Monday, January 12, 2004

An example of why it's useful to read a diversity of media to get perspective. Daily Mail and Guardian ran an article entitled Germany expresses 'regret' for Herero massacre. The South African paper wrote Germany's ambassador to Namibia expressed his country's "regret" on Sunday over the ruthless quelling of the Herero tribe uprising a century ago in which tens of thousands were slaughtered by German colonial troops. The ambassador, Wolfgang Massing said that while history could not be undone, "we can give back to the victims and their descendants the dignity and honour of which they were robbed". "I also wish to express how deeply we regret this unfortunate past", Massing said at a commemoration of the January 12, 1904 uprising in Okahandja, the Hereros' erstwhile capital 70 kilometres north of the capital Windhoek. His statement is the closest a German government representative has come to an apology -- a demand repeatedly made by the Herero -- for what historians have described as a genocide.

An article on the same comments appeared in The Namibian but with a very different tone: No apology, no payout for Herero. The Windhoek daily reported: GERMANY has ruled out any question of compensating the victims of its 1904-07 genocidal campaign, as Namibians begin yearlong activities to mark the centenary of the outbreak of hostilities in the Herero-German War. Not only did the German Ambassador to Namibia, Wolfgang Massing, yesterday reject the demand for reparations, but he also fell short of offering a formal apology for the genocide. "It would be not justified to compensate one specific ethnic group for their suffering during the colonial times, as this could reinforce ethnic tensions and thus undermine the policy of national reconciliation which we fully support," Ambassador Massing told a 1 000-strong rally to commemorate the beginning of armed conflict.

A piece in Wajibu was headlined Child defilers to face castration in Zambia. The quarterly journal based in the Kenyan capital Nairobi noted After 39 years without a child defilement policy and weak legislation, Zambians are now waking up to the worst form of human torture and the seriousness of the brutal crime of child defilement... [the Zambian] Government intends to introduce a bill on sexual offences in response to cries by the people for macro-intervention. It is hoped that the law will provide for the detention of offenders without bail and castration of convicts.

A related story on the BBC reported 'Sugar daddies' fuelling HIV spread.


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