Monday, March 26, 2007

Did He or Didn't He? Or When an Apology Just Might Not Be an Apology

First he said they asked for it. Then he said it again. Now he's apologized? Prime Minister Abe of Japan may or may not have apologized for Japan's enslavement of "comfort women" during World War II. Pardon me for being a little skeptical here. Does the act of apology require actual feelings of sorrow and regret? Or mere acknowledgment that one should, really, be experiencing such sorrow? Does a coerced apology confer to the victims the same "comfort" and closure as a freely offered acknowledgment of sorrow and contrition?
Meanwhile, from other parts of the world, come an outpouring of expressions and rituals of sorrow and regret to commemorate the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Maybe it takes two hundred years.

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