The forgotten genocide

Lea
Posted August 9, 2015 from France

When I first become aware of the genocide of the Herero and the Namaqua in Namibia a few months ago, I was stunned. I had up until that point never heard of what some historians call the first genocide of the 20th century. I soon learned that this genocide perpetrated by the German government paved the way for another campaign of mass extermination (i.e. the Holocaust) on European soil some 30 years later. Under German colonial rule, the Herero and Namaqua people were subjected to some of the worst atrocities and human rights violations and were victims of crimes against Humanity. An official report of these heinous acts were meticulously recorded in a "Blue Book". No-one was supposed to know what had happened.

This tragedy led to the murder of over 85 000 people.

When reading about the fate that befell the Herero and Namaqua, I couldn't help but feel saddened that their testimonies and stories had been largely ignored from the history books.

How could this be? How could the massive extermination of a people be overlooked? How can anyone justify the killing, rape, torture, beating, and persecution of innocent people on the basis of "race superiority"? How can we be so blinded by hatred and ignorance that we allow ourselves to kill in the name of preserving our "race/ethnicity"?

While it was such a long time ago, my heart feels heavy to know that these atrocious acts still take place to this day.

Don't we ever learn? I sincerely hope that one day this genocide will be acknowledged and the descendants of the victims will be provided with a platform whereby they can collectively grieve and move forward.

For further resources about the genocide,

1) you can read this excellent account (in French) called "blue book" by Elise Fontenaille-N'Diaye

2) Casper Erichsen, "The Angel of Death has Descended Violently Among Them, Concentration camps and prisoners of war in Namibia".

3) Jan-Bart Gewald, Jeremy Silvester, "Words Cannot be Found, German Colonial Rule in Namibia: an Annotated Report of the 1918 Blue Book".

There is also a documentary that you can watch that talks about the genocide of the Hereros .

To all the victims and the descendants of the genocide, please know that your voices will not be silenced. Your stories need to be told!

Comments 5

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Hideko Nagashima
Aug 09, 2015
Aug 09, 2015

Thank you for sharing the genocide of the Herero and the Namaqua in Namibia.  It is mind-blowing to see how cruel humans can be to other humans. Most striking fact is that those who brutally kill are those who are educated.  Would that make sense to look again what the world education system is teaching us what to do with other human beings?  Would that be fair to say that focus is more given to dividing humans into different categories such as placing emphasis on superiority and inferiority?--that may create selfish-end. German supremacy still thrives

Hideko N.

www.swacin.com

Lea
Aug 09, 2015
Aug 09, 2015

Thank you for wonderful comments, Hideko. Yes, I also don't understand how even educated people can commit such despicable acts. This definitely begs the question in regards to what should be taught in school. I really feel that more needs to be done to encourage communities to learn about each other and see the other as human beings rather than resort to the dangerous binary Us versus Them.

Hatred of others must end!

Thank you again for great comments!

Aug 09, 2015
Aug 09, 2015
This comment has been removed by the commenter or a moderator.
Heather Ley
Aug 14, 2015
Aug 14, 2015

Thank you for educating. I am grateful to no longer be ignorant to this occurence of genocide. It truly is disturbing that similiar situations have repetively happened over time and remain occuring today. I apprieciate your regonition that such cases should not be minimized nor forgotten. We must take a stand against injustice and violation of human rights. May education be a choice available to all and as you said, may that education be justly based on the rights of all humans.

Lea
Aug 14, 2015
Aug 14, 2015

Thank you so much, Heather, for your great comments and thank you so much for having read my article. I really appreciate your kind words. Yes, it is tragic that genocides/mass killings keep happening again and again...Clearly, we never learn...Yes, educating ourselves about them is crucial in order to demand accountability and justice for the victims and their descendants.

Thank you!

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