New York class action only one of the many battlefronts

Silence is golden, goes the saying. Indeed it had seemed quiet on the genocide and reparations front, to the discomfort of the victims.

This is as much one can be hoping that the quiet is a good omen for the many who have been seized with the issue, as pretentious as some of them may have been, having retreated in their own different cocoons for some soul-searching.

This goes as much for the government of the Federal Republic of Germany, which as July 31 is fast approaching, certainly must be having some deep reflections. Despite trying to buy some time indefinitely in accounting for the historic colonial responsibility of its forerunner imperial government in the then German South West Africa, it must now have to square up with the lawyers of some of the victims in the United States District Court Southern District of New York.

For a long time until now when she is compelled to face the affected communities in this court, Germany has been maintaining that she does not speak to tribes, a reference to the leaders of the affected communities.

This is despite the fact that these leaders are the legitimate people she needs to answer and account to. Not only this but as the people who are directly affected, they are indeed the people with any legitimate locus standi in this matter.

But Germany has been running and ducking to avoid and evade dealing with them until she was compelled to answer in the said court. Even at this eleventh hour, when she is coming face to face with the real victims of genocide, she does not want to address the substantive issue of genocide, and engaging with the victims in a dialogue as the victims have all along been pleading.

In fact this is what the court would have to address come July 31, instead of the substantive issue of whether what happened in 1904-1908 against the indigenous Namibian people, is indeed genocide, to which Germany as a successor government to the Imperial Kaiser's government, must account and eventually atone.

It is debatable whether the court, despite the countermotion of Germany, would, despite the jurisdiction technicality, and/or lack thereof in the matter at hand, shall nevertheless also look at the substance of the matter.

But this is academic for now. What is of essence is that the matter shall be in all earnest, this time around, come July 31, be heard and argued, albeit firstly addressing the technicality of the jurisdiction of the court in this matter.

Then both legal teams would have to present their arguments to the court, and by extension to the world to not only judge the technicality aspect, but as much to eventually judge, even in passing as it may be or not, the moral and substance of the matter, the Genocide against Namibians.

It may be taken for granted that by now that the message of the 1904-1908 genocide of the Namibian people by colonial Germany, must have been home out there in the world for the world to start acting proactively consequent to its knowledge thereby changing history in this regard.

The world and the peace-loving moral and just international community certainly must live to its noble ideals of justice by ensuring that justice is done to the Namibian victims of the 1904-1908, or their descendants.

This in itself would be a great act of magnanimity, irrespective of the outcome of the case. Should this be the case, the aims and objectives of the descendants, albeit yet not their vision and mission must and would have been reached partly. That is why the descendants, should the court case in New York not be pronounced in their favour, cannot feel their efforts were futile. No, indeed and matter-fact the battle fields are many. Some will be won but some would be lost as well. But victory is certain one day.

Hence the silent lately on this matter must also be a good sign. So silent may be in the final analysis best. At least given the want as yet of any concrete outcomes.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia