After coming across BBC’s question – ‘Is it right to apologise for the past’, and ‘Should Governments apologise for past policies and events’ – I began to wonder if it was not for the ‘fragmentation of remorse’ by all of us having committed various misdeeds in varying locales distinguished by time and space, could we not have learnt from it and avoided perpetuating them in new forms? I often bemoan s.e.Asia not being afforded a similar experience such as the Jews in WWII. What a terrible thought to have right. But, its not that I wish that a similar genocide had taken place there, but that the s.e.Asians could at least learn from it through empathy with the Jews, Poles, Czechs, Romany, and others whom were slaughtered by cultural and racial supremacists, so that they might not act similarly via non-murderous means as they do now with the array of fascist governments ruling quite a bit of the region. If we could all take on the mindset of the remorseful Nazi and the victimised Jew; the penitent slaver and the enslaved African; or a remorseful Madeleine Albright and the dying Iraqi child; then perhaps we might do our utmost to stem the flow of the sins of the past into more ‘acceptable’ or less visible forms in the present.
It seems that when remorse is fragmented between individuals, nations, time, and a myriad of other forms of divisions, so are the lessons that could have been learnt. In fact, it seems that the only lessons that are learnt from the fragmentation of remorse is how to perpetuate the selfsame sin in acceptable forms.
Even if we might not be responsible ourselves for that which happened in the past, we are, at present, the stewards of the future, and by obligation, take on the sins of all that is located in the past despite it’s racial/cultural/national/etc point of origin or locale of commission. For the purpose of disengaging the hold of a questionable past on the times to come, we have to seek gain from the sins of those who came before us by acknowledge them as such and personalising it via an apology. That, perhaps, is how the future might be absolved from a re-enactment of the past.