How do We Continue the Fight when the Head has been Cut Off?

Patrice Lumumba

As we celebrate the independence of the Democratic Republic of Congo from Belgium, I cannot help but think of Patrice Lumumba, gone too soon, assassinated by the imperialist forces that were Belgium, the CIA and more. As I think about him, I cannot help but think of Amilcar Cabral, killed for his fight for the independence of his country, or Thomas Sankara the legendary President of the Faso… and then I think about how long it took for Burkina Faso to wake up from its slumber after Sankara’s murder: 27 years! Samora Machel, Modibo Keita, Kwame Nkrumah, Ruben Um Nyobe, Felix Moumie, Sylvanus Olympio, Ernest Ouandie, Barthelemy Boganda, Mehdi Ben Barka, Muammar Kadhafi, … the list is so long…The question is great: How do we continue the fight when the head has been cut off? How do we continue fighting when the leader has been killed, or incapacitated, or as in some cases has been corrupted or coerced or turned over by the enemies?

A recent case has had my head spinning with this fundamental question: how do we keep going when the movement has been decapitated? Or when the leader is no longer fit to lead? I do not claim to have the answers as this is a crucial question, but it is worth pondering.

Thomas Sankara

I recently read “The Cost of Sugar” by Cynthia McLeod, where she talks about the fight of the Maroons or Boni or Alukus of Surinam for freedom. Surinam was a Dutch colony, and so the Dutch crown sent troops to fight the rebellious slaves; they also hired local slaves to whom they promised liberty and land in return for fighting the Maroons. The Maroons never gave up! They were well organized, even though they had very little and were under-armed, and lived in the bush. Their leaders were very often killed, but they kept the fight… they were fighting for their freedom: men, women, and even children contributed to the fight. Yes… they terrorized the planters for many years, they were defeated, and fled to neighboring French Guyana, but kept the fight. Why? Because the prize of freedom is too great to lay on the shoulders of one man, one leader, or a few… the fight must continue in spite of some men (betrayers and others)… we do not follow men, we follow ideas… we are not fighting for men, we are fighting for our right to dignity, our right to humanity, our liberty.

Amilcar Cabral on a stamp with the flag of Guinea Bissau
Amilcar Cabral on a stamp with the flag of Guinea Bissau

We have to keep the fight. Yes, it is okay to cry, it is okay to fall, feel discouraged, but we have to rise up, and keep up the fight. We might be disappointed by the so-called leaders who may turn their backs on us and betray us [“The Cancer of Betrayal” by Amilcar Cabral, J.J. Rawlings in His Own Words: African Identity, Betrayal, and More], or we might get discouraged when our leaders and hopes have been killed, but we have to keep the fight. We rise up! Dust off ourselves, and keep on fighting! The enemy will try many tactics to distract us from our goals, because the enemy lives on our ignorance, the enemy flourishes on our divisions, our disappointments, and discouragements. We cannot afford to cry too long! When a leader no longer matches our ideals, we put him to the side and keep on fighting. We are not fighting for ourselves, we are fighting for our ancestors who died fighting, we are fighting for our children who should not be beggars on their own lands while the enemy feasts on it. We fight because it is more than just us. Dignity, freedom, is a divine right, and it is ours… we need to claim it!

It took 100 years for China to reclaim Hong Kong and Macao from the British… China was able to do so because its leaders kept telling them how Great Britain made them sign treacherous treaties and stole their lands, they did not hide it from their people like many African leaders do [Did You Know about the 999-year Lease granted to Europeans in Kenya ?]. As a result, 100 years later, the Chinese leaders went to the British, and said “time is up, give us back our lands”. The leaders who were forced to sign these treaties 100 years prior were no longer alive, but the history, the preparation, the muscling up, the battle continued!… so we have to plan over decades, generations, to ensure continuity in the battle, implying education, real knowledge of our history (our triumphs as well as our defeats and the causes), the stakes, and keeping a living memory of our history. It may take years, decades, even a century like China with Macao, but we have to grow, know, and muscle up… we cannot keep crying.

