Germany recognizes colonial-era massacres in Namibia as genocide | News of the genocide


Germany will also apologize to Namibia for the “immense suffering” caused during the 1904-1908 massacres.

Germany has acknowledged for the first time that it committed genocide in Namibia during its colonial rule more than a century ago and promised financial support worth more than a billion euros ($ 1.2 trillion) to fund projects of infrastructure in the African nation.

German settlers killed thousands of hereros and nama between 1904 and 1908, after the tribes rebelled against Berlin’s rule in the colony, which was then called German Southwest Africa.

Survivors were driven into the desert, where many ended up in concentration camps for use as slave labor and many died of cold, malnutrition and exhaustion.

“We will now officially refer to these facts as what they are from the current perspective: the genocide,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Friday.

“In light of Germany’s historical and moral responsibility, we will apologize to Namibia and the descendants of the victims for the atrocities committed,” he said.

As a gesture “to recognize the immense suffering inflicted on the victims,” Germany will also support Namibia’s “reconstruction and development” through a € 1.1 billion ($ 1.341 billion) financial program, he added.

The sum will be paid for 30 years, according to sources close to the negotiations, and will have to benefit mainly the descendants of the Herero and Nama.

Maas said the agreed payment, which came after more than five years of negotiations, does not pave the way for any “legal claim for compensation.”

Rebellion, retaliation

Germany ruled Namibia from 1884 until it lost the colony during World War I.

In 1904, tensions intensified when the herero – deprived of their livestock and land – increased, followed shortly after by the Nama.

German General Lothar von Trotha, sent to quell the rebellion, ordered the extermination of the peoples.

Between 1904 and 1908 at least 60,000 hereros and about 10,000 namas died.

Colonial soldiers carried out mass executions; men, women, and children exiled to the desert, where thousands died of thirst; and established infamous concentration camps, such as Shark Island.

The atrocities have poisoned relations between Berlin and Windhoek for years.

The German government has previously acknowledged the “moral responsibility” of the killings, but Berlin has avoided asking for official apologies to avoid claims for compensation.

In 2015, it began formal negotiations with Namibia on the issue and in 2018 returned skulls and other remains of massacred tribes that were used in colonial-era experiments to assert claims of European racial superiority.

On Thursday, Namibian presidential spokesman Alfredo Hengari told Reuters news agency that special envoys from both countries made a joint statement describing the deal on May 15, at the end of the ninth round of negotiations on the issue.

Hengari also said an official apology was expected from Germany, adding that “implementation modalities can only begin after the president has spoken to the affected communities.”

Paramount heir chief Vekuii Rukoro told Reuters the reported deal was a “sold out” one.

The chief, who unsuccessfully demanded compensation from Germany in the United States, said the deal was not enough for the two communities, which had suffered “irreversible damage” at the hands of German colonial forces.

“We have a problem with this kind of agreement, which we consider to be a complete sale by the Namibian government,” Rukoro said.

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