its documented genocides against the Herero because they were Africans?
FULL TEXT of General Von Trotha’s command:
MONDAY, JULY 18, 2016. 2:15 a.m. [GMT]