Germany has since the end of WWII come to be seen as the undoubtable lodestar towards a higher moral and liberal value system in Europe, which values amongst other are the notions of sustainable development and a nascent predisposition to social justice and democracy, absent of the American tendency to police its by force.
I have in previous writings referred to the forward thinking grit and moral fortitude of the German people, at least in my interpretation of how western scholarship views that society.
Naturally, some questions arise on why such a value system is absent in Germany’s dealings with Namibia. An example of one such curiosity that arises is that Germany, based on its aversion to the historicity of its colonial conduct and its consistent underweighting of diplomatic relations with Namibia, does not in fact consider itself to have a special economic or diplomatic relationship with Namibia, grounded on the notion of a common future determined by a special historical relationship.
If this is indeed so, what then is the basis of its “highest per capita income development aid to Namibia?” Also, can Namibia expect a genuine willingness from Germany to move forward in the genocide talks or at the very least, expect for the matter to be seen as more than a mere specter of a long past colonial indiscretion?
If not, what then is Germany’s actual and strategic intent from these talks? While we at it, we may perhaps even ask ourselves; what are the foundations of Germany’s relationship with Namibia? In fact, does Berlin even care that her conduct is seen as increasingly offensive?
It is not possible to explore a meaningful and expansive consideration of these unanswered questions herein, but one hopes that a protogenic consideration of Germany’s relations with Namibia will steer us away from the distorted expectations with which we are currently engaging with Germany.
The sooner we take serious our collective suspicion that perhaps, just perhaps, the only strategic interest our German friends may have in Namibia is to secure the economic interest of its non illegitimate kinsman, through diplomatic means, the better.
Some may even go to the extent of suggesting that the whole notion of “highest per capita development aid to Namibia”, including through it’s so called “German Special initiative for Namibia”, is but a guile form of dollar diplomacy, which is meant to placate Namibian sentiments on matters such as land expropriation and black economic empowerment.
These are not irrational sentiments and those that doubt their rationale, appropriate the burden of suggesting political and economic behavior from the Germany state that proves otherwise. These are tough questions but they deserve honest reflection both from scholars and political players in both countries.
Alas, I and many others of my generation have very little inclination for diplomacy based on mythical and elusive notions that add nothing to our collective national desire for economic transformation and which do not treat the lingering vestiges of unequal wealth distribution in our society. As a result, we can no longer pay credence to diplomatic processes that do not recognise our dignity and that continuously undervalue the patience and goodwill of Namibians.
We allow ourselves to be hoodwinked and underweighted at our own peril. Namibia must not in practice or in posture, project that it seeks some sort of a Faustian economic dependency with Germany. On the contrary for Namibia our actions must be informed by the desire to seek lasting and transformative economic, political and social goodwill. This however can only be feasible once good has been made from acknowledging historical wrongs perpetrated by Germany against Namibia.
As much as this piece is a dismissal of Germany’s faux goodwill and its deeply hurtful attempts to impugn the historicity of its colonial wrongs in Namibia, it is equally also a scathing indictment of the gullibility in our own country’s foreign policy stance towards Germany, especially in the face of emerging hyper-nationalism and the retreat from multiculturalism that we see emerging across a significant spectrum of German society.
It is an exercise doomed to fail to keep expecting denialist to understand the intersection between German colonialism and present economic patterns in Namibia. The question to focus on rather, and to cast back into our own minds eye when considering a new and shared economic future for all Namibians, is: what actions we should take, that will fundamentally and materially change the unequal economic structure in Namibia? Especially considering that at the center of our unbalanced and unequal economic and social structure is a history marred in racial disharmony, material dispossession, unprecedented oppression and brutality.