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What was the contemporary German public opinion on the Herero Genocide?

What was the contemporary German public opinion on the Herero Genocide?

The genocide took place during 1904-1907, organized by General von Trotha. Wikipedia says:

Von Trotha's methods caused a public outcry which led the Imperial Chancellor Bernhard von Bülow to ask William II, German Emperor, to relieve von Trotha of his command.

However, the source cited in wikipedia does not provide any details of the public outrage. I would like to know what form did it take? Did people write editorials? Did deputies protest in the Reichstag? Rallies? Lectures? Petitions? Demonstrations?

Actually: Was there an outrage at all? I tried to google this but got very little except for a claim that reaction to von Trotha's cruel methods led to the Dernburg reforms (whatever they were). But this doesn't settle the question.

P.S.
The wikipedia talk page shows that user Jboy had raised the same issue in 2006 but got no response there.

UPDATE: The 1911 Britannica source - suggested by Drux - makes clear that von Trotha was relieved of his command not because he was cruel but because his cruelty just didn't get the job done:

Meanwhile, the administration of von Trotha, who had assumed the governorship as well as the command of the troops, was severely criticized by the civilian population, and the non-success of the operations against the Hottentots provoked strong military criticism. In August 1905 Colonel (afterwards General) Leutwein, who had returned to Germany, formally resigned the governorship of the protectorate, and Herr von Lindequist, late German consul-general at Cape Town, was nominated as his successor. Von Trotha, who had publicly criticized Prince Billow's order to repeal the Herero proclamation, was superseded. He had in the summer of 1905 instituted a series of "drives" against the Witbois, with no particular results. Hendrik always evaded the columns and frequently attacked them in the rear.

EDIT: Regarding Rohrbach. I came across his name in an article where it was said that:

Both Sudholt and Poewe quote from contemporary sources, such as the important book by Paul Rohrbach, the German government official in Namibia, which unequivocally deplores the attempt to exterminate the Herero.

This is footnoted to

P. Rohrbach, Aus Südwestafrikas schweren Tagen (Berlin, 1906), pp. 160, 165, 168, 177.

So, it seems that wikipedia's current characterization of him is not correct. It is ostensibly based on the book by Olusoga & Erichsen which I don't have access to so I can't check wiki's source myself.


The article in the German Wikipedia (for some perhaps telling reason its title refers to "uprising" vs. "genocide") mentions pressure exerted by protestant missionaries' churches ("Der Druck der Öffentlichkeit, besonderes der evangelischen Missionskirchen, wuchs.")

It quotes a German PhD thesis from 2004 that provides further information (e.g. on page p. 182). It includes a detailed account of the battle of Waterberg and its tragic aftermath in the Omaheke desert. It also confirms Lothar von Trotha's harsh individual stance and imposed methods but also mentions protests from his staff and that some (sadly few) Hereros made it through the Omakehe desert alive.

In terms of public outcry in Germany, it points to activities by the "Rhenish Missionary Society", which led to a reaction by Chancellor Bernhard von Bülow and to von Trotha's recall from colonial service and return to Germany in 1905 (translation courtesy of Google here):

Insbesondere die Rheinische Mission bemühte sich um eine Befriedung des Konfliktes und verhandelte mit dem Auswärtigen Amt und dem Reichskanzler in Berlin. Dabei kritisierte sie in aller Schärfe von Trothas Proklamation. Pastor Hausleiter von der Rheinischen Mission bat Reichskanzler von Bülow in einem Schreiben, Missionare zu den Aufständischen zu entsenden, um diese zur Übergabe zu bewegen. Außerdem sollten sich die Missionen um die Alten, Kranken, Frauen und Kinder kümmern sowie Zufluchtsorte für diejenigen Herero aufbauen, die zwar am Aufstand nicht aber an den Mordtaten gegen Weiße beteiligt waren.

Again, there is a bit more further information in a German-language diploma thesis from 2010. It analyses the Rhenish Missionary Society's publications from the time (and seems to arrive at or start from a more skeptical view as to the alleged importance of the society's noble role as viewed or presented in retrospect from a "white" angle.)

BTW, whether this was "genocide" or not, von Trotha would not have been able to pursue it after 1905 (e.g. up to 1907 as implied in the question), for 1904 was the year of the incidents and 1905 was when he was transferred. The 1911 Encylopaedia Britannica, not always a reliable modern source on colonialism, gives a (to this reader's eyes) relatively fair account of the main actors involvements, but adds some own confusing language ("concentration camps were established in which some thousands of Herero women and children were cared for").

Further evidence could perhaps be recovered from German newspapers at the time (e.g. a Vienna-based newspapers provides a free online archive going back to 1848). However, I currently do not know any such source with a convenient online index. It also seems as if Ludwig von Estorff, one of the officers who tried to stand up to von Trotha in 1904, later had books published about his time in Namibia: They are (sadly) out of print by now.

UPDATE: Paul Rohrbach's book Aus Südwest-Afrikas schweren Tagen (1909) is a collection of diary entries from 1903 to 1905. During that time the author was a senior official in then German South-West Africa. He mentions the Rhenish Missionary Society several times in passing but not in a way that would suggest his own affiliation. There also frequent references to the "Siedlungsgesellschaft". The report reveals a perspective observer and able administrator, even with a sense of humor (translation courtesy of Google):

Herr Schmerenbeck meinte beim Einreiten, als wir alle großen Durst feststellten, daß irgendwo in einem Zimmer noch eine Kiste Bier stehen müsste. Statt der Kiste fanden wir in dem betreffenden Raum aber einen kleinen Termitenbau, und als der mit der Schaufel auseinandergeschlagen wurde, fanden sich auch ca. 20 Flaschen Bier unversehrt darin vor. Die Termiten waren ins Haus gekommen und hatten die Kiste samt den Strohülsen der Flaschen rein aufgefressen. Es ist wirklich wahr: nur Glas und Metall sind vor ihnen sicher. Aber die Flaschenkorken? An die hatten sie wegen der Stanniolhülle nicht herangekonnt.

With respect to pressure from public opinion in Germany it may be relevant that Rohrbach throughout his tenure seemed concerned about a general lack of interest in the colony's fate back in the home country: this would seem to suggest there was no proper basis for raising a broad opposition, e.g. due to lack of information. Rohrbach mentions and severely critizes General von Trotha several times, although he mentions the "genocide" incident only once in passing and regrets a fifty percent mortality rate. While he exhibits many European prejudices opposite Africa that were typical for his time, I find it very hard to believe that he "was an advocate of eradicating native Africans in order to make room for German colonists", as was mentioned. The following excerpt (allegedly from the June 19, 1904 diary entry) may sum up his views as good as any (again, translation courtesy of Google):

Wir alle haben nun die Furcht, daß der Übergang des Oberbefehls an einen General, der nie in Süwestafrika gewesen ist, zusammen mit der fortdauernden notwendigen Vermehrung der neuen Truppen und Offiziere eine Art von Kriegsführung hervorbringen wird, die unseren Bedürfnissen wenig entspricht. Was von den Reden bei der Aussendung der neuen Truppenverstärkungen aus Deutschland verlautet, und was hier über Äußerungen Trothas gleich in den ersten Tagen seines Aufenthalts im Lande kolportiert wird, gibt, fürchte ich, nur Grund zur Sorge. Es ist viel zu viel von der "Vernichtung" der Hereros die Rede. Das hieße auf das Übel des Aufstandes ein zweites setzen, das schlimmer ist [… ] Die Hereros führen einen Freiheitskrieg gegen uns, und sie führen ihn in der Art afrikanischer Barbaren. Auch die Cherusker sollen den römischen Sachwaltern nach der Varusschlacht die Zunge ausgeschnitten und den Mund zugenäht haben -- und das waren unsere Vorfahren.

Rohrbach's book is an interesting read and made me think that Karl May may perhaps have had him in mind as a model for his various (from a modern view also more-or-less tainted) fictional heroes.


Q: What was the contemporary German public opinion on the Herero Genocide? However, the source cited in wikipedia does not provide any details of the public outrage. I would like to know what form did it take? Did people write editorials? Did deputies protest in the Reichstag? Rallies? Lectures? Petitions? Demonstrations?

It was a very controversial 'event'. So much so that it prompted an entire election, which was popularly named after it: the "Hottentottenwahlen" (= Hottentot elections. 'Hottentotten' being the - even at the time considered - racist epiteth for the Herero and Nama people.) The election itself is indication for a deep divide in public opinion over acts and methods in the colony.

Public debates in parliament and prompting an election

Especially the Socialists/Social Democrats from the SPD were appalled by the dispatches describing the cruelty of the German military. The ensuing election campaign itself then moved a bit away from this and focused again more on domestic issues and general colonial policy, though the original outrage about the genocide still dominated the agendas. Note that 'the outrage' was of course confined to Socialists and other left leaning parties, and the Catholic Center-Party - as of course conservatives perpetrated it and pretty much were in agreement with 'strong leaders dealing out harsh measures to those who deserved it'. A recipe for excellent polarisation of the electorate.

