[Marxism] A Lost Page of German and African History Demands Our Current Solidarity

Tony Abdo gojack10 at hotmail.com
Sat Jul 17 08:57:54 MDT 2004

The German and American governments so recently claimed to be concerned 
about a supposed Serb genocide of Albanians said to be taking place.  And 
today, the concern they express is in regard to events in the Sudan.  And of 
course, we know of their concerns about the Kurds.

It's true, that $4 billion is a lot of money to ask from from these 
concerned people of Berlin and DC.  Can they be asked to pay for the sins of 
their ancestors, when it is more pressing to save today's current victims 
from evil?  They might be suffering from compassion fatigue, and will not 
give the Herero tribes people a forum to express their case?  Luckily, now 
that Milosevic has been turned out of office, we have many fine socialist 
human rights groups that will probably take up the case of these Africans 
with their own respective, capitalist governments. We can expect Solidarity 
to be mobilized soon.

Namibia Tribe Marks Genocide, Demands Reparations
By Petros Kuteeue

TSAU, Botswana (Reuters) - Hundreds of Herero tribespeople gathered in 
Botswana on Saturday to pay homage to ancestors killed by German soldiers in 
Namibia who almost wiped out their people a century ago.

Tribal leaders used Saturday's commemoration to press their demands for $4 
billion in compensation from Germany's government and companies which they 
say benefited from slavery and exploitation under German rule of what is now 

"The Germans killed our people. They destroyed us as a nation. That's why we 
want compensation from them," Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako told the crowd 
gathered in the village of Tsau in northwestern Botswana, near the border 
with Namibia.

When the Herero people rebelled against slave labor and the confiscation of 
their land by Germany, Kaiser Wilhelm II's army forced them into the desert 
to die from thirst and starvation.

About 65,000 of the 80,000-strong tribe under Samuel Maharero were wiped out 
between 1904 and 1907. Some of those who survived escaped to Botswana, where 
their descendants live to this day.

Germany has assumed moral responsibility for the killings but has refused to 
make a formal apology.

Hundreds of people in traditional dress -- modeled, ironically, on the 
German military uniforms of the time -- walked solemnly in procession early 
on Saturday to the graves of Maharero's mother and elder brother in Tsau, a 
remote village near Botswana's Okavango Delta, a popular tourist 

The remains of Maharero himself were taken back to Namibia for reburial 
years ago.

Some campaigners say the Herero genocide set the pattern for Nazi Germany's 
Jewish Holocaust three decades later and argue that Berlin should pay 
compensation to the Herero people just as it did to the Jewish community. 
But Berlin has refused to do so.

The tribe has filed a legal suit in a U.S. federal court, but experts say 
the case has only a limited chance of success because international 
conventions on genocide were not agreed until decades after the Herero 

Chief Riruako appealed to the international community to help press the 
Herero case with the German government and promised that any compensation 
would be distributed among all ethnic Herero, not just those remaining in 

Scattered when their rebellion was crushed, Herero have communities in 
Botswana and some live in South Africa.

Saturday's commemoration was part of a year-long series of events to mark 
the centenary of what historians say was the first genocide of the 20th 

Germany's ambassador to Botswana was expected to arrive in Tsau on Sunday to 
take part in a second day of ceremonies.

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