Namibia was a German colony from 1884 to 1915. In 1904, when the Herero tribes began an uprising, German General Lothar von Trotha ordered the killing of members of the tribes. Tens of thousands of Namibians were killed as a result and the Herero and Nama tribes were almost wiped out.
Now their grand children and great grand children want reparations from Germany. With the money from the reparations, they hope to buy back land from German descendants. In 2016 a German publication, Zeit Online reported that the German government did confirm somewhat that their actions could be considered Genocide although the government did not mean it in a legal context.
Reactions from around the Web
TAKE OUR POLL
Namibia’s request for reparations has been met with mixed reactions. Below are some reactions from around the Web. What do you think?
“Namibia deserves reparations and so do other countries like Poland. Poland sustained billions of dollars in damage and it received absolutely nothing. I don’t care if it was German ANCESTORS that did the crimes. That is irrelevant. POLAND’S infrastructure was damaged and who had try to repair the damage? POLISH MEN. If my ancestor decides to fall of a cliff does that mean I get to live? NO. Sure, of course it’s not my fault, but I still have to pay the price for his/her actions which is just the way things are. Germany is still in debt to Poland and while Germany’s economy grew like crazy Poland’s never got the chance to do so and even though it fought like crazy and sustained the most damage was betrayed by the allies. While Germany, the aggressors in the war were let off. The name Germany shouldn’t even exist. But it does. Poland was wiped off the map four times. Do I think that Poland, Namibia, and other countries deserve reparations. of course, there is absolutely no question about that. Do I think they’ll get it? Sadly not. Also, I realize that these are two different wars.”
“I am brown myself and from an unprivileged upbringing but it seems wrong to try and squeeze more money out from a country which is already paying you in grants. Plus a country that is doing more for the betterment of the planet than half of the other countries on the planet. They won and they did terrible things, but the victims are dead and gone. Isn’t it better to bury them and move on?”
“So let me ask you, who is more entitled to get the land, the descendants of those who have took the land and killed, or those which happen to be the descendants of those which were robbed and murdered? It`s not so easy as you might think, because being descedant by coincidence of anybody isn´t a achievment, it´s just luck or misfortune. The only reason why we allow as society something as inheritance has to be one of those kind, which preserve its safety, because people think they are entitled to it, when in fact they didn´t do anything for it. So would you prefer to create instability in an already unstable country just because it may feel nicer? And do you think that germany owes anything to people that happen to be by incident the children of children of these victims? Or do you think we should use this money in the best possible way to help all people?”
“I get it was a genocide, but I disagree that there needs to be reparations and a court case. It’s roughly a hundred years in the past. Digging up stuff like this seems unnecessary and needy from my point of view. But of course I am not Namibian, I am German so I am obviously biased. Germany has already done an immense amount of work to amend for the holocaust and all the atrocities it contained. I think its pointless going back a hundred years for this sort of issue.”
“Why not just move on? During colonial times my country Indonesia suffered hundred of thousands or even millions died under Dutch and Japanese rule. But we move on. Since our independence the Dutch and Japanese government…especially the Japanese helping us so much in building our country back with investment, trade, loan, grant, and scholarship bigger than any country. Now we are the member of G20. Just forgive and work hard for the future of your nation.”
“As an American with significant German ethnicity as well as Irish English and Scottish. I’m really tired of germany being the international whipping post or scape goat. Why is it always Germany fault for all the wrong in the world. Why not look at the Belgian Congo and the wide spread atrocities, but no one points a finger at them. Look at the Armenian genocide and kurdish genocides committed by turkey. No one’s pointing a finger at them. To say a countries past transgressions of any kind at any time must always be relevant is ignorant. The simple fact of life and human nature us that of conquest just because you happened to be on the losing side once, and now already benefit from that loss is ludicrous at best.”
“They don’t want to do this. They have seen what happens to the (farm) land after they re-stole it from the white citizens in South Africa. All the farms went bankrupt, because blacks want money and possesion, but are not able to work for it.”
“Take the land by force. Stop playing these silly games with them. It’s funny how everyone wants Black people to always forgive and forget when it comes to them getting justice over devastating atrocities committed by europeans. Treat them exactly how they treat you.”
“Germany has so far paid 800 Million US-Dollar as aid since the independence of Namibia in 1990. Not included the financial aid from the European Union which is also heavily dependent on the German contribution to the EU household. Nevertheless germany of course has a responsibility of both Namibia as a former colony and the genocide. But I also think that from the financial side germany is already contributing enough and will continue to do so in the future. The acknowledgment of the genocide should be solely symbolic.”
“All imperial powers owe reparations to the people they wronged. Will it ever happen? I can’t say but it makes me mad to see girls like the one shown in the video who is so disrespectful of the genocide that occurred. She really doesn’t care at all about the death and pain caused by her ancestors. Is she personally responsible? No of course not but her words and actions show that she doesn’t even acknowledge the events.”
“Why do they keep saying Germany? It’s German ANCESTORS that did this, German people today did not do this to that country why should they have to pay for what their ancestors did? Should the African tribes who sold their own people into slavery have to pay for what they did?”
“At least tell the whole history behind that genocide and don’t try to make it look as if the germans where the only ones who have done such things in their colonies. The reason for this genocide was an uprising of the Herero and the Nama, who raided german colonial villages, etc. and killed all the men they found (unlike the germans, they left the women and children alive), that is of course not an excuse to carry out a genocide, but you make it seem as if the germans just started killing them without any reason, it was actually an armed conflict, which escalated into a genocide, because of the german general Lothar von Trotha.”