The election was called the Hottentot election because its cause and the election campaign were determined by the Herero war in the colony of German Southwest Africa, but above all by the Nama uprising that was connected with it. The Nama were called "Hottentotts" - a derogatory term even then. The ongoing colonial war, which was associated with high costs, led to a political crisis in Germany, after the German government had requested a supplementary budget of 29 million Marks for the war in Deutsch-Südwestafrika on August 2nd, 1906, in the Reichstag. Especially the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) refused to agree to further funds in view of the reckless warfare with numerous victims among the estimated 20,000 Nama. Initially, the Reich leadership had tried to resolve the conflict by making a certain amount of concessions. Above all, Matthias Erzberger, a member of the Centre, sharply criticised the extensive expenditure and argued against the colonial wars. This led to the fact that the Centre faction, too, partly against its will, rejected the supplementary budget. In contrast, conservatives and national liberals vehemently advocated the continuation of the colonial war. The vote on 13 December resulted in a narrow majority of 177 to 168 against the supplementary budget. [… ]

On the same day, Imperial Chancellor Bernhard Fürst von Bülow ordered the dissolution of the Reichstag by decree of Wilhelm II, who also supported this step in terms of content. One reason for the dissolution in the face of a not very important issue was that not only the Emperor but also large sections of the bureaucracy had become increasingly reluctant to accept the Centre's strong position. Bülow, who did not share this position and would have liked to continue to rely on the Centre, gave in. He hoped to restore his tarnished position of trust with the emperor by trying to establish a new political government majority. As things stood, the only way to do this was to resume cooperation with the former cartel parties of conservatives and national liberals, extended to include the left-wing liberals. After the death of Eugen Richter the year before, a willingness on the part of the left-wing liberals to support the government had been apparent for some time. This alliance actually came about and is generally referred to as the Bülow Bloc. It was not least through the mediation of the government that electoral agreements were reached between the parties involved for the run-off elections, which have now become commonplace. [… ]

In the run-up to the elections that are now approaching, it was above all the government itself that set the tone with its propagation of a majority that was reliable in "national issues" and the fight against social democracy, which was fought as an enemy of the monarchy, religion and property, and against the nationally unreliable Centre Party. The aim was to unite the cartel parties and the left-wing liberals into a nationally-minded, anti-socialist and anti-clerical bloc. This was supported by a newly founded '"Reichsverband gegen die Sozialdemokratie'.
- WP: Reichstagswahl 1907

Epilogue: The polarising debates led to a higher voter turn-out over-all. The perverted voting system then ensured that the SPD won half a million more votes than in the last election but lost half of their seats. Yet, the SPD still remained the strongest party in terms of votes received by a majority of 10%.
(SPD: 28.9% - 43 seats, Centre Party: 19.4% - 105 seats; for comparison Antisemite Parties: 3.1% - 21 seats!)

Public debate in newspapers, polarised along party line affiliation

For an example of the contemporary debate: The Social Democrats' newspaper Vorwärts is completely digitised. In the issue 25.09.1906 we can read how they argued. Costly and senseless bloodshed, greedy and unjust land grabbing, followed by cruel extermination policy, ignoring resolutions of parliament, even sympathy for aims, motivations of the colonised. This paper alone discusses the problem in around ~300 articles.

More conservative-nationalist, but still 'center', the Vossische Zeitung is also digitised and took part in the debate. Shortly before the election, on 21. January 1907 they felt the need to publish 'election poetry' sent in by readers. The first 'poem' starts

Seid einig, einig, einig!

Werden wir die schwarzen Brüder diesmal endlich unterkriegen, oder soll in Deutschland wieder Welsche Pfaffheit glorreich siegen?

Seht ihr, wie sie frech sich brüsten, Höhnend euch von ihrem "Turme", Und ihr zaudert euch zu rüsten Alle, Mann für Mann, zum Sturme?

Auf, was deutsch ist, eng im Bunde! Eins nur darf euch heute kümmern: Seid nicht klein zur großen Stunde - Und Zwing-Uri liegt in Trümmern

Very roughly: Unity, unity, unity! Will we finally get the Black Brothers in the dust this time? Or shall in Germany again catholic parsonry triumph gloriously? You see how they boldly boast, mocking from their "tower"? And you hesitate to prepare, all of you, man for man, for the storm? On what is German, close together! There's only one thing you can worry about today: Don't be small at the great hour -And Zwing-Uri lies in ruins.

Meaning: 'Show the blacks their place in the colonies or bad radicals and Catholics will triumph, no time for dissent, it's war, the fatherland, make Germany great again' etc blabla. The incoherence of this style of thinking is as usual built in.

If we'd get to the really right-wing publications, things are of course even uglier to read, so I'll spare you that.

Historical analysis of the debates and their consequences

A more detailed analysis of the working class and SPD agitation and opinion as well as consequences of the election (which some misinterpret as 'colonialist turn' for the SPD) and by contrast its oponents is:
- Jens-Uwe Guettel: "The Myth of the Pro-Colonialist SPD: German Social Democracy and Imperialism before World War I", Central European History, Vol. 45, No. 3, 2012, pp. 452-484.

In stark contrast:

The colonial atrocities remained a topic of the social democrats during the election campaign, albeit only very limited. It speaks for the importance accorded this topic that the topic was never really taken up by the opponents. A reason for this might lie in the fact that the nationalist forces were not really concerned about the actual events in the colonies, but took issue with the fact that political parties and the public at large assumed the right to discuss these. Still, the extremely violent nature of the wars in GSWA [German Southwest Africa] did not really play a role in the public discourse of the metropole at that time. It was never raised as a topic on its own, nor was the violence condoned either. [… ]

The issue is more complex, however, and can best be explained by explicating the role played by the veteran's associations, particularly the nature of the consensus reached during the elections. These associations are characterised by their reactionary nature, which puts them into opposition to the fundamentally aggressively chauvinist, radically right-wing groups, such as the Alldeutsche Verband (Pan-German League). Their rather unrefined social-Darwinist discourse and clear war-oriented politics distinguished these clearly from the veteran's associations.

The extraordinary involvement of the large, otherwise non-political and loyal organisations in these elections indicates that something else was underlying in 1907, namely the quasi-sanctity of the government's ultimate power of decision. In this they differed fundamentally from the radical oppositional approach of the Pan-Germans. The electorate confirmed the policy hitherto followed and gave carte blanche for the future. As such this [was] endorsing the authoritarian state, the quintessential German Obrigkeitsstaat. Consensus, however, was reached on the question of control of foreign and military policy; no external control should be exerted and therefore the general public would not be involved in decisions taken and procedures to be followed. The public had to remain acquiescent. This opened a space in which anything was possible, regardless.
- Matthias Häußler: "“Die Kommandogewalt hat geredet, der Reichstag hat zu schweigen.” How the 'Hottentottenwahlen' of 1907 shaped the relationship between parliament and military policy in Imperial Germany", Journal of Namibian Studies, 15 (2014): p7-24.

A verdict that may be a bit too clean and apologetic. Beside big politics and published opinion, the public discourse also manifested this 'event' in other forms:

Deeply seated in contemporary discourses of progress, modernisation, and the vanishing of whole peoples, popular theatre thus did not have to shy away from depicting the exterminatory character of the colonial war. On the On the contrary, as I have shown, the genocide was a selling factor in Berlin at the time. [… ]

The example of Circus Busch has shown that popular entertainment sometimes mirrored the univocal, expert discourse of the colonialist bourgeoisie and intersected it with spectacular, mass culture-appropriate stage effects. And in other times, as the example of the Metropol Theater has shown, popular theatre could betray its usual repertoire of politically ambiguous satire by staging clear-cut colonial propaganda. Here, an anxiety about the blurry boundaries of the different colonial epistemes, popular and bourgeois, surfaced in the voices of the critics. What both cases indicate is that the war itself and its genocidal character were not only very present in the German public sphere at the time but in their representation, assuring commercial success for the cultural industry in perpetuating the image of the lives of the Herero as 'destructible.'
- Lisa Skwirblies: "The First German Genocide Enters the Popular Stage: Colonial Theatricality in Berlin, 1904-1908", Popular Entertainment Studies, Vol. 8, Issue 1, pp. 7-20.

Rohrbach's account and other first hand reports

If the settlement official Rohrbach should be any indication, then his view of these affairs is certainly quite distinct compared to von Trotha, but not simply: "unequivocally deplores the attempt to exterminate the Herero." While it is true that on the mentioned pages he doesn't advocate 'complete extermination'. It is also true that he makes a - in his view - 'more balanced' argument: 'to not kill all the cheap workers', as that would undermine exploitation, profit and manageability. But he also acknowledges

Warfare is, after all, at the mercy of the unfortunate principle of "annihilation" [Vernichtung], and we, who think at first not of warfare in its purest culture, but of the purpose that is to be achieved by war, and of what will come after the war, have nothing to say and may limit ourselves to reading in the local newspapers after 4 or 8 weeks each time what the war leaders or individual war participants telegraph or write home about the situation and the existing intentions.
- Paul Rohrbach: "Aus Südwestafrikas schweren Tagen", Wilhem Weicher: Berlin, 1909, p 170. )

That is, after he wrote on page 8:

Perhaps the first Herero uprising of 1896 dock was punished too mildly. The Negro does not regard leniency of the victor as magnanimity, but as weakness. It is a hard conflict for each of us, who wants to think and act humanely, but who still wants to accept his responsibility.

The sentiment of 'international responsibility' means of course 'sending soldiers to kill'. At least that didn't change much…

Rohrbachs seemingly 'more humane' views of utlitarianist exploitation of natives in that book is by far not the only thing he had to say on the matter in his more than 2500 writings. The Wikipedia characterisation of him is correct in so far as he did write, in no uncertain terms and repeatedly, in another book:

As far as the aspect of humanity was concerned, which was particularly emphasized in Germany in comparison with the order of extermination and which also led to the rectification of General von Trotha by the Imperial Chancellor, it must be admitted in itself that under certain circumstances, in order to protect the peaceful settlement of the whites from a simply culturally incapable, predatory indigenous tribe the actual extermination of which may become necessary.
- Paul Rohrbach: "Deutsche Kolonialwirtschaft Südwest-Afrika", Buchverlag der "Hilfe": Berlin-Schöneberg, 1907, p352.

Quite conveniently, a small collection of Rohrbach's and other colonialists' racist attitudes and opinions is woven into a dissertation that analyses German colonial policy, and its debates over the sought after Dernburg-reforms:
- Sören Utermark: "„Schwarzer Untertan versus schwarzer Bruder“. Bernhard Dernburgs Reformen in den Kolonien Deutsch-Ostafrika, Deutsch-Südwestafrika, Togo und Kamerun", Dissertation, Universität Kassel, 2011. (PDF)


Trying to dig up the specific reactions of the general public from that time period would be very difficult, if not impossible. But judging from the attitude of the time period there was probably not an "outrage" as we would define it today. For similar projects I've looked at old newspapers from the time period and looked for editorials. Usually there aren't any because the press was arguably "less free" at the turn of the century. The early 20th century was truly the last days of colonialism (so-called modern colonialism is usually metaphorical language). Public opinion was shifting but it was a gradual change. Many European countries were beginning to relinquish their colonies but there were many voices on both sides of the argument.

So I doubt the public thought much about it, genocides of Africans by Europeans was not uncommon.I don't think he was relieved of command because of this one incident.

Finally there is some interesting evidence from today. This BBC article says that descendants of Von Trotha apologized to the Herero chiefs while government officials still do not apologize officially. I find that rather strange but often governments don't like apologizing retroactively or at all.

"The German government has expressed "regret" at the killings, and a visiting minister apologised in 2004 in general terms, but she avoided specifically saying sorry for the massacres. "


It would be a matter of going through the newspaper archives of the time, these are not all online, unlike more contemporary archives.

However, Isabel Virginia Hull, in the book Absolute Destruction: Military Culture and the Practises of War in Imperial Germany writes:

Negotiations were a sore point with public opinion, too… the Tägliche Rundschau expressed the widespread indignation at such an idea: "Humanity belongs in the right place-for the moment, however, the national honor and the future of the colony require punishment and suppression of the rebels via force of weapons and the superiority of the white man, but not via peace negotiations, which would recognize the mutineers as legitimate combatants."

Public opinion, the Kaiser, and General Staff were of one mind in demanding a clear victory of weapons.

and

The demand for punishment reflected widespread public opinion in the colony and in Germany. The Berliner Zeitung was typical: “We must make a repeat of this uprising impossible under all circumstances by sharp and ruthless punishment.” So on the whole, public opinion. Much more recently, we have

She also writes:

The greatest scandal of military occupation administration was the annihilation of the Nama in the prison camps

this is foot-noted to Deutsch-Südwestafrikanische Zeitung (14 Dec. 1904) (footnote 85).

So it looks like public opinion began to turn once the war was engaged and the brutality exposed.

More recently, more contemporary reports are categorical on the then German brutality when in 2004, 100 years after the Herero-German War, the German government officially apologised:

for the first time yesterday for a colonial-era genocide which killed 65,000 Herero people in what is now Namibia. "We Germans accept our historic and moral responsibility and the guilt incurred by Germans at that time," said Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, Germany's development aid minister, at a ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the Hereros' 1904-1907 uprising against their rulers.

"The atrocities committed at that time would have been termed genocide," she said, according to Associated Press.

"… Everything I have said was an apology from the German government," Mrs Wieczorek-Zeul


What was the contemporary German public opinion on the Herero Genocide? - History

Recognition, apology and compensation are the core concepts of a German politics of memory, which itself is a key component of post-war German identity. This approach proved valuable in the reconciliation with victims of Nazism. However, the debate regarding the genocide committed by German soldiers in Namibia continues. In this case, a responsible handling of history appears to require yet another struggle over history and its current ramifications. Herero and Nama organisations have brought a suit against Germany with a New York court, suing for recognition of the genocide.

In October 1904, Lothar von Trotha, the commander-in-chief of the German colonial protection force in German South West Africa, informed the Herero people in a letter that they were no longer German subjects and therefore had to leave the country: &bdquoWithin German borders, every Herero, with or without a gun, with or without cattle, will be shot. I&rsquom not taking in any women or children they will be driven back to their people, or they will be shot.&rdquo

This shoot-to-kill order served as basis for the first genocide of the 20th century. It documents the intent of annihilation of all Herero and later also Nama. At the same time, even in the context of colonial mass murder, Trotha tried to keep up pretences: In an order of the day, only directed to the troops, the general explained that German soldiers should only fire above the heads of women and children, in order to drive them away and thus preserve the &ldquogood reputation&rdquo of the troops.

This order of the day, however, was cynical, as the historian Jürgen Zimmerer explains: &bdquoRetreating meant death by thirst,&rdquo because the colonial powers had organised the displacement. The Herero were already pushed back into the Omaheke desert where German troops occupied the water holes &ndash the refugees were meant to die of thirst.

Trotha&rsquos doublespeak expressed colonial arrogance: He didn&rsquot consider well-planned mass murder as problematic, but a massacre committed against women and children would have tainted the German prestige in the world.

In December 1904 the government of the Reich cancelled this firing order. At this point in time, a majority of the displaced Herero had already died in the desert. In a telegram on 11 December 1904, Imperial Chancellor Bernhard von Bülow gave the instruction to intern &bdquothe rests of the Herero people&ldquo in &bdquoconcentration camps&ldquo &ndash this was the first time that a German government used this term (see box). In German South West Africa only half of the internees survived.


Consequences of the genocide

In the war years 1904 to 1908, an estimated 65,000 to 85,000 people were killed in this act of planned mass murder. The consequences of displacement and genocide are still pervasive in Namibia today: A great part of the fertile land is owned by white Namibians, mostly of German origin (see Henning Melber in D+C/E+Z e-Paper 2017/07, p. 29).

For a long time, the post-war German government did not recognise the colonial wars as genocide. In 2004, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, then the federal minister for economic cooperation and development, said: &ldquoIn the sense of our common Lord&rsquos Prayer, I ask for forgiveness of our trespasses.&rdquo The government immediately declared this indirect admission of guilt as a &ldquoprivate opinion&rdquo. There was great concern that an official concession would trigger reparation demands. German historians and civil-society activists, however, have for over 20 years classified the war and killings as genocide and demand its official acknowledgment.

Before the genocide, the Herero used to be one of the biggest groups in the country, but like the Nama, afterwards they were marginalised for a long period of time. For their descendants, the recognition of the historic atrocities is a necessary precondition for a thorough analysis of the consequences. Israel Kamatjike, representative of the Herero in Germany, says: &ldquoWe want an apology, also in order to make reparations possible.&rdquo The lands which were expropriated after the genocide would need to be redistributed within the context of reparations, he maintains.

The official attitude of the German government changed in 2015, in the context of debates around the recognition of the Armenian genocide by the Turkish state. Member of Parliament Karamba Diaby, himself of Senegalese origin, pointed out: &ldquoWhoever says A, needs to say N.&rdquo His message was that the mass murder of the Herero and Nama should be judged by the same criteria as that of the Armenians. The then president of German Parliament Norbert Lammert came to share this view: &ldquoMeasured by today&rsquos standards of international law, the suppression of the Herero uprising was indeed a genocide,&rdquo he wrote in the magazine &ldquoDie Zeit&rdquo.

Since then, German and Namibian delegations negotiate in camera about a formal recognition. Herero and Nama organisations, however, have no seats at the table. They worry that Germany will try to set off development aid against reparations. Regarding its financial help for the country, the German government indeed points to Germany&rsquos &ldquospecial relationship&rdquo to Namibia.

Herero activist Kamatjike claims Germany wants to predetermine what should be done with the reparation funds. This, however, is not considered as acceptable, since &ldquoreparations come without conditions.&rdquo On top of that, they have nothing to do with development aid, Kamatjike says.

The position of the German government &ndash namely that these issues could only be negotiated with the Namibian government &ndash appears to indicate historical amnesia. After all, the borders of Namibia and the current majorities in the country are consequences of German colonial aggression, resulting in the marginalisation of Herero and Nama.


Lawsuit in New York

In this context, a claim filed by Herero at a New York court is politically highly charged: Since March 2017 legal proceedings have been taken up, in which the US-based Herero representative Vekuii Rukoro, together with Herero-Chiefs from Namibia, is bringing a suit against Germany. It seeks a full recognition of the genocide, but also the inclusion of Herero representatives in the bi-governmental negotiations.

The German government had apparently assumed that the case would be dismissed. The first hearing was postponed several times and was set for mid-October.

This case is being closely monitored internationally. Germany&rsquos willingness to talk with Namibia about the genocide was internationally appreciated &ndash particularly in France and Britain, two countries with colonial pasts of their own. By now, however, Germany&rsquos reputation is negatively impacted by the impression that the government remains unwilling to assume full responsibility.

Meanwhile, the Tanzanian defence minister Hussein Mwinyi has announced that he is exploring options for a lawsuit regarding the German colonial war of extermination in eastern Africa: During the Maji-Maji war from 1905 to 1907, in the area of contemporary Tanzania approximately 300,000 people died as a result of German colonial aggression.

The German government needs to face the core demands of the Herero and Nama as well as other descendants of colonised people. Experience shows that the triad of recognition, apology and compensation has proven a helpful path to deal with past atrocities (also note article in D+C/E+Z e-Paper 2017/10, p. 9).

Joshua Kwesi Aikins is a political scientist at the department for development and postcolonial studies at the University of Kassel. He is active in the organisation &bdquoBerlin Postkolonial&ldquo and lives in Berlin.
[email protected]


Ongoing struggle

The issue has long caused tensions in Namibia, where farmers descended from the original German settlers still own land seized from local people. The Herero, who make up about 10% of Namibia’s population of 2.3 million, say they never regained a fraction of their former prosperity.

“We live in overcrowded, overgrazed and overpopulated reserves – modern-day concentration camps – while our fertile grazing areas are occupied by the descendants of the perpetrators of the genocide against our ancestors. If Germany pays reparation then the Ovaherero can buy back the land that was illegally confiscated from us through the force of arms,” said Veraa Katuuo, a US-based activist.

Resentment has been rising for years. Earlier this year red paint was poured over a German colonial monument in the town of Swakopmund.

Germany was forced out of the colony in 1915, but the killings there and in its territories on the east coast of the continent are seen by some historians as important steps towards the Holocaust in Europe during the second world war.

In Germany, debate around the country’s colonial project has long been overshadowed by the crimes of the National Socialist era. While most German cities commemorate the victims of the Nazi period, there are no significant monuments to the victims of German colonialism.

Other than a memorial stone in a cemetery in Berlin’s Neukölln district and a statue of an elephant in Bremen, no permanent display currently bears testament to the genocide of the Herero.

German officials rejected the use of the word “genocide” to describe the killings of the Herero and Namaqua until July 2015, when the Social Democrat foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, issued a “political guideline” indicating that the massacre should be referred to as “a war crime and a genocide”.

But there are still strict limits. German chief negotiator Ruprecht Polenz told The Guardian that personal reparations to relatives of Herero and Namaqua victims were “out of the question”. His position has angered senior Herero and Nama leaders, and a meeting in Windhoek in November ended with representatives of the Nama genocide committee storming out of the German embassy after Polenz said that massacre in south-west Africa was “incomparable” to the Holocaust.

“We understand that the German government is proposing an apology without reparations. If that is the case, it would constitute a phenomenal insult to the intelligence not only of Namibians and the descendants of the victim communities, but Africans in general, and in fact to humanity … It would represent the most insensitive political statement ever to have been made by an aggressor nation to the victims of its genocide,” said Vekuii Rukoro, the paramount chief of the Herero.

Visitors look at a wall of postcards that form part of the the exhibition, German Colonialism: Fragments of its History and Present, at the German Historical Museum. Photograph: Carsten Koall/Getty Images

Instead of direct payments, German negotiators have proposed setting up a foundation for youth exchanges with Namibia and funding various infrastructure projects, such as vocational training centres, housing developments and solar power stations. But this means bilateral discussions between the Namibian government and Berlin, without Herero or Namaqua participation. Herero representatives say they are being marginalised.

“Development aid never goes to the Herero or Namaqua areas,” said Festus Muundjua, secretary for foreign affairs of the Ovaherero Traditional Authority.

Another key issue is the return of human remains stolen by the Germans. Twenty skulls were returned in 2011 to be welcomed by warriors on horseback, ululations and tears. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, remained.


The Big Hole in Germany’s Nazi Reckoning? Its Colonial History

BERLIN — It is, at a glance, an unremarkable street — roughly a quarter-mile long, cutting through a grassy knoll the size of a couple of basketball courts.

Yet to Joshua Kwesi Aikins, this street, Petersallee, in Berlin’s African Quarter, strikes a deep emotional blow.

In 1939, National Socialists dedicated the street to Dr. Carl Peters, a leader of Germany’s violent colonial efforts in Africa.

“They said, ‘Hey, this guy was one of the founders of our empire and we have to honor him,’ ” said Mr. Aikins, 38, a German social scientist and activist with Ghanaian roots. “This is actually Nazi propaganda.”

Germany has long been lauded for the way it has confronted its Nazi history, from issuing formal apologies to paying reparations to victims. But the country’s reckoning with its Nazi past is not as complete as might be assumed, activists and historians say.

Germany has yet to come to terms with its violent colonial legacy in Africa, which laid the groundwork for and inspired Nazi atrocities, they say.

Running from 1884 to 1918, that colonial history was relatively short, compared with that of other European countries, but still scarring. German colonizers killed tens of thousands during their reign over all or part of modern-day Ghana, Togo, Cameroon, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Namibia.

Street signs and other memorials honoring German colonizers still remain scattered throughout the country. Only a smattering of colonial history is taught in German schools. The government has not apologized for the nation’s colonial crimes, and it only recently started referring to the killings as genocide.

Image

Germany’s reticence “speaks a lot about the stance that German society, or European society, takes vis-à-vis the colonial history,” said Nadja Ofuatey-Alazard, a cultural activist who is from Germany and whose father is Ghanaian. “They still adhere to the myth of the civilizing mission. They do not frame colonialism as a regime of violence and domination.”

Those attitudes appear to be slowly changing.

Berlin officials agreed a couple of months ago to rename Petersallee and two other streets honoring German colonizers, much to the delight of activists who have spent years lobbying for the changes. The streets will be named after African resistance fighters.

Mr. Aikins, a longtime proponent of renaming, said the name changes were a start. “We need a citywide concept of commemoration that actually enacts this shift of perspective,” he said. “Moving away from remembering through the colonial lens to remembering through the perspective of remembering anticolonial resistance.”

This year, Germany’s federal governing coalition for the first time called for an examination of the country’s colonial history, which includes researching whether African artifacts housed at cultural institutions were illegally acquired during the colonial era.

The German government is in its third year of negotiations with Namibia over how to make up for crimes against the former colony, where tens of thousands died under German occupation.

Ruprecht Polenz, a former member of Parliament who is representing Germany in the negotiations, said the two sides were closing in on an agreement that could lay the groundwork for an official apology.

The agreement would call the German killings a genocide outline the creation of a foundation to increase social and cultural engagement between the countries and call for extra support for Namibian communities particularly affected by the genocide with programs that, for example, provide job training, housing and access to electricity.

“Germany learned from the first half of the 20th century, and we could only learn because we confronted the past and dealt with it,” Mr. Polenz said. “And the colonial history also belongs to this past, and we want to take responsibility for it.”

Still, the violent anti-immigrant protests that broke out recently in the eastern German city of Chemnitz have sowed some doubts over how much the nation has actually learned from its past. To many activists, the racism formed during the colonial era laid the foundation for the racism that the country is still struggling with today.


Germany's Genocide of the Herero: Kaiser Wilhelm II, His General, His Settlers, His Soldiers

Questions relating to human rights are very much in the news, yet genocides in Africa, especially those that occurred during colonial times, are understudied The history of the Herero genocide has been examined by very few writers and almost no one from Africa Sarkin s book deals with the issues from an entirely different point of view, provides new information not incluQuestions relating to human rights are very much in the news, yet genocides in Africa, especially those that occurred during colonial times, are understudied The history of the Herero genocide has been examined by very few writers and almost no one from Africa Sarkin s book deals with the issues from an entirely different point of view, provides new information not included in the existing literature, and proposes understan

Altogether a decent account, yet, I disagree with many of his hypotheses which precipitously turn into 'evidence.' I find Hull's, Zimmerer's, and Gewald's arguments about military culture far more compelling than his allegations of genocide-planning settlers and "proofs" of William's order


What was the contemporary German public opinion on the Herero Genocide? - History

UN Whitaker Report on Genocide, 1985, paragraphs 14 to 24, pages 5 to 10 [ Table of Contents , Previous Section , Next Section ]

PART I: HISTORICAL SURVEY

A. The crime of genocide and the purpose of this study

14. Genocide is the ultimate crime and the gravest violation of human rights it is possible to commit. Consequently, it is difficult to conceive of a heavier responsibility for the international community and the Human Rights bodies of the United Nations than to undertake any effective steps possible to prevent and punish genocide in order to deter its recurrence.

15. It has rightly been said that those people who do not learn from history, are condemned to repeat it. This belief underpins much of the Human Rights work of the United Nations. In order to prescribe the optimal remedies to pre- vent future genocide, it can be of positive assistance to diagnose past cases in order to analyse their causation together with such lessons as the international community may learn from the history of these events.

16. Genocide is a constant threat to peace, and it is essential to exercise the greatest responsibility when discussing a subject so emotive. It is certainly not the intention of this Study in anyway to comment on politics or to awaken bitterness or feelings of revenge. The purpose and hope of this Study is exactly the opposite: to deter future violence by strengthening collective international responsibility and remedies. It would undermine this purpose, besides violating historical truth as well as the integrity of United Nations Studies, were anybody guilty of genocide to believe that international concern might be averted or historical records changed because of political or other pressure. If such an attempt were to succeed, that would serve to encourage those in the future who may be contemplating similar crimes. Equally, it is necessary to warn that nothing in these historical events should be used to provide an excuse for further violence or vendettas: this Study is a warning directed against violence. Its object is to deter terrorism or killing of whatever scale, and to encourage understanding and reconciliation. The scrutiny of world opinion and an honest recognition of the truth about painful past events have been the starting point for a foundation of reconciliation, with, for example, post-war Germany, which will help to make the future more secure for humanity.

