3 April 2012

Namibia: Genocide Remembered At Swakopmund

On 12 May 1883, the German flag was raised on the coast of South-West Africa, modern Namibia. As settlers began to take over the tribal lands of the ... ( Resource: "The Kaiser's Holocaust" Book Trailer: David Olusoga and Casper Erichsen )

ALL human remains of victims of the 1904 to 1908 genocide taken from the former colonial German South West Africa must be returned, emphasised the annual commemoration of the genocide at Swakopmund on March 21.

Repatriations of mortal remains of Namibian origin from the collections of the University of Freiburg and the Charité research hospital are expected, but exact dates for the repatriation have not yet been set, as the process depends on the progress made in identifying the remains.

Fourteen skulls have so far been identified at the University of Freiburg. The university and the Namibian embassy in Germany are collaborating on the return of these.

The Ovaherero/Ovambanderu Council for the Dialogue on the 1904 Genocide (ODC-1904) secretary Ueriuka Tjikuua at the commemorative event said the restitution of the remaining human remains have not yet been communicated to the affected communities, saying that the return should take place with full consultation with the relevant communities.

The ODC-1904 again commended the two motions tabled in the German parliament by opposition parties demanding an official recognition of the genocide, calling for a formal apology, and a remembrance policy that takes this part of Germany's history into account.

The majority Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) coalition and Free Democratic Party (FPD) in Germany rejected the two motions.

But more German NGOs are joining in the call to the German government to acknowledge the genocide and consider reparations to Namibian descendants of the genocide victims.

In a message sent to the Swakopmund commemoration, member of the German Left Party MP Niema Movassat, said while he feels ashamed of what his country has done over 100 years in today's Namibia, he feels deeply saddened "about the intransigence of the German governments since Namibia's independence for refusing to apologise for the genocide".

The rejection of the two motions, said Movassat, is a slap in the face for all those engaged in the process of reconciliation between the two nations.

Movassat said his party supports dialogue between the Namibian and German governments at parliamentary and government levels that includes representatives of the descendants of the genocide.

Importantly, he said, the Left Party is of the view that development aid should not be confused with restorative justice which should be unconditional and under the inclusion of the descendants of the victims.

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