16. Mai 2017

Landless movement dismisses Lutheran apology

The Landless People's Movement yesterday poured scorn on the apology of the Lutheran Church in Namibia over their roles in the colonial and struggle periods of Namibian history.
The apology was extended during the Lutheran World Federation's (LWF) 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation at Windhoek, which lasted from last Wednesday to Sunday.

The LPM yesterday said the church was aware of the role played by Lutheran missionaries during the colonial period in Namibia.
“We are amazed as to why black church leaders and representatives of the neo-colonial global Lutheran Church cannot discern that imperialism and colonialism impacted heavily on Namibia, leading to genocide and land dispossession,” the LPM stated.
Diana Geingos, an LPM member, said the Roman Catholic and Lutheran churches were amongst the biggest beneficiaries of land dispossessions and colonial-era land grabs in Namibia.
“Our issue is the fact that black representatives overlooked the pain and suffering committed by the churches. Instead of calling for corrective justice measures and demanding from their headquarters some form of global apology and reparations in the context of restorative justice, the churches continued to side with the evil,” Geingos said.
Geingos claimed that the LWF was trying to hide the truth from its members, some of whom suffered immensely under colonialism. She called on local Lutheran leaders to withdraw their so-called apology, and to start engaging with landless people.
“We are also shocked by the Lutheran church in Namibia over their continued silence on genocide and land dispossession talks in Namibia. We feel that where it is compromised, the church keeps quiet,” she stated.

Human rights activist and LPM member Rosa Namises requested the LWF and Namibian Lutherans to re-evaluate the apology, while expressing appreciation for everything the Lutheran church has done in Namibia in the past. “Whilst appreciating that, we would like to express our disappointment with the apology that was made by the church, not to us as the Namibian people, but to themselves. “We are also raising concern that in the past, the church was the voice of the voiceless, but today the church is in unison and in cahoots with the state,” she said.
Namises noted that over the years, religious institutions acquired vast land holdings.
“There are many cases of landlessness happening from the side [sic] of the church. As a result, we are calling on the Lutheran church to re-evaluate their apology, and apologise very clearly. “However, it should not just be an apology, but also with corrective measures regarding the things that were done to our people, and creating alternative ways to redress this matter,” she said.
Namises also invited the church to become vocal and make their stance known around the plight of landless people. She added that the church should rise up and be an independent, neutral mediator between the LPM and the state.

“The land issue and the genocide is very much linked to what the LPM is speaking about today. I hope the Council of Churches in Namibia will hear this call, and put their heads together to make it the CCN's issue, and rope the Lutheran church in,” Namises said. (The Namibian, Windhoek)

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