In a strongly worded rebuke, Hage Geingob, President of Namibia, has denounced Germany's decision to back Israel against genocide charges brought by South Africa in front of the International Court of Justice. This is especially powerful given that many experts feel that Germany committed the first genocide of the 20th century when it waged a colonial campaign of extermination and collective punishment against the Herero and the Nama peoples in German South West Africa (now Namibia) between 1904 and 1908.
The January 12 statement reads:
Namibia rejects Germany’s Support of the Genocidal Intent of the Racist Israeli State against Innocent Civilians in Gaza
On Namibian soil, #Germany committed the first genocide of the 20th century in 1904-1908, in which tens of thousands of innocent Namibians died in the most inhumane and brutal conditions. The German Government is yet to fully atone for the genocide it committed on Namibian soil. Therefore, in light of Germany’s inability to draw lessons from its horrific history, President @hagegeingob expresses deep concern with the shocking decision communicated by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany yesterday, 12 January 2024, in which it rejected the morally upright indictment brought forward by South Africa before the #InternationalCourtofJustice that Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians in #Gaza.
Worryingly, ignoring the violent deaths of over 23 000 Palestinians in Gaza and various United Nations reports disturbingly highlighting the internal displacement of 85% of civilians in Gaza amid acute shortages of food and essential services, the German Government has chosen to defend in the International Court of Justice the genocidal and gruesome acts of the Israeli Government against innocent civilians in Gaza and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Germany cannot morally express commitment to the United Nations Convention against genocide, including atonement for the genocide in Namibia, whilst supporting the equivalent of a holocaust and genocide in Gaza. Various international organizations, such as Human Rights Watch have chillingly concluded that Israel is committing war crimes in Gaza.
President Geingob reiterates his call made on 31 December 2023, “No peace-loving human being can ignore the carnage waged against Palestinians in Gaza”. In that vein, President Geingob appeals to the German Government to reconsider its untimely decision to intervene as a third-party in defence and support of the genocidal acts of Israel before the International Court of Justice.
The genocide in Namibia was characterized by widespread death from starvation and dehydration, due to the prevention of the Herero from leaving the Namib desert by German forces. Once defeated, thousands of Hereros and Namas were imprisoned in concentration camps, where the majority died of diseases, abuse, and exhaustion.
While Germany has apologized for the campaign, Henning Melber from Nordic Africa Institute in Sweden says that Germany still falls short of recognising the incidents in Namibia as a genocide in legal terms, which means it refuses the obligations to pay reparations.