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Namibia’s Herero People Call for Their Land to be Returned to Them

Germany's Genocide of the HereroThe Globe and Mail‘s Geoffrey York has written about the recent calls for land reparations by the Herero in Namibia.

The German genocide of the Hereros from 1904 to 1908, with just 16,000 Herero surviving of the original 80,000, is said to have had a significant influence on the Nazis in World War Two. The descendents of these survivors are now living in impoverished, overcrowded conditions. At a commemoration event in August, Vetaruhe Kandorozu, a regional councillor, called for the Herero to take back their land, saying that they are willing to negotiate with the farmers but then the next step will be to invade.

Jeremy Sarkin’s book, Germany’s Genocide of the Herero: Kaiser Wilhelm II, His General, His Settlers, His Soldiers, examines Germany’s colonialisation of Namibia and how their views on race and racial identity influenced the genocide.

The tattered ribbon from a German wreath hangs inside a nearly empty museum in the bleak capital of the Herero people. “Forgive us our trespasses,” say the fading words.

It’s as close to an apology as the Herero have ever received from the German government. But today their militant leaders want more than just a vague expression of regret for the death camps and extermination orders. They want their land back – and they’re threatening to use violence to take it.

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