GENOCIDE is defined in Article (2) of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948) as any acts committed with the intent to destroy in whole or in part; a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, such as:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
On 02 October 1904 when the Germans defeated the Ovaherero people, Lotha von Trotha who was the leader of the German troops in Namibia, issued an extermination order against his victims. The order read in part: “Within the German borders, every Herero with or without a gun, with or without cattle will be shot, men, women and children alike, I will drive them back to their people or let them get shot.”
From that statement, it is clear that Von Trotha had declared a genocide against the Ovaherero people, and the events that followed after thatconfirms it. He ordered the ruthless killing by means of hanging, beheading, starvation in concentration camps and other genocidal tactics. Under his order people whose only crime was defending themselves against the violent inhuman seizure of their land and the slaughtering of their cattle.
The negotiations between Namibia and Germany started in 2015, after more than a century of the German government’s denial. Even after talks had begun between the two states, Germany still refuses to refer to what happened in Namibia as a genocide, but would rather call it “atrocities”. What should the killing of over 65 000 people be called?
What happened from 1904 -1907 cannot be referred to as atrocities because it was a genocide and a genocide it will remain. The government of Namibia through various agencies and ministries has been holding talks with the government of Germany on behalf of the Ovaherero and Nama communities, but it seems as if the government’s bilateral relations with Germany is standing in the way of true negotiations. This is because Germany seems to be the only one setting the terms for the negotiations.
Germany is the biggest developmental aid donor to Namibia and they seem to be using this truth in the negotiations to mantain the upper hand. Developmental aid is not genocide reparations and it is neither an acknowledgment nor an apology for the genocide.
The government of Namibia in particular, the Swapo party seems to be suffering from amnesia, they have forgotten what the fight for independence was all about. The same people they fought so bravely to, liberate are the same people they are seemingly betraying just because Germany gives Namibia aid.
The sad part is that, this genocide is not even commemorated and over 65 000 heroes and heroines forgotten. The ruthless slaughtering of innocent people is now being called an atrocity, all in the name of more developmental aid.
Germany remains insensitive about the genocide and it is time for the Namibian government to take measures to show Germany that the Namibian people will not accept anything short of an acceptance of the GENOCIDE! and an apology as well as reparations for the evil deeds committed against the Ovaherero and Nama people.
Namibia is sitting with this situation and it cannot be buried. It should be addressed and addressed properly; the government should engage the right people. Namibians at large must unite in solidarity with the affected communities, to make sure that what happened in 1904- 1907 is not forgotten and is called what it was a GENOCIDE.
IitaVistoria is a 3rd year Public Administration student at the University of Namibia and an aspiring political scientist.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015