Posted by Bill R on July 29, 2000 at 10:35:25:
In Reply to: Re: Casting Stones posted by Victoria on July 29, 2000 at 10:10:57:
: Several of you have cited cases and situations from the more recent past. I see the treaty between the French and English as slightly dfferent than those cases. As I see it, it would be as if when the Americans, having chased the Germans from France in WW2, telling the French that under a treaty signed by the Germans and the U.S. in Moscow with no representation by the French, France now belonged to the U.S. France was conquered by Germans who we had defeated, therefore it was up for grabs, the French people notwithstanding.
: I might buy the argument that too much time has passed for most forms of compensation, but it seems the season for apologies. France and England could apologise.
: What about the Swiss and the Irish? They both played pivotal roles in the outcome of that war and in the underhanded land grab that followed?
: What is the saying 'jus in bello et jus ad bello?"
Well, I see your point there. And similar things to the example you have given HAVE happened in the recent and earlier past. Many come to mind. Should the French and British apologize? I guess it would not hurt. But would it help? Would it mean anything? The Chinese are greatful that the Japanese have finally apologized for their conduct in China, particularly Nanking. But it doesnt end there, as the next thing out of their mouth was "compensation". Most folks, and governments, do not apologize for actions of ancestors or previous governments, at least not in any way that remotely represents taking some accountability for it. Without accountability, isnt an apology meaningless?
But I think, perhaps, the thought in some peoples minds (at least in mine) is: good point Victoria. However, why is one or two groups always the ones singled out as a group that needs apology, compensation, affirmative action etc etc. Aren't we really just kind of allowing guilt trips to be layed on us for the actions of others in the past? And while doind so, slighting all other groups who have been victims of prejudice, injustice, oppression, confiscation of property, ruination through war, etc? Aren't we saying, when singling out a group, that the others are less deserving of apology and compensation?
Or that the mistreatment of the other groups is less worthy of comment?
I would be an easy thing for France and England to make such an apology. But what would it serve? And again, the question comes up, where do the apologies end? Should I apologize to every Italian for their mistreatment upon coming to this country by my Irish and German ancestors? And they apologize to me for Sicilian and Italian involvement in organized crime? The Russians apologize to Chekoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, etc for their occupation? The British apologize to the French for defeating them in Canada and Europe? The French apologize to the Russians for Napoleon's invasion? I mean, really, we could go on and on apologizing for actions we don't agree with, weren't involved in, and happened from 1900 through 2000 alone.
How far back should we go?
And once again, is not an apology without accountability and compensation just an empty gesture and meaningless?
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