The victims' struggle for recognition and recurring genocide memories in Namibia

197 8 The return of Herero and Nama bones from Germany: the victims’ struggle for recognition and recurring genocide memories in Namibia Vilho Amukwaya Shigwedha Introduction In April 1904, General Adrian Dietrich Lothar von Trotha delivered his infamous order to exterminate the Herero and Nama people.1 The ‘Vernichtungsbefehl’, or extermination order, signifies Imperial Germany’s military response to the Herero and Nama popular revolts against Germany’s confiscation and domination of indigenous land. Close to 100,000 Herero and 20,000 Nama, mainly women and

in Human remains in society
Overriding politics and injustices

In October 2011, twenty skulls of the Herero and Nama people were repatriated from Germany to Namibia. So far, fifty-five skulls and two human skeletons have been repatriated to Namibia and preparations for the return of more skulls from Germany were at an advanced stage at the time of writing this article. Nonetheless, the skulls and skeletons that were returned from Germany in the past have been disappointingly laden with complexities and politics, to such an extent that they have not yet been handed over to their respective communities for mourning and burials. In this context, this article seeks to investigate the practice of ‘anonymising’ the presence of human remains in society by exploring the art and politics of the Namibian state’s memory production and sanctioning in enforcing restrictions on the affected communities not to perform, as they wish, their cultural and ritual practices for the remains of their ancestors.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
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Humanitarianism in a Post-Liberal World Order

investments. We can look at the use by German forces in the 1870 Franco-Prussian war of the Red Cross as a bombing target, or the contrast between The Hague Conventions and the use of poison gas during World War I, or prior to that the creation of a concentration camp system by the British in South Africa. Indeed, we can go back to the famines the British at worst engineered, and at best tolerated, in India, killing millions of people. Or the Germans and the Herero, or the Belgians and the Congo, or the British and Mau Mau, or the French in Algeria

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
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Curation and exhibition in the aftermath of genocide and mass-violence

This book addresses the practices, treatment and commemoration of victims’ remains in post- genocide and mass violence contexts. Whether reburied, concealed, stored, abandoned or publically displayed, human remains raise a vast number of questions regarding their legal, ethical and social uses.

Human Remains in Society will raise these issues by examining when, how and why bodies are hidden or exhibited. Using case studies from multiple continents, each chapter will interrogate their effect on human remains, either desired or unintended, on various political, cultural or religious practices. How, for instance, do issues of confiscation, concealment or the destruction of bodies and body parts in mass crime impact on transitional processes, commemoration or judicial procedures?

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agenda, genocides and episodes of mass violence are still both the source and the product of their know­ ledge. This dark memory of physical anthropology is displayed in 6 6   Human remains in society the chapter by David M.  Anderson and Paul J.  Lane on the fate of the skeletons of Mau Mau insurgents in Kenya, and similarly presented in the chapter by Vilho Amukwaya Shigwedha on the Hereros and Namas of Namibia murdered by German colonial troops. The collection of skeletons of these natives –​whose return from Germany is still ongoing –​was established at the

in Human remains in society
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A war of extermination, grave looting, and culture wars in the American West

end of the nineteenth century, there were perhaps 300 Maori preserved heads in collections around the world.27 Similarly, in the 1900s German scientists removed hundreds of Herero Namibian remains from southwest Africa for research in Berlin.28 But the scope and volume of the practice in the United States was unprecedented. Between the 1780s, when Thomas Jefferson excavated a thousand human remains near his home in Virginia, and the 1960s, when the Red Power movement successfully challenged the right of archaeologists and scientists to treat their dead as specimens

in Human remains and identification
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calculations.127 Isabel V. Hull believes that the explanation lies within wider German (Prussian) military culture, which had developed a totalising logic since the Franco-​Prussian War, crystallised in the conflict with the Herero.128 Although occupation was an unpleasant experience for French civilians throughout the entire four years, it was never as violent as those of the Eastern Front.129 Nevertheless, in the Nord as elsewhere, total war led to total occupation, to adapt Peter Holquist’s summary of the First World War’s effects on Russia.130 Economic woes, hunger

in The experience of occupation in the Nord, 1914– 18

Taner Akcam, A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility (London: Constable 2007), xvi. 80 Omer Bartov, ‘Extreme Violence and the Scholarly Community’, International Social Science Journal , 54 (174), 2002: 509–518, at 510. On connections between the genocides of the Herero and Nama and that of the Jews, see Jürgen Zimmerer ‘The Birth of the Ostland

in Antisemitism and the left