B. The concept of genocide

17. Amongst all human rights, the primacy of the right to life is unanimously agreed to be pre-eminent and essential: it is the sine qua non, for all other human rights (apart from that to one's posthumous reputation) depend for their potential existence on the preservation of human life. Every right can also only survive as a consequence of the exercise of responsibilities. The right of a person or people not to be killed or avoidably left to die depends upon the reciprocal duty of other people to render protection and help to avert this. The concept of this moral responsibility and interdependence in human society has in recent times received increasing international recognition and affirmation. In cases of famine in other countries, for example, the States parties to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in "recognizing the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger" have assumed responsibility to take "individually and through international co-operation" the measures required "to ensure an equitable distribution of world food supplies in relation to need". (1) The core of the right not to [Page 6] starve to death is a corollary of the right not to be killed, concerning which the duty of safeguarding life is recognized to extend not just to the individual's or group's own Government but to the international community as well.

18. More serious problems arise when the body responsible for threatening and causing death is- or is in complicity with - a State itself. (2) The potential victims in such cases need to turn individually and collectively for protection not to, but from, their own Government. Groups subject to extermination have a right to receive something more helpful than tears and condolences from the rest of the world. Action under the Charter of the United Nations is indeed specifically authorized by the Convention on the Prevention and Protection of the Crime of Genocide, and might as appropriate be directed for example to the introduction of United Nations trusteeship. States have an obligation, besides not to commit
genocide, in addition to prevent and punish violations of the crime by others and in cases of failure in this respect too, the 1948 Convention recognizes that intervention may be justified to prevent or suppress such acts and to punish those responsible "whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals".

19. The Convention on Genocide was unanimously adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948, and therefore preceded albeit by one day the Universal Declaration of Human Rights itself. While the word "genocide" is a comparatively recent neologism for an old crime, (3) the Convention's preamble notes that "at all periods of history genocide has inflicted great losses on humanity, and being convinced that, in order to liberate mankind from such an odious scourge, international co-operation is required".

20. Throughout recorded human history, war has been the predominant cause or pretext for massacres of national, ethnic, racial or religious groups. War in ancient and classical eras frequently aimed to exterminate if not enslave other peoples. Religious intolerance could also be a predisposing factor: in [Page 7] religious wars of the Middle Ages as well as in places in the Old Testament, some genocide was sanctioned by Holy Writ. The twentieth century equally has seen examples of "total wars" involving the destruction of civilian populations and which the development of nuclear weapons makes an almost inevitable matrix for future major conflicts. In the nuclear era, indeed the logical conclusion of this may be "omnicide".

21. Genocide, particularly of indigenous peoples, has also often occurred as a consequence of colonialism, with racism and ethnic prejudice commonly being predisposing factors. In some cases occupying forces maintained their authority by the terror of a perpetual threat of massacre. (5) Examples could occur either at home or overseas: the English for example massacred native populations in Ireland, Scotland and Wales in order to deter resistance and to "clear" land for seizure, and the British also almost wholly exterminated the indigenous people when colonizing Tasmania as late as the start of the nineteenth century. Africa, Australasia and the Americas witnessed numerous other examples. The effect of genocide can be achieved in different ways: today, insensitive economic exploitation can threaten the extinction of some surviving indigenous peoples.

22. But genocide, far from being only a matter of historical study, is an aberration which also is a modern danger to civilization. No stronger evidence that the problem of genocide has - far from receding - grown in contemporary relevance is required than the fact that the gravest documented example of this crime is among the most recent, and furthermore occurred in the so-called developed world. Successive advances in killing-power underline that the need for international action against genocide is now more urgent than ever. It has been estimated that the Nazi holocaust in Europe slaughtered some 6 million Jews, 5 million Protestants, 3 million Catholics and half a million Gypsies. This was the product not of international warfare, but a calculated State political policy of mass murder that has been termed "a structural and systematic destruction of innocent people by a State bureaucratic apparatus". (6) The Nazi intention to destroy particular human nations, races, religions, sexual groups, classes and political opponents as a premeditated plan was manifested before the Second World War. The war later offered the Nazi German leaders an opportunity to extend this policy from their own country to the peoples of occupied Poland, parts of the Soviet Union and elsewhere, with an
intention of Germanizing their territories. The "final solution" included (as evidenced at the Nuremberg trial), "delayed-action genocide" aimed at destroying groups' biological future through sterilization, castration, abortion, and the forcible transfer of their [Page 8] children. (7) The term genocide, with also its concept as an international crime, was first used officially at the subsequent International Tribunal at Nuremberg. The indictment of 8 October 1945 of the major German war criminals charged that the defendant had:

"conducted deliberate (8)

The concluding speech by the British Prosecutor stated that:

"Genocide was not restricted to extermination of the (9)

23. The present two German Governments have been unflinching in their acknowledgment and condemnation of these guilty events, in their efforts to guard against any repetition of them or of Nazism. The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany had stated that official action will be taken, without the need for complaint from any member of the public, to prosecute people who seek to deny the truth about the Nazi crimes. President von Weizsacker in a forthright recent speech to the Bundestag made clear his belief that his countrymen must have known during the war of the fate of the Jews:

"The genocide of the Jews is without example in history . . . at the end of the war, the whole unspeakable truth of the holocaust emerged. Too many said they knew nothing, or had only an inkling of it. There is no guilt or innocence of a whole people because guilt, like innocence, is not collective but individual. All those who lived through that time with full awareness should ask themselves today, quietly, about their involvement." (10)

24. Toynbee stated that the distinguishing characteristics of the twentieth century in evolving the development of genocide "are that it is committed in cold blood by the deliberate fiat of holders of despotic political power, and that the perpetrators of genocide employ all the resources of present-day technology and organization to make their planned massacres systematic and complete". (11) The Nazi aberration has unfortunately not been the only case of genocide in the twentieth century. Among other examples which can be cited as qualifying are the German massacre of Hereros in 1904, (12) the Ottoman massacre of Armenians in 1915-1916, (13) the Ukrainian pogrom of Jews in 1919, (14) the Tutsi massacre of Hutu in Burundi in 1965 and 1972, (15) the Paraguayan massacre of Ache Indians prior to 1974, (16) the Khmer Rouge massacre in Kampuchea between 1975 and 1978, (17) and the contemporary Iranian killings of Baha'is. (18) Apartheid is considered separately in paragraphs 43-46 below. A number of other cases may be suggested. It could seem pedantic to argue that some terrible mass-killings are legalistically not genocide, but on the other hand it could be counter-productive to devalue genocide through over-diluting its definition.

2. L. J. Macfarlane, The Theory and Practice of Human Rights (London, Temple Smith, 1985), pp. 28-29 Leo Kuper, Genocide (London, Pengiun Books, 1981) J. N. Porter, Genocide and Human Rights (Washington, University Press of America, 1982) Leo Kuper, The Prevention of Genocide (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1985) the United Nations Study on Human Rights and Mass Exodus by Sadruddin Aga Khan in 1981 (E/CN.4/1503), together with the consequent report in 1983 of the Secretary-General of the Unieted Nations (A/38/538) the Report of the Working Group on Enforced or involuntary Disappearances (E/CN.4/1985/15) and the Reports on Summary or Arbitrary Executions (E/CN.4/1984/29 and E/CN.4/1985/17).

3. The word "genocide" was coined by the Polish jurist Professor Raphael Lemkin, from the Greek word "genos" (race, nation or tribe) and the Latin "cide" (killing): Axis Rule in Occupied Europe (W ashington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1944). Lemkin was the first main authority on the subject. Lately there has been considerable new interest in the study of genocide, and the Institute of the International Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem in 1985 has begun to publish a newsletter on the subject.

4. Antonio Planzer, Le crime du génocide (St. Gallen, F. Schwald A.G., 1956) Raphael Lemkin, "Le génocide" Revue Internationale du droit pénal,1946, No. 10.

5. Jean-Paul Sartre, "On Genocide", in Richard A. Falk and others eds., Crimes of War (New York: Random House, 1971).

6. Irving Horowitz, Taking Lives: Genocide and State Power (New Brunswick, Transaction Books, 1980). See also helen Fein, Accounting for Genocide (New York: Free Press, 1979), and Israel Charny ed., Towards the Understanding and Prevention of Genocide (Epping, United Kingdom, Bowker, and Boulder, United States of America, Westview Press, 1984).

7. J. Billig, L'Allemagne et le génocide (Paris, Editions du Centre, 1950) Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews (Chicago, Quadrangle Books, 1961).

9. Ibid., vol. XIX, pp. 497-498 (concluding speech by Sir Hartley Shawcross). See also Ann Tusa and John Tusa, The Nuremberg Trial (London, MacMillan, 1983),

10. Speech on the meaning of the fortieth anniversary of VE day, 8 May 1985.

11. Arnold Toynee, Experiences (London, Oxford University Press, 1969).

12. General von Trotha issued an extermination order water-holes were poisoned and the African peace emissaries were shot. In all, three quarters of the Herero Africans were killed by the Germans then colonizing present-day Namibia, and the Hereros were reduced from 80,000 to some 15,000 starving refugees. See P. Fraenk, The Namibians (London, Minority Rights Group, 1985).

