Between 1904 and 1908, tens of thousands of Africans were killed by German soldiers in the geographic area, which is now known as “Namibia,” which is a vast arid country in the extreme west of the African continent, and some consider these bloody events to be “the first genocide of the 20th century”. Others describe it as “the forgotten genocide”.
The American New York Times has drawn attention to this painful historical episode in Namibian history – through a lengthy report – after the German government yesterday officially recognized these events as “genocide” and decided to apologize and compensate the Namibian authorities. And to the families of the victims in the form of a $ 1.35 billion development and reconstruction program.
The settlement has been welcomed by the Namibian government and well received by Namibian citizens; But the leaders of the nationalities Hirero and Nama – victims of this genocide – rejected the agreement and considered it a “public relations maneuver”. It does not include the payment of compensation to the descendants and families of the victims.
The German Empire – which was known as the “German Reich” – colonized Namibia from 1884 to 1915, and around this time, two uprisings of the Herero and Nama nationalities were brutally suppressed. p>
Executions and camps
German soldiers specifically targeted the sons of these two nationalities – the newspaper adds – because they resisted the seizure of their land from German settlers, and many of them were executed by hanging or by squad execution, while others found themselves in the throes of death in the heart of the vast Namibian desert, or were tortured in concentration camps.
Historians say that approximately 80,000 of the Herero tribes (or 100,000 people) and at least 10,000 of the Nama tribes (20,000 people) perished during this bloody period.
The descendants of the Herrero and Nama – two nationalities already marginalized in Namibia – kept the memory of these events and stories of genocide alive for a century through oral accounts and cultural events.
A campaign for the genocidal recognition of the rights of their peoples began after Namibia’s independence in 1990, and it gained momentum and momentum with the centenary of the atrocities in 2004 and in particular these last years; Thank you to the scholars and politicians on the left, who pushed Germany to accept its colonial history, which you rarely examine.
While Germany hinted early on that it was ready to recognize atrocities as genocide, there was still a stumbling block in the way of that recognition, which is money; Not only how much will be provided as compensation, but also how these funds will be described.
Loot and resist
The New York Times also noted in its report that Germany at the turn of the last century was a small colonial power in Africa compared to countries like France and Britain, and was part of its rare and most valuable possessions on the Namibian mainland – which was then called South West Africa – in which thousands of German settlers worked Systematic to seize the land and livestock of its original inhabitants.
These settlers faced the most severe resistance ever from the Herero people – who were traditional herders – and after them from the Nama. In order to suppress the opposition, the German authorities sent Lothar von Trotha, a military commander known for his ferocity in the German colonies. throughout Asia and East Africa, there, he led what was called the “protection force” (Schutztruppe).
In 1904, von Trotha issued a warning to the Herrero people, stating that “every Herero, with or without a rifle, with or without cattle, will be slaughtered”, and he also warned that he would no longer shelter the women or children. On the contrary, “he will bring them back to their tribe or kill them with a firing squad.” The following year, he issued a similar warning to the Nama, the second ethnic group to fall victim to the genocide.
German experts believe – according to the newspaper – that the genocide of Herrero and Nama was a predictor of the growth of Nazi ideology and the occurrence of the Holocaust after World War II.
German colonial officers, who were studying ways to improve the human species, a distorted belief in improving the human race through selective breeding, reportedly developed ideas about racial purity and the mixing of races during their experiences with victims in Namibia.
Hundreds of the skulls of victims have already been sent to Germany for examination, some of which have been returned in recent years, in what has been considered one of the “most moving and controversial situations” in the world. history of the Namibian genocide.