David Diop Wins International Booker Prize for “At Night All Blood Is Black”, Book on Tirailleurs Senegalais

“At Night All Blood is Black” by David Diop

It is hard to keep up with the news, but this is one that we should celebrate. The Franco-Senegalese author David Diop won the International Booker Prize 2021 for his book, “At Night All Blood is Black“. I know, it is hard to keep up with all the different prizes, Man Booker Prize, International Booker Prize, and countless others. This one is nonetheless important because first of all, David Diop is the first African to win the prestigious prize, but also because his book “At Night All Blood is Black” talks about all those African soldiers who helped to free France, and yet were never recognized, and instead were insulted, laughed at and more. The book, originally published in French in 2018 under the title “Frères d’âme” or Soul Brothers, weaves the history of World War I with the history of colonialism. The novel describes the experiences of Senegalese Tirailleurs fighting for France in the trenches. The main character, Alfa Ndiaye, descends into madness following the death of his childhood friend Mademba Diop who had also been recruited as a tirailleur, and inflicts extreme brutality upon his German enemies. Diop was inspired to write the book by his French great-grandfather’s service during the war. Diop stated “He never said anything to his wife, or to my mother, about his experience. That is why I was always very interested by all the tales and accounts which gave one access to a form of intimacy with that particular war.”

As a side note, “tirailleur” was the name given by the French Army to indigenous infantry recruited in the various French colonies. They were not all Senegalese, even though the name always said “tirailleur senegalais,” but rather came from all over Africa. They served for France in a number of wars, including World War I, World War II, and several others. The name “Tirailleur” is a link of two words “tir ailleurs” to laugh and denigrate the indigenous troops by saying that the soldiers were not capable to shoot on target, more like to mean “shoot off target”; it could be translated as skirmisher.

It is also good to note that there is no family link between the great Senegalo-Cameroonian poet David Mandessi Diop [Afrique de David M. Diop / Africa by David M. Diop] and this David Diop… We applaud the success of both namesakes. So good to have such a an illustrious namesake and walk in his path.

I live you here with the link to the article on The Conversation., and more importantly on the video of the Massacre of Thiaroye [Thiaroye: A French Massacre in Senegal, ‘Thiaroye Massacre’ by Ousmane Sembene] showing the poor treatment and sometimes massacre of these tirailleurs by the French, when they returned home after serving France.

So Long to Kenneth Kaunda: Zambia’s First President

Kenneth Kaunda
Kenneth Kaunda

Last Thursday, the first president of Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda, changed dimensional plane to join his ancestors. At 97 years old, he was one of Africa’s last surviving liberation leaders. To a generation of Africans, and to many of us, Kenneth Kaunda epitomized the African struggle for independence.

Born into a family of 8 children in Lubwa in the north of then Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), Kaunda was the last born of parents who immigrated from Nyasaland (Malawi). He trained as a teacher, then became involved in politics, first as secretary of the local young men’s farming association and later as a founding member of the Northern Rhodesian African National Congress in 1949. In 1955, both him and Harry Nkumbula, party president were imprisoned for 2 months. Later Kaunda broke away from the ANC, to found his own party, the Zambian African National Congress (ZANC) in October 1958 which was short-lived. In March 1959, the ZANC was banned and Kaunda was sentenced to 9 months‘ imprisonment, which he spent first in Lusaka, then in Salisbury When he was freed from prison in 1960, he joined the principal nationalist party, the United National Independence Party (UNIP), which campaigned and fought against British colonial rule. He was influenced by Martin Luther King Jr. and Kwame Nkrumah, both of whom he met on different occasions. On 24 October 1964 he became the first president of an independent Zambia.

Zambian flag
Zambian flag

Kaunda started with the great advantage of leading an African state with a stronger economic base than any of its neighbors but there was a shortage of native Zambians who had the skills and training to run the country [similar to so many African colonies… the Europeans were there to pillage and exploit the resources of the countries, and not build their local forces!]. The policy of sanctions imposed by the British government on the breakaway country proved at least as damaging to the Zambian economy (similar to what they did to Zimbabwe under MugabeIs Zimbabwe the New Haiti?) over the years, probably as punishment for his support for the liberation of his neighbors.

Affectionately known as KK, or Mzee, Kaunda worked tirelessly towards to the freedom of the whole of Southern Africa from white rule; he supported the fight of other countries against repressive, racist regimes in South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique and Southern Rhodesia (Why the name: Zimbabwe?). It took several years, but his support never faltered.

He remained a staunch defender of the Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe [Robert Mugabe, Freedom Fighter and First President of Zimbabwe Lives On], and said, “I’ve been saying it all along, please do not demonise Robert Mugabe. I’m not saying the methods he’s using are correct, but he was put under great pressure.”

As a testimony, President Hage Geingob of Namibia said in a statement “Africa lost“a giant of a man. …Kenneth Kaunda was a generous, affable, and a resolute leader who freed our region from colonialism.”

