Germany must pay reparations to Africa

Photo: Omowale Clay / December 12th Movement

May 31 — Members of the December 12th Movement held a news conference today in front of the German mission to the United Nations in New York City to demand reparations for Namibia.

“From 1904 to 1908, the German colonial army murdered 75,000 of the Herrero and Nama inhabitants of what is present-day Namibia in South West Africa,” declared Roger Wareham, a member of the D12 International Secretariat.

“Last week, after over a century of denial, Germany formally admited its genocide,” said Wareham. “We are here today, as Malcolm X often said, to ‘make it plain.’ Germany must pay reparations.”

The people of Namibia fought for decades to win independence from the apartheid regime then existing in South Africa. The South West African People’s Organization — now known as the SWAPO Party — led this heroic armed struggle.

The late Pan-African teacher and organizer Elombe Brath, a co-founder of the December 12th Movement, worked closely with SWAPO leader Sam Nujoma.

While South Africa took over Namibia following World War I, the German colonists remained. Some white shopkeepers in Namibia’s capital of Windhoek would close their stores on April 20, Hitler’s birthday.

One of the German colonial governors of Namibia was Heinrich Göring, whose son Hermann Göring was the No. 2 Nazi and the No. 1 war criminal at the Nuremberg trials.

Roger Wareham, who as a lawyer has initiated several suits for reparations, pointed out the connection: “We also must note that the genocide which the Germans had perfected by the Holocaust had its beginnings in South West Africa, where they hanged and shot thousands of Africans, forced thousands more into the desert without supplies while poisoning the existing waterholes, and made thousands die in concentration camps.

“The Germans admit that they drew on the United States’ historically criminal mistreatment of its Indigenous peoples and its enslaved Africans in developing their genocide campaigns. Africans on both sides of the Atlantic have faced the devastation of white supremacist genocidal government action.

“Ironically, today, May 31, marks the 100th anniversary of the extermination of the Black community in Tulsa, Okla., which was popularly known as ‘Black Wall Street,'” noted Wareham.

Also speaking was Bill Dores, from Struggle for Socialism-La Lucha por el Socialismo newspaper. He said that he was honored to be there and demanded that Germany and all the other colonial powers must pay reparations.

Dores pointed out that Germany’s Deutsche Bank that plundered Namibia also helped finance Donald Trump. “If debts are supposed to be sacred,” said Dores, “then reparations have to be paid for Namibia, Tulsa and all the other crimes. There’s no justice without debts being paid.”

The rally ended with the chant, “Germany must pay! Reparations now!”

As the December 12th Movement says, “They stole us, they sold us, they owe us!”