13. At least 1 million, and possibly well over half of the Armenian population, are reliably estimated to have been killed or death marched by independent authorities and eye-witnesses. This is corroborated by reports in United States, German and British archives and of contemporary diplomats in the Ottoman Empire, including those of its ally Germany. The German Ambassador, Wangenheim, for example, on 7 July 1915 wrote "the government is indeed pursuing its goal of exterminating the Armenian race in the Ottoman Empire" (Wilhelmstrasse archives). Though the successor Turkish Government helped to institute trials of a few of those responsible for the massacres at which they were found guilty, the present official Turkish contention is that genocide did not take place although there were many casualties and dispersals in the fighting, and that all the evidence to the contrary is forged. See, inter alia, Viscount Bryce and A. Toynbee, The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire 1915-16 (London, HMSO, 1916): G. Chaliand and Y. Ternon, Genocide des Armeniens (Brussels, Complexe, 1980) H. Morgenthau, Ambassador Morgenthau's Story (New York, Doubleday, 1918) J. Lepsius, Deutschland und Armenien (Potsdam, 1921: shortly to be published in French by Fayard, Paris) R.G. Hovanissian, Armenia on the Road to Independence (Berkeley, University of California, 1967) Permanent People's Tribunal, A Crime of Silence (London, Zed Press, 1985) K. Gurun, Le Dossier Armenien (Ankara, Turkish Historical society, 1983) B. Simsir and others, Armenians in the Ottoman Empire (Istanbul, Bogazici University Press, 1984) T. Ataov, A Brief Glance at the "Armenian Question" (Ankara, University Press, 1984) V. Goekjian, The Turks before the Court of History (New Jersey, Rosekeer Press, 1984) Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, Armenia, the Continuing Tragedy (Geneva, World Council of Churches, 1984) Foreign Policy Institute, The Armenian Issue (Ankara, F.P.I., 1982).

14. Between 100,000 - 250,000 Jews were killed in 2,000 pogroms by Whites, Cossacks and Ukrainian nationalists. See Z. Katz ed., Handbook of Major Soviet Nationalities (New York, Free Press, 1975), p.362 A. Sachar, A History of the Jews (New York, Knopf, 1967).

15. The Tutsi minority government first liquidated the Hutu leadership in 1965, and then slaughtered between 100,000 and 300,000 Hutu in 1972. See Rene Lemarchand, Selective Genocide in Burundi (London, Minority Rights Group, 1974) and Leo Kuper, The Pity of it All (London, Duckworth, 1977).

16. In 1974 the International League for the Rights of Man together with the Inter-American Association for Democracy and Freedom, charging the Government of Paraguay with complicity in genocide against the Ache (Guayaki Indians), alleged that the latter had been enslaved, tortured and massacred that food and medicine had been denied them and their children removed and sold. See Norman Lewis and others in Richard Arens ed., Genocide in Paraguay (Philadelphia, Temple University Press, 1976) and R. Arens "The Ache of Paraguay" in J. Porter, Genocide and Human Rights (op.cit.).

17. It is estimated that at least 2 million people were killed by Pol Pot's Kher Rouge government of Democratic Kampuchea, out of a total population of 7 million. Even under the most restricted definition, this constituted genocide, since the victims included target groups such as the Chams (an Islamic minority) and the Buddhist monks. See Izvestia, 2 November 1978 F. Ponchaud, Cambodia Year Zero (London, Penguin Books, 1978) W. Shawcross, Sideshow Kissinger, Nixon and the Destruction of Cambodia (New York, Simon and Schuster, 1979) V. Can and others, Kampuchea Dossier: The Dark Years (Hanoi, Viet Nam Courier, 1979) D. Hawk, The Cambodia Documentation Commission (New York, Columbia University, 1983) L. Kuper, International Action against Genocide (London, Minority Rights Group, 1984).

18. See evidence presented to United Nations Human Rights Commission and Sub-Commission, 1981-1984, and R. Cooper, The Baha'is of Iran (London, Minority Rights Group, 1985).

UN Whitaker Report on Genocide, 1985, paragraphs 14 to 24, pages 5 to 10 [ Table of Contents , Previous Section , Next Section ]


British Suppression of the Mau Mau Uprising Was Marked by Systemic Torture, Rape, and Murder

Starting in the early 20th century, white British settlers began colonizing the fertile central highlands of Kenya, setting themselves up as coffee and tea planters. Prime lands were expropriated from the natives, and given to white farmers from Britain and South Africa. In the process, large numbers of the native Kikuyu tribes who had farmed those lands for centuries were displaced.

The influx of white settlers increased sharply after World War I, as the British government implemented a scheme to resettle ex-soldiers in the region. In 1920, the white settlers prevailed upon the colonial government to solidify their land tenure and hold on power by enacting restrictions on Kikuyu land ownership and agricultural practices. Kikuyu land ownership was restricted to reservations, and before long, about 3000 British settlers owned more land &ndash and the best land at that &ndash than 1 million Kikuyus.

Many Kikuyu who were kicked off their tribal homelands were forced to emigrate to Nairobi, where they lived in slums surrounding the Kenyan capital. Those who remained in the central highlands were reduced to an agricultural proletariat, working their ancestral lands as farm laborers for the white settlers. British settlers grew wealthy off their land holdings, and frequently treated the indigenous Africans with racist hostility and contempt.

British soldiers rounding up men in a Kikuyu village during the Mau Mau Uprising. South African History Online

Kenyan nationalists such as Jomo Kenyata pressed the British in vain for political rights and land reforms, particularly a land redistribution in the central highlands, but were ignored. Finally, after years of marginalization as white settler expansion ate away at their land holdings, disaffected Kikuyus formed a secret resistance society known as the Mau Mau. In 1952, Mau Mau fighters began carrying out attacks against political opponents, raiding white settler plantations, and destroying their crops and livestock.

The British responded by declaring a state of emergency, rushing army reinforcements to Kenya, and conducting a savage counterinsurgency that lasted until 1960. British military units conducted sweeps in the Kenyan countryside, indiscriminately rounding up Mau Mau insurgents and innocents alike. Collective punishment was visited upon villages suspected of Mau Mau sympathies, and massacres became a frequent occurrence.

During the eight years of the emergency, 38 white settlers were killed. By contrast, British official figures for Mau Mau fighters killed in the field was 11,000, plus another 1090 hanged by the colonial administration. Unofficial figures indicate that many more native Kenyans were killed. A human rights commission estimated that the British tortured, maimed, or killed 90,000 Kenyans during a campaign of sustained official terror. An additional 160,000 were detained in camps for years on end, without trial and in atrocious conditions. The camp&rsquos white officers subjected their African inmates to beatings, severe torture, and starvation. Women were routinely raped, while some men were castrated. They were not isolated incidents, but systemic &ndash part and parcel of the wider counterinsurgency campaign intended to break the Mau Mau.


What was the contemporary German public opinion on the Herero Genocide? - History

Excerpted from: Sidney Harring, German Reparations to the Herero Nation: an Assertion of Herero Nationhood in the Path of Namibian Development? , 104 West Virginia Law Review 393-497, 393-398, 401-410 (Winter 2002) (132 Footnotes Omitted)

German Chancellor Helmut Kohl probably expected a pleasant and uneventful visit to Namibia in September of 1995. Formerly the German colony of South West Africa, the new nation of Namibia is visibly proud of its German heritage, evident everywhere in its capital at Windhoek, in stoutly built brick and stone colonial buildings. Germany, in turn, is Namibia's largest provider of foreign aid and equally proud of its role in Namibian development. However, while Kohl was visiting a German community in Namibia, around three-hundred "members of the Herero tribe led by Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako marched on the German embassy in Windhoek and handed in a petition for Kohl." As it turns out, the Herero wanted to meet Kohl during his visit to Namibia. However, Kohl refused and instead visited the coastal town of Swakopmund. The petition was a demand for reparations resulting from the near extermination of the Herero by the Germans during the Herero War of 1904-07. The war, although not well known in a world of far more deadly wars, was among the twentieth century's bloodiest colonial wars, killing at least sixty thousand of the eighty-thousand Herero and resulting in the German seizure of all Herero lands and cattle. As a result, Central Namibia was swept clean of black occupation, setting the stage for the creation of the European agricultural economy that prevails today.

Herero Paramount Chief Kuaimi Riruako demanded reparations of $600 million (US). After delivering the petition, Riruako stated, "We think we have a legitimate claim for reparations as a result of the war and genocide committed against the Hereros by the German army." The Herero Traditional Authority, he continued, was prepared to take its case to the United Nations if Bonn rejected the claim. And, in a surprising move, Chief Riruako, through the Chief Hosea Kutako Foundation, recently filed a lawsuit against three German companies in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, asking for $2 billion (U.S.) in reparations, asserting the companies were in a "brutal alliance" with imperial Germany in the Herero War.

The Namibian government has opposed the Herero claim for reparations. Heavily dependant on German aid, and dominated by the rival Ovambo tribe, the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO), the ruling party, has taken the position that all Namibian tribes were victimized by colonial exploitation, and therefore, no group in particular should be singled out to receive reparation payments. But the Herero, now numbering about 125,000, and the leading opposition tribe, have persisted in pursuing their claim. It has served to define Herero identity within Namibia, setting the Herero people apart.

In a modern Africa, with many different development regimes competing, the Herero claim deserves careful analysis. A model of "reparations" has an obvious historical root in the colonization of Africa. In addition, a pattern of violent land seizures in Zimbabwe underscores the need for effective land reform programs that, in turn, are blocked throughout southern Africa by a lack of funds. German reparations would allow the Herero, still a cattle herding people, to repurchase a substantial portion of their "stolen" lands and return their cattle to their traditional range. Ironically, under the colonial law of conquest, the Herero cannot recover nor be compensated for their "stolen" lands because the German conquest of their lands provides a legal basis for German land ownership. But their claim for reparations for genocide is based on broader rights in international and natural law and therefore may provide a better chance for success.

