Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Luk√°cs

Monday, August 15, 2005

1905 - 2005: The Colonial genocide in Namibia remembered

Just watched a horrific documentary on BBC2 'Namibia: Genocide and the Second Reich', about the annihilation of three quarters of the population of Germany's South West African colony, through the use of concentration camps and slave labour. I urge readers of Histomat to read more about this forgotten brutal act of colonialism at the Peace Pledge Union website, here. Hitler's Nazis therefore did not carry out the first genocide in German history - but followed in a national tradition - and obviously drew on far older discourses about race in German nationalist thought, especially notions of 'lebensraum' ('living space'). But the implications of the genocide in Namibia go much wider than Germany, something the documentary did not explore. One thinks of how Belgium murdered ten million Africans in the Congo in twenty years (see Adam Hochschild's work King Leopold's Ghost ), but lets not forget the real bloody 'Scramble for Africa' took place between Britain and France. Following the slave trade, this new 'Imperialism' continued to ensure life for most Africans was 'nasty, brutish and short'. Fascism in the twentieth century emerged as an ideology out of the 'heart of darkness' of European civilisation itself.

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