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If Germany paid billions of dollars to survivors of the Jewish holocaust, then there is an existing precedent for reparations, and it would be nothing short of racist to deny the Herero and Nama people financial reparations, writes Shannon Ebrahim.

Any time now we can expect Chancellor Angela Merkel to issue a formal apology to Namibia for the genocide exacted on the Herero and Nama people by German colonial authorities from November 1904.

It was the first genocide of the 20th century, and it is only recently that the official line of the German government has been that “the war of annihilation in Namibia between 1904 and 1908 was a war crime and genocide”.

While an apology will be more than a century too late, it will nevertheless be welcomed, but it is not enough.

Nama women attend the Africa Day celebration in Tses, southern Namibia. With the remaining Herero and Nama populations living in a sea of poverty, it is hard to stomach the fact that absentee German landlords control massive expanses of land which were stolen to begin with, says the writer. File picture: Xinhua/Nampa
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If Germany paid billions of dollars to survivors of the Jewish holocaust, then there is an existing precedent for reparations, and it would be nothing short of racist to deny the Herero and Nama people financial reparations. The significant expanses of land which the Germans took from the Herero and Nama people during the genocide was good farmland as most of it is in grazing country.

Even if enough time has passed that the 16000 survivors of the genocide are no longer alive, reparations could be made to the community, empowering them to buy some of their land back. The communities live in poverty, and cattle and land are historically important to them...Continues

Opinion | 28 May 2017, 09:00am
THE GLOBAL EYE

 Shannon Ebrahim is Independent Media's Foreign Editor.
The Sunday Independent

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Replies to This Discussion

There have been so many atrocities committed in Namibia and all over Africa.  This is just one example of many.  Of course reparations are owed and should be paid.  People all over the Diaspora should be paid reparations as well, for the atrocities inflicted on our ancestors. 

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