The Herero did not "invent" their demand for reparations. Rather, it is derived entirely from their careful reading of modern German history. Germany is making reparations to both individual Jews and the State of Israel for acts of genocide inthe 1930s and 1940s, scarcely thirty years after the Herero War. The Herero ask an obvious question: what is the legal - or moral - distinction between German genocide directed at Jews and German genocide directed at Africans? Surely, in the modern world, a racial distinction cannot account for this difference in policy. Or is the distinction based on some meaningful difference between genocide in the Herero War and World War Two? As it was simply put by Mburumba Kerina, a Herero activist, "(T)he concerns of the Hereros must be seen in the same light as that of the Jewish people."

The Herero claim for reparations is directly grounded in the characterization of Germany's history as particularly violent and as a former racist imperialist and colonial power, with a history of acknowledging this violence by paying reparations. Indeed, there is evidence that the virulent racism that promoted the holocaust not only the characterized German colonization of Africa, but was also partially formed there: the Germans began experiments with sterilization in the name of the science of eugenics, the creation of a " master race," in German South West Africa at the turn of the century. Herero prisoners of war were the subjects of these experiments. Similarly, Germany's sudden and late entry into the colonial enterprise in Africa was prompted by its military victories in the Franco-Prussian War, prompting further expansion of German authority through military power. Consequently, the Herero seem to have a strong argument that they too deserve reparations from Germany. However, before one can completely understand the true nature of their claim for reparations, a closer look at the Herero War is necessary.

Like most colonial histories, the colonial history of Namibia is complex and still, from the standpoint of the black people who live there, largely unwritten. The Herero War, an exception to this history, has been the subject of a number of books, with scholars drawn to the unique character of German colonial violence. Although a number of meanings can be drawn from the war, the central outcome in terms of land law is clear: Germany terminated by conquest all Herero land rights in South West Africa, leaving the nation with no land at all. Herero lands were then "sold" to settlers - ninety percent of them German - on favorable terms, with long- term loans subsidized by the government. These farms are now the heart of Namibian agriculture, occupying a wide swath from Omaruru to Gobabis and the Botswana border, the entire country to the west, north, and east of Windhoek.

The census of 1911 gives the Herero population in South West Africa as 15,130, down from about 80,000 before the war. A few thousand additional Herero, including Chief Samuel Maharero, had sought refuge in western Bechuanaland (now Botswana). Perhaps a few hundred to a thousand more had fled to Kaokoland, a remote area beyond the police line but still in German South West Africa, and a few more escaped to Angola. Thus, at most 20,000 Herero survived the war, possibly no more than 17,000, leaving at least 60,000 to 63,000 dead - seventy-five to eighty percent of their pre-war population. Within Namibia, Herero cattle were all lost and their herding culture was decimated. These remaining Herero survived as refugees, living in absolute poverty in camps or near mission stations. High death rates continued in the postwar years, as the result of disease and starvation. Thus, the German act of genocide against the Herero was striking and deliberate, intended both to free their lands for white settlement and also to deter similar uprisings by other Native tribes in South West Africa.

III. THE LEGAL BASIS OF THE CLAIM FOR HERERO REPARATIONS

The Herero claim for reparations began within the context of the next ninety years of colonial history. Modern Namibia looks much the way the Germans left it in 1915, when German rule suddenly ended. After a brief period of British administration following the capture of South West Africa in World War One, the colony was turned over, under the provisions of a League of Nations class "c" mandate, to South African administration. The British plans were for a well-ordered agricultural colonial-settler state. German farmers were left on their lands, including most of the Herero lands, the agricultural heartland, with new, often very marginal, lands to the north and south opened up to Boer settlers. South West Africa became a rich agricultural land, heavily subsidized by the apartheid-era South African state.

The Herero, who joined the British forces in the invasion of South West Africa, began a cultural renaissance under the South Africans. By all sorts of means, including large-scale squatting and various sharecropping agreements with white farmers, they regained their cattle and re-occupied vast tracts of their former lands, albeit in the more remote and undeveloped regions. This history is remarkable, given the racist, and later apartheid-era policies of South Africa, but it sets the political stage for the position of the Herero in modern Namibia and for their claim for reparations.

This history is important because it structures the logic of Herero reparations. The underlying issue is the forcible deprivation of their lands which, in turn, means that there is no place to graze Herero cattle, the center of their culture. However, no direct reparation for land is likely because, historically, indigenous lands taken by European settler societies have rarely been returned. Although the Herero often talk about "land" in the context of reparations, the actual demand for economic reparations is based on genocide and on the merciless and systematic killing and starvation of the Herero during the 1904-07 war. This demand is grounded in the logic of reparations for Jews and other peoples victimized by the Germans before and in World War Two, analogizing the Herero War to German genocide against the Jews and not to other African and Asian colonial wars.

It would be both a futile and dishonorable discourse to venture into any kind of a comparative analysis of genocide - and such a discussion is irrelevant for purposes of the Herero position. Genocide is genocide: murdering an African tribe cannot be rotely compared to murdering a European people, or a European nation. Nothing that the Herero say in any way dismisses or diminishes the unique crimes that Germany committed against Jews. Modern international law of reparations is dominated by extensive Jewish claims for reparations against Germany and other countries, but this is not the limit of reparations claims. Even in the context of World War Two, reparations have been paid to others, including $1.2 billion to Americans of Japanese descent for their imprisonment and loss of their lands. Also reparations have been made in a parallel settlement to Japanese Canadians, and a case is pending against the Japanese for reparations for Korean "comfort women," forced into prostitution by the Japanese army. Other European claims, including that of the Romani people, raised by other peoples subjected to mass extermination in concentration camps, have failed. None of these claims for reparations compare to the Jewish holocaust, but their success, nevertheless, represents important advances in human rights law.

The Herero are very aware of these legally recognized reparation claims and base their claim accordingly. Mburumba Kerina, a Herero leader, commented on the forced sexual slavery of Herero women by Germans. Comparing this to the case of the Japanese "comfort women," Kerina explained, probably with more than a touch of irony: "Hey, that's my grandmother - a comfort woman. . . If the Japanese could pay for that, the Germans could." This careful attention to the existing international law of reparations distinguishes the Herero claim for reparations. The narrow discussion is a more general inquiry into the appropriateness of reparations as a political and legal remedy to the damage to various peoples caused by twentieth century colonial wars. If these situations are reasonably analogous to existing reparations claims, to dismiss them out of hand must turn on considerations that can only be called racist. If these claims are well grounded legally, then broader policy issues may be implicated and must be heard.

There is no consistent legal basis for any of the modern reparations regimes. The concept of reparations is rooted in natural law, the common law, and international law it is an equitable principle that the beneficiary of an ill-gotten gain should make restitution, both as an act of contrition and good will, but also simply to restore the victim to some part of their previous life. As a political matter when related to the specific context of war reparations, it is generally "winners" who demand restitution from "losers." The original post World War Two German reparations law, Law Number 59 on Restitution of Property Stolen in the Course of the Aryanization of the Economy, was adopted by the U.S. military government and imposed on Germany in November, 1947. However, within the modern world, liberal democracies have used the language of reparations in making voluntary payments through various statutory regimes to their own indigenous or minority populations. American and Canadian payments to Japanese citizens as reparations for wartime injustice are the most extensive example, although many payments to indigenous peoples are broadly of this type. Although these Japanese reparation claims included complex litigation strategies, these ultimately failed and the final reparations settlements were political, voted by the U.S. Congress and the Canadian Parliament.

The Jewish claims against Germany also avoided litigation and began with ally-ordered regimes to return stolen Jewish property but proceeded to a formal claim, filed on behalf of the State of Israel, as the lawful representative of the Jewish people, with the German government. A series of negotiations followed, with a final agreement resulting through political processes, and voted on by the German Parliament. The original reparations legislation has been revised and expanded several times, with substantial opposition within Germany.

The legal basis of Herero reparations is rooted in both of these traditions, although it lacks support from the Namibian government. The Herero reparations claim has never been formally acted on by the German government, but it was dismissed out of hand in a speech by Roman Herzog, President of Germany. In a 1998 trip to Namibia, Herzog was quoted as saying that "no international legislation existed at the time under which ethnic minorities could get reparations." Herero activist Mberumba Kerina countered by claiming that the Hague Convention of 1899 outlawed "reprisals against civilians on the losing side." In the same exchange, Herzog dismissed the idea of an apology because too much time had passed to make sense - and also fired his translator for misinterpreting his statements.

To the extent that this exchange begins to structure the Herero case and the German response to it, several important issues emerge leaving an unclear legal basis for their reparations claim. President Herzog describes the legal basis for reparations differently than do the Herero. Herzog put his response in the language of colonialism, with his clear historical reference to the colonial domination of ethnic minorities serving as a basis for reparations as supported by no "international legislation at the time." Thus, for Herzog, colonialism was "legal" in 1905 under international legislation, therefore ending the discussion of Herero reparations.

This analysis, however, is not the basis of the Herero claim. Rather, the Herero locate their claim in terms of the international laws of war as defined in the Second Hague Convention of 1899, a convention at which the Germans were represented and which binds the European powers as they go about their "business" of civilized warfare, that is warfare between signatory nations. Unless Germany seeks to argue, in the twenty-first century, that there was, after 1899, one set of rules for European nations conducting wars with each other and a completely different set for those same nations conducting "colonial" wars, or even more bluntly put, wars against "ethnic" peoples, it is in an untenable moral position.