Photo taken on February 28, 1990 showing Zambia’s president Kenneth Kaunda (Center) and South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) leader Nelson Mandela (L) attending a press conference at the Presidential House in Lusaka. (Source: AFP)

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa described Kaunda as a “rightfully revered father of African independence and unity… Under his leadership, Zambia provided refuge, care and support to liberation fighters who had been forced to flee the countries of their birth.” “He stood alongside the people of South Africa at the time of our greatest need and was unwavering in his desire for the achievement of our freedom. We will never be able to repay the debt of gratitude,” Ramaphosa added.

For our founding father, it was not enough for his country Zambia to be liberated when the region and the African continent remained bonded in the shackles of colonialism and apartheid,” current Zambian President Edgar Lungu told mourners at Kaunda’s house in Lusaka … “[Kaunda] soldiered on to seek freedom for humanity.”

Please enjoy articles on the Al-Jazeera and the very good article by the Global Times [With love and respect, Chinese people cherish memory of Zambia’s Kaunda, ‘an old and good friend’]. Please watch the video I posted a few years ago on the great Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia’s first president.

Laurent Gbagbo is Back in Cote d’Ivoire

Laurent Gbagbo

Joy and tears were mixed in my heart yesterday as I saw our president, Laurent Gbagbo, the blessed child of Gagnoa, the former president of Cote d’Ivoire, land back in his homeland. 10 years of imprisonment, over 20 years of persecution, acquitted by the International Court of Justice at the Hague [Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Ble Goude: Totally Acquitted and Free at Last, Laurent Gbagbo, Former President of Cote d’Ivoire, Acquitted of War Crimes], and finally allowed to go home to the land of his ancestors. Gbagbo’s only crime has been to love his country and his people too much, and want dignity for them! Laurent Gbagbo is really like those of our kings, heads of state, leaders, who have been deported by the oppressors, the French colonizer, in this case via its puppet Ouattara [Deportation of African Heads of States]. We have fought, cried, and tirelessly worked for his freedom. Africa is proud of her son, Laurent Gbagbo. Just look at how many people took to the streets to welcome him home! Then Ouattara sent his troops to beat the people who came to welcome their president home, in the name of trying to prevent troubles. Such a coward! Our president is back! It does not matter what the future holds, today we are happy… we have made progress… Africa’s son is back… tomorrow will take care of itself. 10 years ago, when I watched as the presidential palace was being bombed by French troops, when I watched our president and wife being paraded on TV all over the world [Laurent Gbagbo: No to a complicit silence!], I could not have imagined today! I knew we needed to work hard, but today I will savor this victory. Why don’t these international media who yesterday felt no shame to show our president or his wife being paraded by the rebels on broad TV, why are they not showing his triumphal return today? why are they not placarding it the way they did when he was dragged out? Because it would show that they lost! Shame on the Mainstream Media, shame on them… shame on France… today we stand tall as our son is back. Today, we stand!

Petra Diamonds pays £4.3m to Tanzanians ‘abused’ by its contractors

Flag of Tanzania

Recently, the British mining company Petra Diamonds has agreed to pay Tanzanians who were abused by its contractors. It took quite a few years to prove it, and going to court for it, but the firm has finally acknowledged its wrongdoings and will be compensating its contractors . Here is it from the Guardian.

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Firm settles over allegations claimants were shot, stabbed and beaten by guards at mine that produced one of Queen’s favourite gems.

The British mining company Petra Diamonds has agreed to pay £4.3m in compensation to dozens of Tanzanians who allegedly suffered serious human rights abuses at a mine famed for producing a flawless pink diamond for one of the Queen’s favourite brooches.

The 71 Tanzanian claimants, represented in the London high court by the British law firm Leigh Day, alleged grave violations by the company, among them being shot, beaten, stabbed, assaulted, detained in cramped and filthy holding cells, and handcuffed to hospital beds.

The abuses were allegedly carried out by security personnel contracted by Petra’s local subsidiary, Williamson Diamonds Ltd, which has a majority share of the mine, and by Tanzanian police who worked at and around the mine.

Ten of the claims were brought by family members of illegal diggers allegedly killed at the mine in Shinyanga, one of Tanzania’s poorest regions. An additional 25 claims are being investigated as part of the settlement, which could increase the total payout.

… “Petra acknowledges that past incidents have taken place that regrettably resulted in the loss of life, injury and the mistreatment of illegal diggers,” the statement said. “The agreement reached with the claimants, combined with the other actions put in place, are aimed at providing redress and preventing the possibility of future incidents.” Petra had agreed the settlement on the basis of “no admission of liability”, it said.

Blombos Cave and the GPS?

Oldest Drawing by Homo Sapiens, dated to be 73,000 years old, found in the Blombos Cave (Wikipedia)

As we said earlier, a lot of new discoveries were made at the Blombos cave [Blombos Cave: Earliest Known Drawing by a Human found in Africa old of 73,000 years] in South Africa. In 2002, Henshilwood and his team had found 2 ocre rocks as old as 100 000 to 80 000 years, which had particularly special graphic inscriptions. On some of these rocks, there are very clear graphic designs in shapes of triangles, revealing a triangulation system similar to that of the modern-day GPS. Is it possible that our ancestors, 80 000 years ago already had already imagined a triangulation system?

There are three major tiling systems: the square (which is simplistic as a reflection), the hexagonal (used by bees) and the triangle (non-existent in nature). But out of these three, only the triangle does not occur naturally in nature. Interesting that out of those three, our ancestors chose the triangle, the most complex. Not only that, but imagine the mathematics required to make that happen, very advanced, almost 100,000 years ago. This pattern on the piece of red ochre displays the hexagon of  Sacred Geometry. The triangles, diamonds, or the red ochre of this object were not randomly chosen. The triangle refers to the principle of divine creation (Trinity). It is possible that the geometric patterns found in Blombos were used to define the ideal model for the triangulation of surfaces, and thus laid the fundamentals for today’s triangulation found in the GPS. So, next time you use the GPS on your phone, remember the Blombos cave and your African ancestors!

Findings from Blombos Cave, South Africa

‘Catastrophic’: Sierra Leone Sells Protected Rainforest for Chinese Harbor

Flag of Sierra Leone

Hundred years after the “signing” of all these lands in Africa to Europeans (we all know it was not a consensual signing as there were threats of war, aggression from other tribes, sometimes bombings, etc), the scramble for Africa, colonization, and more, a new scramble has started again, with lands yet again being “signed” off to foreigners to the detriment of the locals. Below is the recent signing of hundreds of acres of protected land in Whale Bay, in Sierra Leone to Chinese companies. This is a catastrophic story, especially as it will cause an ecological disaster. This is not the only area where it is happening, it is not just in Sierra Leone, and it is not just Chinese companies, but many more … reminiscent of the 999 year land treaty in Kenya [Did You Know about the 999-year Lease granted to Europeans in Kenya ?]… We, Africans, need better laws, better governance, love of our own selves, patriotism, and less corruption. True, we need development, but it cannot be at the expense of ourselves. There are also several questions: is this a land sell, a lease, or what? Can it be overturned? Excerpts below are from The Guardian

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A $55m (£39m) deal struck by the government of Sierra Leone with China to build an industrial fishing harbour on 100 hectares (250 acres) of beach and protected rainforest has been criticised as “a catastrophic human and ecological disaster” by conservationists, landowners and rights groups.

The gold and black sands of Black Johnson beach fringe the African nation’s Western Area Peninsula national park, home to endangered species including the duiker antelope and pangolins. The waters are rich in sardines, barracuda and grouper, caught by local fishermen who produce 70% of the fish for the domestic market.

After reports of a Chinese-backed fishmeal plant began circulating on social media, A statement that appeared to be from the Sierra Leonean fisheries ministry confirmed the deal, but denied the planned construction was a “fish mill”. The facility would be a harbour for tuna and “other bigger fishing” vessels exporting to international markets, it said. It would include a “waste-management component” to “recycle marine and other wastes into useful products”.

The beach earmarked for development fringes the Western Area Peninsula national park, home to endangered species including pangolins. (Source The Guardian: Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty)

The government said the beach, one of many along the nation’s 250-mile (400km) coastline, was the “most suitable place” for construction, and revealed the finance ministry had set aside a compensation package of 13.76bn leone (£950,000) for affected landowners. But the statement leaves more questions than answers, say those objecting to the plan.

… “Under the constitution, the government can sequester land if it is in the public interest,” Tonner said. “Even if this just a deep-water harbour, it is not in the public interest because it’s not a suitable site. There are fish breeding sites in the lagoon. It will wipe out the local fish people live on.”

… James Tonner, who owns land at Black Johnson with his mother, Jane Aspden Gbandewa, has written an open letter to the president, Julius Maada Bio, calling for him to intervene and stop the construction, which Tonner said would be “disastrous for the country and the planet”.

