This letter refers to the Appeal to the Members of the German Bundestag for recognition of and compensation for the genocide in the former colony of “German South-West Africa”, today’s Republic of Namibia : No Amnesty on Genocide!
18 March, 2012 in Windhoek, Namibia
Dear NGO-Alliance,Thank you so much for your note of support to us of the Ovaherero Genocide Committee and to our other friends in the struggle for justice. I am writing to you and through you also to the members of your NGO Alliance in Germany who support our just demand for reparation for the genocide of 1904-1908.The Ovaherero Genocide Committee appreciates the tireless efforts of the NGO Alliance and hopes that your Appeal will find some sympathetic ears and soft hearts amongst the majority members of the Bundestag to support the Motion of the Left Party.
We urge you to enlist more and more institutions and individuals to your Alliance to convey our issues to the larger German public and to solicit its support. We are grateful to have friends like you. Forward ever, backward never. […]
I now wish to request you to convey by the following message to the members of the German Bundestag the position of the Ovaherero Genocide Committee on the Motion of the Left Party as well as your Appeal:
We, the Ovaherero Genocide Committee, wish to convey to the Honorable Members of the Bundestag our unconditional support for the Motion of the Left Party and the Appeal for its support by the NGO Alliance. We support both without any reservations, and more so for the following reasons:
1. Various representatives of both the German government and the Bundestag have been talking about Germany’s “historical and moral responsibility”; expressed words like “sorry”, “dark chapter of our colonial past” “sad history”, and even a member of the Social Democratic Party, the former Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Ms. Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, said the following at Hamakari, Namibia in year 2004: “The atrocities committed at that time would today be termed genocide…” and continued “We accept our historical and moral responsibility and the guilt incurred by Germans at that time” and added: “And so in the words of the Lord’s Prayer that we share, I ask you to forgive us our trespasses”.
As far as that goes, the Minister has admitted the act of Genocide and all the other euphemisms like ‘guilt’ ‘sad history’, ‘atrocities’, etc., that she and other German officials have been saying amount to the same thing.
It is because of that, that we demand reparation, and no amount of suspect and evasive foreign aid and “special Initiative” gimmicks will mean the same thing as reparation.
Foreign Aid to buy goodwill by an ex-coloniser to her former colonised is normal in bilateral relations and is even given when there were no atrocities, whereas reparation is restitution, which to us means, the restoration of something lost or stolen to the rightful owner(s).
2. We want an official apology (not prayers) from the German Bundestag or Government, but this can only be after the act of genocide had been acknowledged in principle and a tripartite discussion (trilogue) amongst the representatives of the German Government/Bundestag, Namibian Government/Parliament and representatives of the affected communities to sort out the ingredients of the reparation package that we envisage has been agreed to and taken place.
3. The involvement of the representatives of the descendants of the victims who represent the affected communities, is imperative and crucial, because it cannot be ‘about them, or their demand, but without them’. they too have vested interests, just as the Federal Republic of Germany and the State of Israel did not exclude the active participation of the Jewish representation at the Luxembourg Discussion/Agreement in 1952, when they discussed the Jewish Holocaust.
4. We, the Ovaherero people, support the Motion of the Left Party because we are also inspired by the words of the great German leader after the Second World War, Dr. Konrad Adenauer who said:
“In our name unspeakable crimes have been committed and they demand compensation and restitution, both moral and material for the persons and properties of Jews who have been so seriously harmed”.
We paraphrase the same and say to you Honorable members of the Bundestag:
In your name, unspeakable crimes have been committed, and we demand compensation and restitution, both moral and material for the persons and properties of Ovaherero who have been so seriously harmed.
We say this with tears in our eyes.
5. We humbly implore the Honorable Members of the Bundestag to look beyond the men and women of the Left Party who have bravely sponsored that Motion for the sake of the affected communities, and for their humanity so that this whole issue can be put to rest once and for all. We hope that this will pave the way for forgiveness, reconciliation and a true cordial relationship between our two peoples and countries.
Finally we would surely appreciate it very much if your NGO could pass that message to all the members of the Bundestag to take our concerns into consideration before they vote on the Motion.
Best wishes and keen to hear from you at your earliest convenience.
Festus U. Muundjua
(Patron: Ovaherero Genocide Committee)
Originally published at AfricAvenir.com