Opinion: A mere €10 million for Germany’s colonial-era genocide in Namibia?

Talks on reparations between the two countries are said to be close to wrapping up. But disturbing quotes and figures are leaking from the Namibian presidential office, says DW's Claus Stäcker.

The number was suddenly right there in the room for everyone to see: €10 million ($11.8 million) — €10 million for genocide.

News agencies published the number after it was first reported in the country’s largest daily newspaper The Namibian, quoting a spokesperson for President Hage Geingob, who in turn had heard it during an address by the president’s predecessor back in June. The spokesperson called Germany’s reparations offer for crimes in its former colony “unacceptable,” adding that the figure was “an insult to Namibia.”

And it’s true: The figure is so shameful and ridiculously low that it in no way resembles a serious offer of reparations. €10 million can in no way be the result of five years of interrupted negotiations following the mass murder of the Herero and Nama people exactly 116 years ago after the battle of Waterberg, which was to become the first genocide of the 20th century.

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