It would destroy pristine rainforest, plunder fish stocks and pollute fish breeding grounds and several ecosystems, Tonner said. The beach is on Whale Bay, so-named because whales and dolphins are seen there.

… “Under the constitution, the government can sequester land if it is in the public interest,” Tonner said. “Even if this just a deep-water harbour, it is not in the public interest because it’s not a suitable site. There are fish breeding sites in the lagoon. It will wipe out the local fish people live on.”

… “Our own fishermen won’t have a place to fish. Everything will be spoiled. Tourism will be finished.”

Dr Sama Banya, president emeritus of the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone, echoed Gbandewa’s comments, saying the proposed development would have a “disastrous” impact on tourism and “the very fish industry that it’s supposed to support”. …

Germany agrees to pay Namibia €1.1bn over historical Herero-Nama genocide

Survivors of the Herero genocide (Wikimedia)

This is historic, late and probably not enough compared to the loss in human lives… yet it is historic nonetheless! Germany has agreed to pay 1.1 billion Euros over the Herero-Nama genocide [Germany in Namibia: the First Genocide of the 20th Century]. This will be paid in existing aid programs over 30 years. I am always skeptical of these aid programs, because countries and companies usually get their money back that way…; plus there are probably billions worth of Namibian diamonds or cobalt mines that will profit German companies in the fine prints. Anyways, for the first time, Germany called the atrocities ‘genocide‘, but fell short of calling the arrangement ‘reparations’ and ‘compensation’ [Have Germans finally acknowledged the Namibian Genocide?]. It is a step forward, we acknowledge it, and recognize the progress. Enjoy! Excerpts below are from the Guardian.

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Germany calls atrocities ‘genocide’ but omits the words ‘reparations’ or ‘compensation’ from a joint statement.

Germany has agreed to pay Namibia €1.1bn (£940m) as it officially recognised the Herero-Nama genocide at the start of the 20th century, in what Angela Merkel’s government says amounts to a gesture of reconciliation but not legally binding reparations.

Tens of thousands of men, women and children were shot, tortured or driven into the Kalahari desert to starve by German troops between 1904 and 1908 after the Herero and  Nama tribes rebelled against colonial rule in what was then named German South-West Africa and is now Namibia.

Chained Herero men

Since 2015Germany has negotiated with the Namibian government over what it calls an attempt to “heal the wounds” of historic violence.

Our aim was and is to find a joint path to genuine reconciliation in remembrance of the victims,” the German foreign minister, Heiko Maas, said in a statement. “That includes our naming the events of the German colonial era in today’s Namibia, and particularly the atrocities between 1904 and 1908, unsparingly and without euphemisms.

We will now officially call these events what they were from today’s perspective: a genocide.

On Thursday, official circles in Berlin confirmed reports in Namibian media that after nine rounds of negotiations the two sides had settled on the text of a joint declaration and a sum of €1.1bn, which will be paid separately to existing aid programmes over 30 years.

Of the overall sum, more than a billion euros will go towards projects relating to land reform, rural infrastructure, water supply and professional training. Communities of Herero and Nama descendants, which form ethnic minorities in all of the seven affected regions, are meant to be involved in the development of the specific projects.

Flag of Namibia

… The text of the joint declaration calls the atrocities committed by German troops a “genocide” but omits the words “reparations” or “compensation” – a move borne out of fear that such language could set a legal precedent for similar claims from other nations.

A spokesman for the Namibian president, Hage Geingob, described German’s acknowledgment of genocide “as the first step” in the right direction. “It is the basis for the second step, which is an apology, to be followed by reparations,” the spokesman said.

Some of the numerous groups that make up the descendants of the genocide’s survivors have been critical of the framing of the negotiations from the outset and have declined to back the Namibian government’s stance. ….

World Record: Malian Woman gives Birth to Nine Babies

Flag of Mali
Flag of Mali

This is a first in the world: it is the first single birth and survival of nonuplets in the world. Halima Cisse, a Malian woman, has given birth to nonuplets, 5 girls and 4 boys, in a hospital in Morocco. They were conceived naturally. Initially, the medical teams both in Mali and then later in Morocco thought she was expecting septuplets, and so they were all surprised to find 9 babies in the end. I salute the wisdom of the country’s leader who saw fit to have her transferred to Morocco for more advanced specialist care… this shows great empathy. Excerpts below are from an article on the Guardian. Congratulations to the proud parents… it is indeed a grace!

