At the turn of the 20th century Germany committed a Genocide that has been more or less forgotten. They killed 10s of 1000s of men, women and children in what is now Namibia. They starved, were shot or tortured to death by German troops who were showing the rebellious tribes a lesson.
Berlin have started to speak about this atrocity, a policy U-Turn and many events is leading to talk over the massacre, raised awareness and just how to atone for what happened.
Relatives of Herero and Namaqua peoples affected by the massacre may see some justice as the German and Namibian governments talk over possible reparation payments and line up an official policy. The results are expected by June 2017.
The Guardian reported:
In 1884, as European powers scrambled to carve up Africa, Berlin moved to annex a new colony on the south-west coast of the continent. Land was confiscated, livestock plundered and native people subjected to racially motivated violence, rape and murder. In January 1904, the Herero people – also called the Ovaherero – rebelled. More than a hundred German civilians were killed. The smaller Nama tribe joined the uprising the following year.
Troops in German south-west Africa (now Namibia) at the time of the Herero revolt of 1904. Photograph: Three Lions/Getty Images
Colonial rulers responded without mercy. Tens of thousands of Herero were forced into the Kalahari desert, their wells poisoned and food supplies cut. Gen Lothar von Trotha, sent to quell the revolt, ordered his men to shoot “any Herero, with or without a rifle, with or without cattle”.
“I do not accept women or children either: drive them back to their people or shoot them,” he told his troops. The order was rescinded but other measures were employed that were equally lethal.
Those who had survived were rounded up and placed in concentration camps, where they were beaten and worked to death in squalid conditions. Half of the total Nama population were also killed, dying in disease-ridden death camps such the infamous site on Shark Island, in the coastal town of Lüderitz. By 1908, only 16,000 remained, historians say.
As many as 3,000 Herero skulls were sent to Berlin for German scientists to examine for signs that they were of racially inferior peoples.
If this does indeed end up in reparations it will path the way for relatives of many others to seek at very least apology from nations that committed genocide in their country and of course heavily fuel the debate in the USA (and other countries) for reparations towards the descendents of enslaved peoples.
Read more in the Guardian.