Germany Confronts Its Genocide Past in Africa

Twentieth century’s first genocide took place between 1904  and 1908 in Namibia (then the German colony of South-West Africa), when 100,000 Herero, 80% of their population, were killed directly or perished in desert bordering their former lands by German occupiers.  Approximately 10,000 Nama also died in that period.  Talks about compensation are underway, but  Herero and Nama are not optimistic.  Ruprecht Polenz, German special envoy, states that the 1948 UN Convention on Genocide cannot be applied retroactively to past genocides.  “Maybe even the United States would ask us now what to do with the Indians? You cannot restart history.  You cannot rewind time.”

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One Comment on “Germany Confronts Its Genocide Past in Africa

  1. The healing began many years ago; some want to identify the Civil Rights Movement as the pivotal moment; however, when you know history the actual charge toward freedom occurred simultaneously, during capture. Human responsiveness is fight or flight; therefore, it is reasonable to expect that every incident will be a counter-challenged.

    The common theme regardless whether in Europe or the United States is the ” developed ideas on racial purity, and their forces tried to exterminate.” What I want to highlight is the loss of life on all sides, which often appears as a missing element. When another human is under attack, we are all under attack. When will we learn that we need each other beyond racial, gender, religious, economic, education, and sexual orientation?

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