Saturday, March 08, 2008

sorry, I can't apologize.

India's vice president Hamid Ansari thinks that Britain owes India an Apology over 'the mass killings during the 1857 revolt'. He thinks India is 'too polite' to even ask for an apology.

Recently, the new Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologized to aboriginal people for injustices caused by white settlers.

Similarly former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Bandaranaike issued an apology some time back to the 1983 riots against Tamils.

I find all this a bit absurd. How can someone apologize on behalf of the things they didn't do? I empathize of course, but I can't and I won't apologize.

"Britain" need not apologize to "India", because neither India nor Britain is a person. Both are temporary political constructs. Similarly "whites" need not apologize for aborigines, and "Sinhalese" need not apologize for '83 riots and Tamils or Muslims need not apologize for LTTE or Al-Qaeda.

The same idelogy which demands "group responsibility" is the same one which perpetuates "group blame". I don't blame Tamils for the LTTE, nor do I blame myself for '83.

I understand the point about political expediency, but principally speaking.. Sorry, I can't apologize.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are right about the nation states being constructs, and temporary ones at that.
But do consider the fact that the nation state as a construct is founded on a lot of violence. And in apologising, the people who derive their power from this foundation of the nation state admit to this very foundation. As symbolic as a gesture it may be, I think it's an important first step. Think of the Peace and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa... How could we, or the powers that be, move beyond prejudice when we don't even accept it exists?