Tired of double standards

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AS the world was expected, on June 27, to commemorate the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis during the Second World War, Africa was again reminded of the double standards of its erstwhile colonisers.

Double standards are also evident in the way the genocide culprit is ready to acknowledge and compensate for his crime. 

True, genocide of any people should be abhorred, regardless of ethnicity.

It is worth noting that the attempted extermination of a whole people was not exclusive to the Jews.

Different parts of the world have their own sad stories where there have been wanton attempts to wipe out entire ethnic groups.

Africa is no exception.

What sticks out like a sore thumb is the murder of the Hereros and Namaquas in German South West Africa (Namibia) and the massacre in the Belgian Congo.

Between 1904 and 1908, the Germans were once more culprits, this time in Namibia.

German settlers accounted for the murder of about 80 percent of the mainly pastoral Herero people after a war in which superior weaponry reduced the indigenes to canon fodder. 

And behind this ethnic cleansing was the desire by the colonialists to expropriate the Hereros’ land and cattle.

Unlike the Jews who were killed on foreign soil, the Hereros were killed by foreigners on their land of origin.

Ultimately, about 100 000 Hereros and 10 000 Namaquas were massacred — mind you, this was about 80 percent of the whole population.

Why the so-called prefects of the world don’t have the empathy to set aside a day for the world to commemorate this genocide boggles the mind.

Cold-blooded murder of Congolese blacks by King Leopold II of Belgium between 1885 and 1908 remains a sad reminder of Belgian brutal colonial rule.

Widespread atrocities carried out under his rule saw as many as 10 million killed.

Compare this with the sentiment attached with the murder of six million Jewish migrants killed across Europe.

Surely, surely this deserves the marking of an international day to commemorate King Leopold II’s heartless episodes.

The Germans have since acknowledged their wrongdoing in the holocaust.

As reparations, the Germans, in 1952, agreed to pay Israel millions; holocaust victims are still being paid to date.

It is only last year that the same Germany recognised its responsibility for the atrocities in Namibia – that’s more than 100 years later.

The compensation of about US$1,3 billion German has agreed to pay Namibia is too meagre for a loss impossible to quantify.

It is important to comparatively note the time frame the Germans agreed to pay reparations to Israel and the quantum.

When we talk about double standards, examples are never in short supply.

The Belgians have never really apologised for their genocide, arguing King Leopold II never set foot in the Congo.

And for them, reparations are out of the question.

Like any other African country, Zimbabwe has its own share of unpleasant experiences.

In Zimbabwe, all sorts of atrocities were committed by the settler-regime, including dispossession of livestock and land.

The massacres in refugee camps in Zambia and Mozambique by the settler-regime will never be forgotten.

It is indeed appropriate that the former coloniser, Britain, pay reparations for the innocent lives killed by Ian Smith bombs in refugee camps.

Yet to date, there is no acknowledgment, apology or readiness to make reparations by Britain, the imperial power.

Maybe our only consolation is that we mark April 18 as a day to commemorate the end of colonial rule. 

But for now, let’s accept that those who consider themselves prefects of the world don’t believe that events involving black lives matter that much.

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