First let me make a comment about the persistent professional irresponsibility in form of derogatory journalism among the Western Media whenever covering African related news, before I explain the irrationality that has made the US court to unfairly dismiss the compensation lawsuit against Germany for genocide and property seizures committed during the last century in it mad colonial rampage executed on the People of Namibia.
The issue of derogatory journalism came on the surface immediately when the US Federal Court in New York made its ruling on 8th March 2019, the media all over the world went awash with this decision as a breaking news item. Most notable, were the big-time Media houses from the Western world, they chose to the item but in the language so demeaning, derogating and full of innuendos against the parties on the side of Africa, the parties that were using the court to enforce the justifiable rights of the families of the people of Namibia that historically suffered the massacres, mass killing, forced displacement and brutal violence perpetrated by the Germany colonial adventurists.
After getting repulsed with how the New York Times had maintained a sarcastic timbre in the many in which it reported this matter, I chose to sample, Deutsch Welle, Washington Post, the Reuters and the Daily Mail to find out how they had reported the matter, it was all disgusting, it all read like the sentences from the passages of racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.
The Deutsche Welle was the leading in this kind of derogatory Journalism; it uses the word ‘tribe’ where it was supposed to use the word Nation of Namibia, it used the word ‘tribal plaintiff’ where it was supposed to use the word ‘plaintiff’, It uses the word ‘tribal lawyer’ when it was supposed to be the ‘prosecuting lawyer’. The Deutsche Welle also uses article ‘a’ in referring to the plaintiff side when it was supposed to be article ‘the’. I Mean it was a pageant of sarcastic journalism with very funny photos of emaciated and lugubrious black children in a company of miserable black women inserted in different parts of the body of the story. The story and the pictures are available online, my dear reader, you can visit the websites and confirm for yourself. The Western media must desist from such type of self-defeating journalism for the sake of respecting the dignity of global audience.
In regard to the matter, the local media quoted the German legal representative and negotiator with Namibia government, Ruprecht Polenz, to be insensitively commenting that failure of the case was predictable, given that the case was more of political and moral issue, but not a legal issue. This is only four years since the government of Germany refused to make official apology to the people of Namibia. Thus, it can as well be inferred that the New York federal judge Laura Taylor Swain dismissed this case without necessarily considering the evidence and the philosophy of Natural justice, but by only listening to Western politics of self-justification about Africa, which is usually influenced by racial consciousness but not objective consideration of facts.
The indubitable facts are that after 1860 every country in Europe had a ministry in charge of colonies. Germany as one of the major players in European imperialism had a well-established ministry in charge of colonial resources. In the early 1900s, Germany government through its ministry of colonial affairs ordered it overseas troops in Africa to kill those protesting its colonial entry into Namibia. It was General Lothar von Trotha that issued the order. The order was executed. Over one million un-armed people of Namibia were killed. Most of them were un-armed women and children. Research into this history by Assa Okoth, published as a high school text book of African History, reveals that the massacre affected all the communities of Namibia, however the Herero and Namaqua were the most affected.
After this massacre, the Germany colonial troops looted and plundered resources as well as effecting mass seizure of properties. The troops also took the skulls of their victims to Germany for sale to the government hospital as materials resources for medical research. The people of Germany have been so un-ashamed of such sale of the skulls to an extent that as recent as 2015 some bones and the skulls were evidently sold by the wife of a certain German anthropologist to the American Museum of Natural History.
It is somewhat unspeakable to learn that it is not only Germany that has refused to be Accountable and apologetic for the brutalities committed to Africa. Many other countries took advantages of Africa’s un-developed state of arms technology to brutalize the people of Africa. Joe Khamis in his latest book, the Wretched Africans (2019) reports that the countries of the middle East and Britain colluded to falsify data or statistics about the number of black people raided as slaves from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia in last three centuries to be sold across the Indian ocean to Bombay and then other parts of the Arab world. So far there is no any country in the Arab world that has information about what happened to the lives of black slaves that were taken to their countries.
Joe Khamis in the same Wretched Africans reports that over 10 million black slaves were taken across the Indian ocean to Bombay (India) for resale to Europe and Arab countries. But as today there is no any surviving black family with the black-slave ancestry anywhere in the Arab world. The slaves that were not sold to Europe or Arab world were dumped in Bombay, then they were used by Indian merchants as domestic slaves, on the eventuality of worldwide abolition of slavery, the Indian community drove the black ex-slaves into the forest, until now these ex-slave black people live in the Bombay wild forest with animals as if they part of the wild nature, they are usually referred to sarcastically as the Bombay black men.
The media in India managed to keep this violated black community in the bush of darkness, it kept in secret for over a century, no one ever knew that there are black people living in the wild bush in India with no education, domestic homes and access to government services. It was until four years ago that the media in Kenya made some efforts to run a feature story about the Bombay Black families living in the Wild forest .it was taunting. Unfortunately, India and the Arab world have never apologized to Africa.
There are some other massacres committed by the British on the people of Kenya but history and the conventional opportunism in the bourgeoisie media chose to remain oblivious about them. Some of these massacres are the West Pokot Massacre committed in the year 1947 during which over five thousand peasant followers of Elijah Masinde’s Dini ya Msambwa were killed. Another infamous savage killing of Africans by the British but also held in oblivion is the Bukusu Massacre perpetrated by Charlese Hobley, Gunter Wagner and William Grant in 1904 in which over 10 thousand people were killed in Bungoma and Webuye.
When you venture to read A Good Muslim, a Bad Muslim, by Mahmood Mamdan, there are facts and evidences of modern massacres perpetrated as late as 1990’s through the terrorist-like American wars of proxies in Angola and Mozambique. But American politics of self-righteousness has never accepted to call them massacres, instead they were verbally ornamented by the American press as Low Intensity Conflicts (LIC), for no another reason but for selfish social-justification otherwise known as impunity. An impunity of military kind in such a juncture.
In a word, Europe and America are not willing to remember how they brutalized Africa. Europe is not ready to remember how it used black soldiers in the first and second world wars, without giving any decent burial to those that died in battle-field nor compensating or re-settling those that fought the wars to the end. America is not ready to remember how the sweat, blood and labour of black slaves was mercilessly consumed up in producing American economic greatness, only to leave the black American families to wallow in persistent poverty until now. Neither of them, America and Europe have apologized to Africa. Such a history of un-punished violation of the rights of a black person is the only force that made the Federal judge to gambol in decision with the Namibian case against Germany, but not facts of evidence. It is a judicial bungle of the century.
Alexander Opicho writes From-Lodwar, Kenya.