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Halima Cisse’s nonuplets all ‘doing well so far’ after delivery by caesarean section at Moroccan hospital.

A Malian woman has given birth to nine babies – all “doing well so far” – in what is thought to be a world record for the most children in a single birth to survive.

Halima Cisse had been expected to give birth to seven babies, but ultrasounds conducted in Morocco and Mali had missed two of the siblings. The nonuplets – five girls and four boys – were all were delivered by caesarean section.

The 25-year-old’s pregnancy has fascinated the west African nation and attracted the attention of its leaders. When doctors said in March that Cisse needed specialist care, the country’s transitional leader, Bah Ndaw, ordered that she be sent to Morocco.

Halima Cisse, mother of nonuplets and the medical team and a family member in Morocco (Source: Africafreedomnetwork.com)

The mother and babies are doing well so far,” Mali’s health minister, Fanta Siby, told Agence France-Presse, adding that she had been kept informed by the Malian doctor who accompanied Cisse to Morocco.

They are due to return home in several weeks’ time, she added.

… Doctors had been concerned about Cisse’s health and her babies’ chances of survival, according to local press reports. Nonuplets are extremely rare and medical complications in multiple births of this kind often mean that some of the babies do not survive.

In pictures widely shared on social media, Cisse could be seen smiling, celebrating with her doctors near her nine children, held in a row of incubators at the hospital.

Cisse’s husband, Adjudant Kader Arby, still in Mali with the couple’s older daughter, told BBC Afrique he had been in constant touch with his wife and he was not worried about the future.

“God gave us these children,” he said. “He is the one to decide what will happen to them. I’m not worried about that. When the almighty does something, he knows why.”

Germany rules out financial reparations for Namibia genocide

Survivors of the Herero genocide (Wikimedia)

It is no secret that the first genocide of the 20th century was committed by Germany in Namibia [Germany in Namibia: the First Genocide of the 20th Century]… yet to this day Namibians have never gotten reparations, nor an apology. This terrible page of history is usually absent from history books, and all people know is the genocide against the Jews who were compensated. So to hear now that Germany is planning to “offer aid and an apology” is outrageous! Germany says it does not want to set a precedent… yet for Auschwitz there was no question of setting precedents right? They are probably afraid that more genocides will be uncovered, not just for them, but for all those European countries which took part in the scramble for Africa, and they will all be forced to pay… so now they want to give aid… no one wants their aid! After 400 years of slavery, and almost 100-200 years of colonization and neo-colonization, there is a reason why Africa is on its knees… so we do not want “AID,” plus usually this “aid” always comes as “poisoned cakes” with so many clauses and more debts to be repaid… Remember how Germany wanted to pay the Namibian government 10 million Euros [Namibia Rightfully Rejects 10 million Euros Compensation for Genocide]? while Greece is asking for 289 billion Euros? Excerpts from the article below is from the Guardian.

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Flag of Namibia

Germany has categorically ruled out financial reparations forming part of a planned formal apology to Namibia for colonial atrocities at the start of the 20th century, amid fears such payments could set a legal precedent for further claims.

… The talks are nearing completion, with broadcaster Deutschlandfunk reporting this week on plans for the president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, to ask for forgiveness for the genocide in front of the Namibian parliament.

As part of the reconciliation agreement, which has been submitted to both governments, Germany is also to make additional aid payments towards infrastructure, healthcare and job-training programmes in areas of Namibia populated by the descendants of the Herero and Nama tribes.

… “Reparations or individual compensations are not subject of the negotiations,” the report says. “After 100 years they would be unprecedented. The definition of injustice set up by the 1948 convention on the prevention and punishment of genocide does not apply retrospectively and cannot be the basis for financial claims.”

… Yet countries such as Greece and Poland, which were not part of the 1990 agreement, have since repeatedly reiterated their demands to be compensated for economic and human losses sustained at the hands of German forces in the first half of the 20th century.

Namibian skulls (Reuters)

The Greek government of the conservative prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, most recently repeated its wish for negotiations relating to damages worth €289bn on the 80th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s invasion of Greece this April.

Many of the descendants of the Herero and Nama victims continue to reject structural aid and demand direct reparations from Germany. In a joint statement issued this week, the Ovaherero Traditional Authorities and Nama Traditional Leaders Association called the reconciliation agreement a “public relations coup by Germany and an act of betrayal by the Namibian government”.