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Opinion - Genocide: An open letter to the President

2020-10-15  Staff Reporter

Opinion - Genocide: An open letter to the President

This open letter is addressed to H.E. Dr Hage Geingob the President of the Republic of Namibia. 
In the same breath I bring it under the attention of Dr Zedekia Josef Ngavirue in his capacity as the Namibian government’s special envoy on the negotiation team for the 1904-1908 German Genocide and equally to Mr Ruprecht Polenz, the German special envoy.

I would like to voice my opinion on this heinous crime committed against the Namibian people.  
My grave concern is the growing false narrative and propaganda around the 1904-1908 genocide referring to the Ovaherero and Nama as descendant affected communities and painting a picture that they were the only people killed during the genocide. 

The complete and total omission of the Damara and the San descendants is tantamount to an attempt to distort and manipulate the history.   
I would like to come on record that significant numbers of Damara and San people were brutally killed.
The German government must therefore provide an unconditional apology and pay reparations to the descendants of the Damara and San communities.  
I call on Dr Zedekia Ngavirue to as special envoy set the record straight on which communities were affected and to what degree.

Furthermore, I would like to make reference to “The Report on the Natives of South West Africa and their treatment by Germany” presented to both houses of parliament by command of His Majesty in August 1918. In this report Governor Theodor Leutwein is quoted to have estimated the native population as follows: Ovambo tribes 100 000, Ovaherero 80 000, Damara 30 000, Nama 20 000, Bastards 4 000, San 3 000.  
In 1911 after the genocide of 1904-1908 the German government conducted a census which indicated the statistics as follows: Ovahereros  (80% killed), Nama (51% killed) and Damara (57% killed).  
The same report proceeds to state “In other words, 80% of the Ovaherero people had disappeared, and more than half of the Hottentot and Berg-Damara had shared the same fate.” 

I would argue that the mere issuing of the extermination order in itself does not amount to genocide, but the act of deliberately targeting and killing large numbers of people with the intention to eradicate the targeted community. 
The actions of the German administration speaks volumes although General Von Trotha did not issue the extermination order against the Damara and the San communities. 
But the complete omission of the Damara people as affected descendants is a gross injustice and an insult to our ancestors.  

The issue of genocide is deeply painful and highly sensitive and hence both the Namibian and German governments need to make public the definitions of terms such as “affected communities and descendants”, furthermore to what degree these communities are affected.  
Most importantly, the Namibian government must engage and include representatives of all affected communities in the negotiations as their exclusion does not amount to negotiations in good faith.  
The two governments must address this important process correctly and respectfully.   
The truth and reconciliation process and dialogue between all relevant parties is imperative to find lasting solutions that is acceptable to all parties.  

The German government must come to the table sincerely and honestly in good faith and answer questions regarding its crimes in the then German South West Africa.
Until date the German government has not provided answers to what happened to the heads of the legendary guerrilla warfare warrior /Haihab //Guruseb and Goab Xamseb who were killed by the Germans.  
This process should restore the dignity of all affected communities and must provide closure and healing to the dependants of the affected communities by providing answers to its atrocities. 
And it should be accompanied by the return of the remains of not only our heroes but also that of our ancestors.  
An apology is void of meaning and sincerity if not preceded by admission of guilt or wrongdoing. 

2020-10-15  Staff Reporter

Tags: Khomas
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