Attempted Prophecies: On reparations: blood money and sticky fingers



Whenever Mary-Ama entered a room, you had to drop everything it was you were doing and follow her inside. Our eyes always went where Mary-Ama went. We would be outside the house, minding our own business, enjoying fresh air, and out of nowhere we would spy, from the corners of our eyes, the legend Mary-Ama, upping from her seat, headed for a room or two… Oh! wouldn’t we drop everything it was we were doing, and, as though for dear life, dart after her.

Failure to do this always resulted in the loss of a Cedi or two, and oftentimes, identifiable items such as necklaces, clothing, shoes etc. There was no money too small or big that Mary-Ama wouldn’t steal; no shoe too small or big that she wouldn’t appropriate; no jewellery or clothing too distinct that Mary-Ama wouldn’t take for herself. Her solution to the potential identification and consequent indictment for the crime of theft of apparel was to never leave the house donning her loot. She would change enroute to her destination.

Ah! Mary-Ama was the bane of our peaceful existence—in our very own home. Mary-Ama, she caused us to oftentimes do unintended physical exercises. Because as soon as one saw her entering a room, one had to drop everything it was that they were doing, and run after her—as though for dear life—to protect their properties.

It is an outright crime. A people should never have such feelings towards fellow human beings—much more, persons so integral to the mechanism of societies as leaders are. A people should never have to find themselves in a societal or national dynamic where leaders oftentimes are ‘Mary-Amas’… Persons requiring constant tailing because they ever so famously suffer the bane of the sticky fingers. Such a dynamic/reality does not speak well of the leader—neither does it, the follower. In the long and short-term it does not benefit the follower—neither does it, the leaders themselves in the long-term.

So really, at the end of the day, a society is only as good as how their leaders perform on the scale of ‘Mary-Ama-ness’.

Oh no, I have not forgotten the purpose of today’s article. Reparations.

[Apologies, but we will have to come back to this matter of Mary-Ama-ness at the end of this entire series—not this article].


A History of Debt Collection

Let us begin by saying that if the White folk suffered even a quarter of the evils that they have brought upon people spread worldwide—people like us, the Black race—sometime along their history, the world would have never heard the end of it! Throughout history, everywhere the White folk has set foot, all that has ensued has been bloodshed, monstrosities, sheer evil, gore, the theft of human lives and properties, always on an unprecedented scale—from Africa to the Americas, Asia to the Caribbean. Yet, if even a quarter of what White folks have caused people worldwide, across generations, across timelines, were to have been committed against them, the world would still be paying for those crimes—emotionally and physically. The world would still be bleeding money to correct those ills committed against the Caucasian in that distant past. Time and space would have done nothing to appease the White man and woman. All pains caused would have been converted into money, and money, they would have been paid in full—and in haste. Because the White folk will never suffer themselves a fool nor a victim. And instances of this are all there, written, pasted all over their history as a people.

We will have to cite these instances in batches—perhaps across a series of articles, for there are many. Let’s begin first with the oft-demanded and oft-paid ‘war reparations.’


The Phoenix and the Revenant

Whether it is fighting against members of their own race or other races, the Caucasian has made sure to come out of war, not only with the winner’s badge, but restitution too—restitution as humanly possible.

It doesn’t matter who it was that started the war, all that really matters has been who won the war—all that matters is the winner’s demands. And the White winner, he has almost always demanded that payment be made for the human and property losses and damages suffered by them throughout the course of various wars—wars in which they have been largely, arguably complicit. These payments, they have been demanded both in cash and in kind.

In the ‘For One Man, Down Millions’ series we discussed World Wars I and promised to discuss WWII at a later date. In those articles, we, while chronicling the gore and human savagery that were these infamous two wars—each spanning a period of four years—we showed how the Caucasian still managed to come out of these hell of wars as some sort of socioeconomic and (at-times) geopolitical phoenixes. We showed how the Caucasian managed to, in the long-run, escape the complete devastation and deterioration expected of wars as total as these two conflicts were. Long story short, by the end of these wars, the White folk had emerged more industrialised than ever; consequently, more powerful than ever (economically and geopolitically). This was true especially for the then-budding nation of the United States of America in World War I. Late-to-the-war America, it benefitted the most from this war. It went into WWI as a promising world player; it came out as a superpower.

Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and co. have all had their share of this morbid industrial revolution—one necessitated by these wars.

In these articles, we saw how in many ways, a continent such as ours, became an offshoot of an otherwise European war, losing human and natural resource capital—funding a war we had no business in.

World War I

Whoever thought human savagery such as this would have a silver lining? Yet, very morbidly that is exactly what happened. And as noted, even still, after each of these wars, were the winners’ demands—a.k.a. more ‘benefitting’, if you will. I mean, truly, who started World War I? The answer always depends on who you ask, doesn’t it?

The Austro-Hungarians together with the rest of the Central Powers would tell you quite matter-of-factly that the Serbians did—that if Gavrilo Princip, fuelled by the ‘notorious’, Serb-fuelled Black Hand hadn’t shot and killed their incoming emperor, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, this whole mess of a war would not have happened. But the Serbians (together with the Allies), they would vehemently retort—sending these Austro-Hungarians a little further back into history, claiming that if this vast nation had not set its imperialistic eyes on them and showed all signs of a conquest, this impulsive retaliatory-cum-irridentist murderous charge by the Black Hand would not have happened. And further, that if they hadn’t chosen to respond to the death of a to-be Emperor by bombing an entire city, the whole mess of a war would definitely not have happened.

As noted, it really does seem like the basis for the demands of war reparations has never truly been a question of who started the war—because the question of who actually started a war, it is usually hard to arrive at, isn’t it? At the end of the day, these demands for righting a wrong, it is usually the prerogative of the winning party. So then, on 11th November, 1918 when the infamous Great War came to a close, the demands of reparations were levelled against the real losers—among others, but chief among them, the Germans.

The Germans, they surely did not hear right, did they? Did someone say, 132 billion gold marks? Surely, that must be a mistake, mustn’t it? Except it was not. The Allies, they were serious about this: US$33 billion, being then in their currency (German currency) 132 billion gold marks, that is exactly how much the German nation was charged to pay as reparations for this war—a war of which, note, they hadn’t been initiators, but like the rest of the warring parties, enablers. US$33 billion, that was non-negotiable, the Allies, represented by the ‘Big Three’—Britain, France, and USA—they insisted. And that wasn’t even all.

WWI – Total War; Total Reparations

“The Allied and Associated Governments affirm and Germany accepts the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and the damage to which the Allied Associated Governments and their nationals have been made subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies.”

On the 11th of November 1918, the war came to a close with the Central Powers’ defeat, and with the signing of the armistice between the Allies and the last man standing, Germany. And after the war’s end, were talks of reparations. By January 1919, 32 countries had gathered together in Paris to begin talks on the way forward to world peace—with the notable exclusion of Germany. These talks were dominated by representatives from Britain, France, and the USA. “How does the world punish the perpetrators—particularly, in this instance, Germany?” That was the rallying question.

These three countries, they wanted different things—consequently, the world, it was forced to want different things. France, having received the war’s largest chunk of the territorial and human devastations, it wanted brutal, brutal punishment for Germany. USA, having come in late to the war, having suffered the least territorial and human losses, and wanting to maintain Germany as a functioning economy—one which it would, in the years subsequent, maintain good trading relationships with, wanted an ever-so gentle punishment for the country. Britain, it was on the fence. It hadn’t suffered as much devastation as France had; yet it had suffered more than the US. It had suffered massive financial loss during the war, but very little territorial damages. Yet, wanting to revive its economy, and needing trade partners to see to this happening, it was with the USA on the ‘not crippling the German economy’ front.

This tripartite bunch, they begrudgingly came to a compromise—in a document so bulky, so comprehensive, never before seen in a peace treaty nor a reparations treaty, a document having a whopping 240 pages and 440 articles, the Treaty of Versailles.

There came this enormous treaty, dropped on the lap of Germany with instructions to sign. Just sign. Don’t say a word. ‘This is not open for negotiations—just sign’.


And this is how Article 231 (the reparations section of the Treaty) opened:

“The Allied and Associated Governments affirm and Germany accepts the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and the damage to which the Allied Associated Governments and their nationals have been made subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies.”