The Hague Convention on the Laws and Customs of War by Land was signed on July 29, 1899 and took effect on September 4, 1900. Intended to regulate modern warfare, the Convention contains a number of provisions that, in their plain language, were apparently violated by Germany in the Herero War. Article 4 requires that "prisoners of war in the power of the hostile government . . . must be honorably treated." Article 7 provides that "the government into whose hands prisoners of war have fallen is bound to maintain them." Article 23 states that "it is especially prohibited to kill or wound treacherously individuals belonging to the hostile nation or army to declare that no quarter will be given to destroy or seize the enemies property, unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessity of war." Finally, Article 46 states that "family honors and rights, individual lives and private property . . . must be respected."

It would follow that a systemic violation of that Convention, for example, in an order to kill all the Herero and starve their women and children, clearly a declaration that "no quarter will be given," would be legally actionable under whatever regime of international enforcement the Hague Convention recognizes, but for the fact that the Herero were not represented at the Hague, and could not, therefore, sign the convention. Thus, the issue is not the literal application of the Hague Convention to the Herero War. Rather, it is the Convention as a statement of international customary law. Importantly for the Herero, their claim can be analagized to Jewish and Japanese reparation claims, which are also not based on the Hague Convention, but on more general principles of human rights.

This leaves unanswered President Herzog's defense: that colonialism and, apparently, colonial genocide, was legal in 1905. Although his position may literally be true, that, again, is not the issue. The political and legal reasons for not opening up four hundred years of colonialism to broad claims of reparations are clear, regardless of the justice of the claims. Such a claim parallels other equally broad based claims, most prominently in the growing discussion of reparations for African slavery. There is a substantial literature - including in law reviews - on these legal arguments. Representative John Conyers has introduced a resolution into the House of Representatives requiring the exploration of the issue of reparations for slavery in the United States. A Pan-African Congress on Reparations was held in Nigeria in 1993 and claims of reparations underscore some of the discourse on the rebuilding of African economies. Although these efforts have most often been dismissed as politically impossible, existing legal doctrines of equity and natural law, as well as the thirteenth and fourteenth amendments of the U.S. Constitution, lend both moral and legal credibility to the case for black reparations for both slavery, primarily involving the tens of millions of overseas blacks, and for the devastation of colonialism, primarily involving blacks still living on the African continent.

However, it is important to see that the Herero claim is much more narrowly framed than the above claims are. While in the long course of human history there has clearly and unfortunately been an equally long history of genocide, the law of reparations is much more limited. Modern reparations claims, modeled after the Jewish claims against Germany, are most often very specific. The Herero are aware of this, explaining the precise basis for their claim as acts of genocide committed against their nation by the German army, acting under specific orders in carrying out German colonial policy in the Herero War of 1904-07. Thus, the Herero nation is the injured party, acting on behalf of the 60,000 Herero dead in bringing the reparations claim. Although these people are clearly the grandmothers and grandfathers of every living Herero person, it is not their families who are making the claim. This formulation is deliberately designed to be broadly analogous to the successful war reparations claims resulting from German genocide in World War Two. The Herero nation is asking for reparations from roughly the same position as the State of Israel. Although, a "tribe" is not a "state," modern tribes represent their people in world forums, and nothing in the international law of reparations requires that the aggrieved people be represented by a state.

This has two equally precise legal purposes. No legal claim for reparations is likely to be entertained unless it is possible to set damages. The "costs" of colonialism and slavery over four hundred years are incalculable, and this is some barrier to these claims. But courts, in tort cases, set the price of particular human lives every day. The United States paid $1.2 billion to twenty thousand Americans of Japanese ancestry for the loss of their property in World War Two. The Herero have asked for $600 million (US) - $10,000 for each human victim nothing for their land, nothing for their cattle. It is likely to be legally difficult, even in a culture with an elaborate oral history, to prove who among the Herero was killed, how, and where in the South West Africa of a hundred years ago. The nature of the Herero claim, as a nation, however, renders this unnecessary.

One final distinction between the Herero claim and the World War Two era claims also suggests itself: the Herero claim is at least thirty years older. Common sense suggests that there must be some time limit on reparations claims, although no law absolutely states what this might be. The Herero claim is based on a twentieth century act of genocide and grounded in similar claims arising from other twentieth century wars. Modern South Africa permits native claims for restitution of land back to the Native Land Act of 1913, a period roughly the same as the Herero claim. Moreover, the apartheid-era policies of South Africa effectively blocked raising a reparations claim until independence in 1990, and the Herero raised their claim almost immediately thereafter. The United States and Canada, recognizing the legal difficulties Indian nations had in the nineteenth and most of the twentieth century in bringing land claims, have not limited the time frame for Native American land restitution claims, and one claim dating from 1795 is still being litigated. For policy reasons, it makes no sense to limit reparations to genocide to the actual victims: they are most often dead, and that is precisely the nature of the evil of genocide. And, for the same reasons, it also makes no sense to require that some modern state represent the interests of a victimized people.

But, there are no formal legal rules governing the law of reparations. The Herero have posed a political claim and are still awaiting political action on the part of the German government. The claim is not justiciable in Namibian courts. While there may ultimately be recourse to the World Court, the Herero are aware that reparations regimes operant in the world today are political and not legal. But, these political actions have a common history of being moved by extensive legal posturing, creating a powerful moral climate supporting reparations, and shaping public opinion. This has been the main thrust of the Herero effort at the present time the dramatic confrontation of Chancellor Kohl with the Herero chiefs and Truppenspieler attracted good press around the world.


Namibia's brutal past / Stars' playland was site of genocide

When I lived in the country in the early '90s, people there used to joke that now that Namibia was finally at peace it would never again make headlines. Peace? Who wants to read about peace? Peace doesn't sell papers. At a rural school where I was teaching, way out in the semidesert veld, we listened to war stories on the BBC from Angola, South Africa and the former Yugoslavia, and imagined how it might sound if Namibia were included: Nothing much raged again today across newly independent Namibia.

Now, Namibia finds itself in the spotlight with the birth of a child to Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt at the Burning Shores Resort, a five-star hotel on the Namibian coast. Need it be said that the average wage of most Namibians is so low it wouldn't allow them to buy a Fanta at the Burning Shores, much less rent a room?

And yet it is good to see Namibia getting its 15 minutes of fame, and I do hope the tourists come in droves. As the wave of recent travel pieces on the country have highlighted, the people of Namibia are generous and welcoming, the sand dunes of the Namib are indeed the highest in the world, the sunsets are breathtaking and the animals -- when they are not being shot by hunters on safari -- are truly majestic.

Still, this might be a good time to mention now-tranquil Namibia's connection to a more sobering subject also in the news: the continuing indiscriminate slaughter of people in Sudan's Darfur region. Elie Wiesel recently noted in the Israeli newspaper Haretz, "History constantly chooses a capital of human suffering, and Darfur is today the capital of human suffering." More than a hundred years ago, that capital was Namibia, then called Southwest Africa, the site of the first genocide of the 20th century. In 1904, the Herero people, one of the ethnic groups that make up the people of Namibia, rose up in rebellion against German colonial rule. The results were catastrophic. After stunning the Germans initially, the Herero people -- men, women, and children -- were almost completely obliterated by the German military.

At the onset of the campaign to eradicate the rebellious Herero people, Gen. Lothar von Trotha wrote, in a letter to the man he was replacing as head of German forces, "I know the tribes of Africa. They are all alike. They respond only to force. It was and is my policy to use force with terrorism and even brutality. I shall annihilate the revolting tribes with streams of blood and streams of gold. Only after uprooting will something emerge."

Von Trotha knew his business. He'd had similar success in German East Africa. And he was true to his word. After the Herero retreated to Waterberg Mountain in the central part of the country, the Germans surrounded all sides of the mountain but one -- leaving only the Omaheke desert as an escape route.

It was at this point, Von Trotha issued his Schrecklichkeit order, which, even in the bloody history of colonialism, is unique for its directness: "All Herero must leave the land. If people do not do this, I will force them to do it with great guns. Any Herero found within German borders, with or without a gun, with or without cattle, will be shot. I shall no longer receive any women or children. I will drive them back to their people, or I will shoot them. This is my decision for the Herero people."

Many tens of thousand Hereros -- including civilians -- went to the desert where they subsequently either died of exposure or were hunted down and murdered by German soldiers.

The true numbers will never be known, but of the estimated 80,000 Herero alive at the start of the rebellion in 1904, only some 20,000 were alive by the summer of 1905. Some escaped across the desert to the east, to the then-British-held Bechuanaland Protectorate, but the majority perished as a result of the conflict. A contemporary German historical account (quoted in Jon M. Bridgman's important study of the period, "The Revolt of the Hereros" (University of California Press, 1981) put it bluntly: "The Hereros have ceased to exist as a tribe."

Of course, numbers and official histories only tell part of the story. While back in the country a few years ago doing research in the Namibian National Archives, I came across an account by a young German recruit who told of encountering, while out on patrol, a lone, dying Herero woman. She was remarkable, he said, in her calm politeness as she asked, with much dignity, that she be shot. His commanding officer obliged her with a bullet to the head.

We do that nameless woman honor if, when we think of Namibia, we also remember her.


Watch the video: Ξέσπασε ο Γιώργος Λιάγκας για το GNTM: To concept είναι φωτογράφιση για να ερεθίσετε τον γείτονα (November 2021).