Thursday, January 31, 2008

Formal Apologies Issued by Governments

Wednesday January 30, 2008
Guardian Unlimited, UK
By The Associated Press
How can one forgive and make up without the other side repenting? May be this other side wants to prolong the pain.

- 1998: Canada apologizes to its native peoples for past acts of oppression, including decades of abuse at federally funded boarding schools whose goal was to sever Indian and Inuit youths from their culture and assimilate them in white society.

- 1992: South African President F.W. de Klerk apologizes for apartheid, marking the first time a white leader in the country expressed regret for the system of legalized segregation that allowed 5 million whites to dominate 30 million blacks.

- 1990: The Soviet Union apologizes for the murder of thousands of imprisoned Polish officers shot during World War II and buried in mass graves in the Katyn Forest.

- 1988: The U.S. Congress passes a law apologizing to Japanese-Americans for their internment during World War II and offering $20,000 payments to survivors.

- 1951: West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer acknowledges the suffering of the Jews in the Holocaust and the following year, Germany agrees to pay reparations to Israel. In 1990, the then East German Parliament issues an apology to Israel and all Jews and others who suffered.


- The U.S. has never issued a formal apology for the African slave trade or paid reparations to slave descendants. In 2007, Virginia became the first state to apologize for its involvement, followed by Alabama, Maryland and North Carolina. No state has offered reparations.

- The U.S. has never apologized to American Indians for past actions, including forced relocation and broken treaties and promises. American Indians have received compensation for their lands over the years, but no formal apology.

- Armenia has repeatedly requested an apology from Turkey for the killings of what historians estimate was up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I. Turkey maintains the toll has been inflated and that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest.

- China has accused Japan of not fully atoning for its invasions and occupation of China in the 1930s and 1940s, including wartime atrocities like the Rape of Nanjing, in which Japanese troops massacred as many as 300,000 people while taking the Chinese city in 1937.


- Although Japan issued a carefully worded apology in 1993 to the tens of thousands of women from neighboring countries forced to serve as sex slaves for its soldiers during World War II, parliament never formally approved it. Japan has rejected most compensation claims, saying they were settled by postwar treaties. A fund created in 1995 by the government but run independently has provided a way to compensate former sex slaves without making it official. Many women, however, have rejected the money.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.



Post a Comment

<< Home