This means that Germany, together with the rest of the Central Powers’ punishment was not to be just monetary but a moral one too. The Germans, they were very confused by this term, and in fact all the terms contained in the Treaty. And perhaps for good reason. Because—and we have already looked at the confusion that surrounds the question of ‘who started the war’—but there is yet another question that needs answering: why did the various parties end up joining the war in the first place, lending more boost to it, in longevity and devastation? What were their individual motives? It is true that the Germans, spearheaded by their emperor, King Wilhelm II, joined the war for imperialistic reasons—not necessarily to help a friend, Austria-Hungary. Their reason was plain and simple: Wilhelm wanted dominance, power, and wealth. And for him there was no better opportunity to secure this than stoking the flames of a brewing war.

But what of the rest of the parties—both on the sides of the Allies and the Central Powers? Britain for one went into the war because Germany, intending to attack France, had decided to do so by going through Belgium—a neutral nation, a neutrality which Britain had avowed to secure. And Britain’s reason for securing this neutrality wasn’t to necessarily protect this nation of Belgium, but more so to deny Germany an imperialistic gain. Because Britain, it knew that Germany’s success in such a war would leave the country pretty much in charge of Western Europe. And increasing imperialist gains for this rising power was a threat to—not the conquered nation per se (whoever they might be)—but to Britain’s own imperialistic upper-hand.

Bulky Russia came in to fight with the Serbians because… Well, because among other reasons, bulky Russia, it didn’t think it was bulky enough. It may just have wanted more territories. But most importantly, it wanted to hold on to what it had acquired—it sure didn’t want its power threatened by emerging powers such as Germany.

The Ottoman Empire joined the war because it had seen its old foe, Russia, being defeated here and there—very early in the war. So, for them, entering the war on the side of the Central Powers, was a way to, among other reasons, regain power. The then war-shattered empire saw this war as an opportunity to expand its territories and waning influence to the Balkan regions, Iran, North Africa, and co.

But, let’s briefly come back to this, what of the two initiating parties—Austria-Hungary and Serbia? What were their real motives for starting this whole mess? The Austro-Hungarians, for one, could deny this all they want: but all signs seemed to point to the fact that they did have subjugating plans for Serbia brewing. The Serbians, on the other hand, they did have their own imperialistic plans—even in their resistance to the prospective Austro-Hungarian rule. Because we know that the Serbians, they had their eyes on fellow- Serbs—i.e., the Bosnians, Croats, Slovaks, Poles etc.—who were then under the Austro-Hungarian empire. And I have said it before, and it bears brief repeating: one person’s imperialism may just be another’s irredentism. No need for us to delve further into this, as we have already tackled it in past articles.

We could go on and on… But the conclusion remains, just as we discussed in the ‘For One Man, Down Millions’ article, this was a war fought between nations each having covert or overt imperialistic objects. None was completely innocent in their motives, going into the war.

But here comes the Allies on that fateful day of 28th June, 1919 to Paris—the Palace of Versailles, in the conference room called the Hall of Mirrors—to present to the Germans, these harsh terms, embodied in a document titled the Treaty of Versailles.

The 28th of June—that date sounds familiar to you, does it not? Well, yes, it does. Because, you see, the Caucasian, they do not only demand payment for wrongs done, but poetry too. The White folk, they make sure not to only demand payments for wrongs done them, but the satisfaction of symbolism too. So, since this whole affair started with the bombing of their ally, Serbia, on the 28th of June 1918, the losers were to make amends on this same date—the 28th June.

There, the delegates sat in the Hall of Mirrors, yet no man taking a look at themselves in the mirror. Germany was to blame for the war—the winners, they were sure.

Germany’s reparatory payments were to come in cash and kind. Some historians have perfectly summarised these reparatory terms into these 3 categories:

  1. Financial and Economic Reparation:

We have already mentioned the quoted figure—i.e., 132 billion gold marks (US$33 billion) non-negotiable. Moving on…

  1. Territorial Reparation:

Among others, Germany was to return certain lands to the Allies. Lorraine was to be returned to France; the rich coal fields of the Saar was to also go to France (for 15 years); Posen was to be handed over to Poland. Africa, the West’s plaything, bore the brunt of these reassignments too. All German colonies within the continent were given to France and Britain as mandates. Germany was forbidden to reunite with Austria-Hungary—with the hopes of stunting such future potentially powerful alliances.

