Saturday, April 23, 2016

Another unwarranted apology

On April 12, 2016, the Toronto Star reported that Prime Minister Justine Trudeau will in the near future apologize in the House of Commons for an event of 1914. My letter to the Star with copies to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland. No reaction expected -- the Star censors anything that questions any of its target markets, the PM ignores everything not on his agenda and my Member of Parliament does not reply to any of my communications.

No more anachronistic apologies (Trudeau to formally apologize for Sikh tragedy, Apr 12). 

No Canadian alive today is responsible for the immigration law of 1914. The ship Komagata Maru was turned away from Canadian waters at that time because it posed illegal entry according to the law of the day, unfortunately to the detriment of many Sikhs aboard. 

Canadian immigration laws protect Canadian interests, not those of would-be illegals.

In her book, The Uses and Abuses of History, Margaret MacMillan asks, "Is it healthy ... for societies to apologize for things that were done in different centuries and under different sets of beliefs?"  The warden of St. Anthony's College at Oxford University continues, "It is all too easy to rummage through the past and find nothing but a list of grievances."

Should anyone think differently, the memory of abused British prisoners then deserves an apology. 

During the Second World War, 25,000 Sikhs deserted Britain to join the Japanese-inspired Indian National Army. In his book, To the Kwai and Back, War Drawings 1939-1945, Ronald Searle graphically depicts the horrors inflicted on British prisoners. In one sketch, a captured British officer on his knees is about to be beaten by a Sikh guard for failing to salute. Searle writes, "The most visible guard duties outside the wire were taken over by Sikhs who gratuitously thrashed any unfortunate who caught their eye."

No apology demanded.
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Later additions:

"One should not demand that past epochs conform to current prejudices, and thus commit the sin of excessive 'present-mindedness,' distorting the past by forcing it into a mould of recent construction."
     Roland N. Stromberg
     European Intellectual History since 1789

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Was it necessary in 2007 for a tribe in Papua New Guinea to apologize for eating missionaries in the 19th century?

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