Saturday, May 29, 2021

The Other German Genocide

 Germany has officially acknowledged committing genocide during its colonial occupation of Namibia, and announced financial aid worth more than €1.1bn (£940m; $1.34bn). The money will apparently be paid out over 30 years through spending on infrastructure, healthcare and training programmes benefiting the impacted communities.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said his country was asking Namibia and victims' descendants for forgiveness. German colonisers killed tens of thousands of Herero and Nama people there in early 20th Century massacres. The genocide began in 1904 after a Herero and Nama rebellion over German seizures of their land and cattle. The head of the military administration there, Lothar von Trotha, called for the extermination of the population. Many died of disease, exhaustion and starvation with some subject to sexual exploitation and medical experimentation. It is thought up to 80% of the indigenous populations died during the genocide - with a death toll in the tens of thousands.

The atrocities committed have been described by historians as "the forgotten genocide" of the early 20th Century, in what was then known as German South West Africa. The UN defines genocide as a number of acts, including killing, committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.

Laidlaw Peringanda, a Herero activist and chairman of the Namibian Genocide Association, said the offer of development aid was not enough.

"We're actually not accepting that offer because our people have lost lands, they have lost their culture and a lot of them have fled to Botswana, South Africa and some of them were taken to Togo and Cameroon," he told BBC World Service.He insisted that Germany should buy back ancestral lands now in the hands of the  german-speaking community, which reportedly makes up less than 1% of the population."People are getting impatient, especially the minority black people who [don't] have a piece of land," he said. "And from what I'm hearing from some of the people, there will be a land revolution. People will grab the land by force. So we must actually try to avoid these things."

Germany officially recognises colonial-era Namibia genocide - BBC News

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