  1. Military Reparation:

Kaiser Wilhelm II’s ambitious charge for world domination had unsurprisingly been characterised by the creation of a powerful military force, fortified with boundless military might. The Allies, having fought these Germans for four straight years, they knew this fact. And this power, they knew, had to be stripped. So there went the treaty’s terms: the nation of Germany’s army was to, with the signing of the treaty, be reduced to only 100,000 men. The innovative streak it showed during the war with its submarine fleet had to be stripped—so the terms went: no submarines for Germany. Neither was it to have an air force. The nation was to only have six battleships. The terms went on and on.

These terms, being a begrudging compromise on the Allies’ part—a compromise which angered the then vengeful France to no end—were still the harshest terms ever imposed on a losing party to any war. US$33 billion plus change—where was the war-broken Germany going to get that money from?

92 long years. That’s how long it took for the Germans to finally settle this debt. Just some 13 years ago—in 2010—the Germans made their final instalment payment under this Treaty.

The Germans had been dealt a bad hand. A war started with a Black Hand; these Germans had emerged therefrom dealt a bad hand—a ‘black’ hand, if you will. By ‘black’ hand, I mean, they had been served a very ‘hot dish’, one normally dished out to Black folks interspersed worldwide, across different timelines. The Germans felt humiliated. They were furious to no end.

“This fat volume was quite unnecessary. They could have expressed the whole thing in one clause: Germany renounces its existence!” Bemoaned the infuriated Ulrich von Brockdorff-Rantzau, the then German Foreign Minister and delegate to Versailles.

[I have always found this funny—his allusion to the bulkiness of the text.  Because as someone who has an awful lot to say, naturally I find myself perpetrator of bulky documents. Needless to say, I feel personally attacked. But that’s beside the point].

Germany was not alone in their anger at this perceived injustice. They had big voices around the world, joining them in this outcry. The terms of the treaty were deemed so unfair that even some American delegates (these Americans having fought on the side of the Allies), resigned from the deliberations.

A Black Hand

Reparations—correcting a wrong done… But the question is, who truly was at fault here? It really is the winner’s prerogative to decide, isn’t it? So, there it was, reparatory demands levelled against, not just the Germans, but the rest of the Central Powers too. But the Germans, their reparatory charge was the most devastating.

War reparations... Why demand reparatory payments for a thing so nuanced as war? Why, we ask? Well, because the Caucasian will never suffer themselves a fool nor a victim. All wrongs done them must always be paid for in full—even in instances where they are just as complicit as their purported perpetrator(s).

Oh! the German Caucasian, they were dealt a bad hand—a ‘black hand’—by fellow Caucasians. The Germans, during this warring period of the early 20th century, they were given the injustice often meted out to the Black folk. And the Germans, they did not like that at all!

These demands were so crushing that the Germans never got over it. Mentally, the nation and its citizenry were taking note… Biding their time, bent on retaliation. And this desire and ‘sense of duty’ to avenge itself, to escape these crushing war reparations, it festered in one particular failed artist—Adolf Hitler.

Adolf Hitler, he emerged 20 years later, seeking revenge for this perceived wrong caused his nation—and going on to cause atrocities on unprecedented levels himself. But why did Adolf emerge, we ask? Well, it is for this same reason: because the White folk will never suffer themselves a fool nor a victim. All wrongs done them must be paid for in full—even in instances where they are just as complicit as their purported perpetrator(s).


This is a story of how a group of kids decided to meet and fight themselves into potential oblivion. This is a story of how the emerging ‘winner’ to this fight demanded of and received from the losing party, payment for losses suffered as a result of this voluntary squabble. This is the Caucasian story.

On the other hand, there is a story of yet another group of people. A people who, as we Ghanaians would say, ‘were sitting their somewhere’, minding their own business, and had trouble and devastation presented at their doorsteps. In this other story, there are also demands for payments for losses suffered. But in this instance, no such payments have been made. And you know exactly whose story this is…

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The writer is a writer. And this sentence is circular

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