Sunday, October 16, 2011

Skulls & Hypocrisy - German Imperialism in Africa

By G. Dunkel
Published Oct 14, 2011 10:17 PM

As a gesture of “reconciliation,” the German imperialist government sent 20 skulls back to Namibia in early October. They had been removed from the bodies of Herero and Nama warriors killed by German soldiers who were occupying their country — then called South West Africa by Europeans — in the early 20th century.

The skulls had been taken to Germany more than a hundred years ago for racist experiments.

When the Herero people rose up in anger over these beheadings and attacks on their herds and lands, the German army began a campaign of genocide against them. In three years, 90,000 people were reduced to 15,000, who were then driven into the Namib desert. The German army even poisoned the water holes and wells, using a tactic that went back to the Middle Ages when Jews were accused and persecuted for something that Germans had done.

Gen. Lothar von Trotha, speaking as the Great General of the German Kaiser, issued his infamous Extermination Order on Oct. 2, 1904: “The Herero people must however leave the land. If the people do not do this I will force them with cannon. Within German borders every Herero, armed or not, with or without cattle, will be shot. I will no longer accept women and children, I will drive them back to their people or I will shoot them. These are my words to the Herero people.”

While the Namibian people welcomed the return of their ancestors’ bones, they were angered by the refusal of Germany, which has paid substantial reparations to the racist, Zionist state of Israel, to pay reparations to Namibia.

The kind of genocide unleashed in the 1940s against the Jews and Romani in Europe had its beginning 40 years earlier in Africa.

White farmers, descendants of German settlers who still speak German, and some racist white Boers from South Africa still farm the land seized from the Hereros more than a hundred years ago.

University professor Hoze Riruako, a senior adviser to the paramount chief of the Herero, warned that their patience was running out.

“If something is not done, we cannot guarantee that you will not see the same kind of land grabs that you see in Zimbabwe,” he said. (Associated Press, Oct. 4)

Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba decried the colonial-era abuses, but did not mention reparations when he addressed 1,000 people gathered at the Heroes’ Acre shrine outside Windhoek, the capital.

“German imperial troops committed horrendous atrocities” against Namibians, he said. (AFP, Oct. 4)

“Through their unselfish sacrifices, our ancestors laid a strong foundation for the modern liberation struggle,” leading to independence from South Africa in 1990.

“Their spirits were never broken and while their mortal remains were removed from Namibia amidst the ruins of war, they returned now to an independent, peaceful and stable Namibia.”

Namibia is a potentially very prosperous country but with an extremely high degree of economic inequality inherited from its colonial past. For Germany to pretend to strive for reconciliation without reparations is nothing more than a hypocritical attempt to hide its racist past in Africa.

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