Germany regrets Namibia 'genocide'

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Marcus
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Germany regrets Namibia 'genocide'

Post by Marcus » 13 Jan 2004 18:25

Germany has expressed its "regret" for the killing of thousands of Namibia's ethnic Hereros during the colonial era.
Between 35,000 and 105,000 people were killed after the Hereros rebelled against German rule in 1904.
But Germany's ambassador to Namibia ruled out paying compensation, as the Hereros have demanded in a law suit.
Correspondents say Wolfgang Massing's statement, at a ceremony to commemorate the massacres is the closest Germany has come to an apology.
History could not be undone, he said but "we can give back to the victims and their descendants the dignity and honour of which they were robbed".
"I also wish to express how deeply we regret this unfortunate past," he said at a commemoration of the 12 January, 1904 uprising in Okahandja, the Hereros' former capital 70 kilometres north of the capital, Windhoek.
He said it would be unfair to Namibia's other groups to only compensate the Hereros.
But Herero Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako insisted that compensation must be paid.
...
After the Hereros rebelled, the German military commander, General von Trotha, ordered the Hereros to leave Namibia or be killed.
"I, the great general of the German troops, send this letter to the Herero people... All Hereros must leave this land... Any Herero found within the 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. I will shoot them. This is my decision for the Herero people."
Hereros were massacred with machine guns, their wells poisoned and then driven into the desert to die.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3388901.stm

/Marcus

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dead-cat
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Post by dead-cat » 13 Jan 2004 19:07

a more conservative estimate claims that 20000 out of 80000 survived. the german publication "der Spiegel" has an article this week on this subject. a few weeks ago the german minister for external affairs refused an official apology citing the pending lawsuit.

however, von Trothas famous quote came after the Hereros killed about 150 settlers (womans and children were spared, with 5 exceptions), a typical overreaction specific for those times.

it's intresting that von Trothas "strategy" drew criticism even in Germany where a member of the SPD party was quoted: "the way Herr von Trotha wages this war could be accomplished by a butcher's apprentice".

but the fact that so many askari coloured soldiers remaind on von Lettow-Vorbeck's side, even through the most difficult moments of the WW1 campaign in German East-Africa shows, that not every german colony was ruled by a sadistic butcher.

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David C. Clarke
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Post by David C. Clarke » 15 Jan 2004 05:05

Let's face it, the twentieth century was not the best century for German civilization.

By the way dead cat, you cn't draw any comparisons between Namibia and Tanganyika. Two vastly different countries. Tanganyika was heavily populated, no deserts and full of fairly warlike tribes with sophisiticated states.
Namibia was esentially a little arable land surrounded by desert. As I recall, the Herrero were very uncentralized, with political structures that held only local authority. Every imperialist natiion had trouble with decentralized political groups, as you could pacify one section only to have the other revolt.
Along the sme lines, Trotha blamed an entire people for what could have been the actions of a few. Trotha waged a genocidal war and its ultimate result was that when the British and South Africans invaded in WWI, the colony was easily overrun and the "natives" did not participate in its defense.
What you sow, you reap.

Cheers,
~D, the EviL

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Oderint Dvm Metvant
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Post by Oderint Dvm Metvant » 15 Jan 2004 06:54

Their demands for reparations are as absurd as blacks demanding reparations from the US government. A whole lot of people did bad things "back in the day", I don't mean to dismiss the historical episode but for God's sake...

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dead-cat
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Post by dead-cat » 15 Jan 2004 10:08

Along the sme lines, Trotha blamed an entire people for what could have been the actions of a few. Trotha waged a genocidal war and its ultimate result was that when the British and South Africans invaded in WWI, the colony was easily overrun and the "natives" did not participate in its defense.

even with herero support i don't think it would have made any difference in ww1. as you said, namibia is not tansania. von trotha proved that germans don't behave any better than any other colonialist nation. however, as it can be seen in tansania, not everyone in charge decided to enslave the native population. the treatment of natives in namibia, even before the revolt, was worse than in any other (german) colony.

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David C. Clarke
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Post by David C. Clarke » 16 Jan 2004 17:11

Here's a link with an interesting section on pre-war German Atrocities in Namibia.

http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/comment/Scott/SCh10.htm

Best Regards,
~D, the EviL

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dead-cat
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Post by dead-cat » 16 Jan 2004 17:52

from that link:

Such had been the history of German East Africa which was completely captured and taken over by the British early in the World War. Here the Germans sought to resist the British forces, consisting of native and Boer regiments from the British South African colonies, under the command of Boer officers, by compelling Negroes to fight them against the invaders. Their resistance was half-hearted; even the least intelligent African native could feel neither loyalty nor respect for the brutal and tyrannical German officers and Colonial officials, and the Germans were left practically to conduct their resistance unaided. The extension of the British protectorate over German East Africa was hailed with joy by all the natives.


somehow i think the author is mixing up German South-West Africa with German East Africa. East Africa wasn't taken over until the end of WW1. also there were no boer in East Africa.

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Patrick Edwin Cooley
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Post by Patrick Edwin Cooley » 17 Jan 2004 02:25

Would anyone happen to know if Eric S. Margolis has seen fit to comment
on this heartwarming little episode?

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David C. Clarke
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Post by David C. Clarke » 17 Jan 2004 04:01

Dead Cat, yes the author is obviously in error, however, I notice you didn't comment on the rest of the article concerning the Herrero and German atrocities.

Patrick, who is Eric S. Margolis?

Cheers,
~D~

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dead-cat
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Post by dead-cat » 17 Jan 2004 13:32

what am i supposed to say? i never claimed it didn't happen, or that it wasn't all that bad.
based on what happened in south-west africa the allies claimed after the war that germany was unable to "own" colonies. while i think that nobody shold own colonies, the german behaviour in south-west africa wasn't better than that of any other colonial power. but if the claim that germany is unable to own colonies because they are unable to govern without wiping out the native population, it doesn't explain why so many natives fought on von Lettow-Vorbecks side in german east africa, when they could have deserted at any time.

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David C. Clarke
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Post by David C. Clarke » 17 Jan 2004 16:11

Hi Dead Cat. Well, the first thing to be said is that you will neve hear me disparage Von Lettow-Vorbeck or his army's achevements. But, I think you are making a mistake in equating Tangayika to Namibia. For one thing, the peoples there were totally different than those in Namibia. It's sort of like equating Korea and Vietnam just becaue they're both in Asia.

As for colonialism, I never thought much of the idea to begin with. It was one of the great evils of the 17th--20th Centuries.

What is important about th "Herrero War" is that material I've seen describs it as "the most genocidal campaign waged by a colonial nation in Africa". 80% of the population of the three tribes involved died.

I'm not accusing you of being an apologist for this "war". I just think that the comparison between Namibia and Tanganyika is not one that belongs in any discussion of the fate of the Herreros.

Regrds,
~D~

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dead-cat
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Post by dead-cat » 17 Jan 2004 17:00

the website

http://www.klausdierks.com/Chronology/71.htm

has 2 pictures of flogged women by the german farmer Ludwig Cramer, from the Namibian State Archive, recently rediscovered. warning! very "graphical".

for those mastering german there is an article on the website of the university of Duisburg containing details from the trial of Ludwig Cramer.
http://www.uni-duisburg.de/DISS/Interne ... olk/K7.htm

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David C. Clarke
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Post by David C. Clarke » 17 Jan 2004 17:16

That first link is to a really interesting site, Dead Cat! Thanks for posting it, not so much for the pictures but for the historical information.

Best Regards, David

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