|History has many faces|
|Written by Peter (Okakarara)|
|Wednesday, 30 November 2011 23:14|
It concerns me to read the many letters on reparation and restitution demands in our newspapers, which almost all include some true and many not so true historical facts. These facts are too often twisted, fragmentary and even invented about when, where and how German troops ‘wiped out’ a group of Namibian people. |
If we were to look into the mirror and at the human beings we all are and our ancestors were, we would learn that man is rather imperfect, not perfect. It is man’s imperfection that kept him going until now; he is no saint, no masterpiece of mother nature as are, for example, big sharks or ugly crocodiles.
A twisted history means a twisted and endangered future, resulting in a corrupted nation. It means that we Namibians will never be able to know the truth, we only will know different perceptions of it; we will forever be unable to learn what was right or wrong, what is and what will be right or wrong in future.
If we regard our own thinking as the only truth, we will condemn ourselves and our destination. We will be the dumping ground of humanity and find ourselves in the company of all those peoples who could not make it.
History is not only the telling of national history from one viewpoint only; we have to juxtapose history as told by many to see the truth.
Then there is also a personal, an individual history; it regards your and my time at home, at school, at work, as parent and all what happened within every stadium of our life. We know and read about the history of successful men. But never do we hear about the story – the history – of dropouts and human flops in any other way than told by them alone and when they are amongst themselves. Just visit any prison in the country to see that I am right.
The successful one will usually ‘brag’ about his own superiority and the flop puts the blame on someone else. Same applies to the history of peoples. This is as understandable as it is wrong, and it reflects a truly human behaviour; there is no significant difference between a Herero or German or Chinese besides skin colour and hair texture; we all came from the same matrix.
None of us would volunteer to tell our children or grandchildren the shameful mistakes we made in our youth and neither would my neighbour or yours. No Herero, no Nama, no German and no Chinese man would like to do it, neither on an individual nor on a collective level. Yet, certainly we all made mistakes as individuals and peoples. How will my children learn to avoid mistakes if I hide them; from whom or what else could they learn to do better? How will people learn to avoid mistakes made by us and our ancestors and to respect each other if their history is twisted and falsified according to who tells it?
Many of us who write now letters to the papers try desperately to hide the mistakes of our forefathers and only the Germans seem to enjoy the mud-bathe. They are put in by their own compatriots and by Herero, Nama and now also Damara speaking ‘historians’; yet the Germans stay mute. Very, very seldom, we hear a German voice speaking up in defence of their ancestors and if, it is in the Allgemeine Zeitung as their voice and loudhailer, a paper which no young and only a very few old Namibians of colour are able to read.
So, the field of Namibian history is all ours; we use it more effective than our Brave Warriors use the soccer field. Of course, this does not surprise anybody because we expect more, much more than even the best soccer player has the right to expect. But does that make our efforts ethical? Do we play fair? Does this straighten out the twisted history, our Namibian history we so much like to see out of our own perspective only? And, did we gain from our efforts?
We have become the laughing stock in the world of international historians and international politics. Others have already put us together in the very basket reserved for the Malemas, the Mugabes and all the other greedy, blind or one-eyed, the disabled but, nevertheless, impudent beggars of this world. This is bad. It is bad because it hampers us doing the right thing, which is working on ourselves, improving our capabilities to be able to compete in this ever more demanding, highly challenging, overcrowded world.
Dreaming foul dreams about money from Germany will eventually ruin us, will make us soft and unfit to survive - it will keep us in eternal poverty. It makes us vulnerable, it opens our minds for corrupt thinking; it will certainly corrupt the Namibian nation’s way into true economic and intellectual independence. I am a worried!