Ditto

From Roy at MF:

This is already a week old, but did anyone notice that the very same day US Congressman Mike Honda (D, California) issued yet another call for Japan to issue a more concrete apology to former comfort women, New Jersey became the first Northern state in the United States to issue a formal apology for our state’s history of slavery? Although four Southern states of Virginia, Maryland, Alabama, and North Carolina had previously issued similar resolutions, the fact that many Northern states still allowed slave-holding well into the 19th century has been largely ignored. New Jersey, for example, did not finally ban slavery until 1846. There has been no such resolution at the federal level.

While it might be nice to see the Japanese government officially acknowledge past crimes in more specificity, perhaps the US Congress should apologize for slavery at the national level before its members go overseas to demand that foreign governments do the same thing. Maybe by setting a moral example, Mister Honda might convince a wider audience of his credibility.

Yup, that about sums it up.

About Curzon

Lord George Nathaniel Curzon (1859 - 1925) entered the British House of Commons as a Conservative MP in 1886, where he served as undersecretary of India and Foreign Affairs. He was appointed Viceroy of India at the turn of the 20th century where he delineated the North West Frontier Province, ordered a military expedition to Tibet, and unsuccessfully tried to partition the province of Bengal during his six-year tenure. Curzon served as Leader of the House of Lords in Prime Minister Lloyd George's War Cabinet and became Foreign Secretary in January 1919, where his most famous act was the drawing of the Curzon Line between a new Polish state and Russia. His publications include Russia in Central Asia (1889) and Persia and the Persian Question (1892). In real life, "Curzon" is a US citizen from the East Coast who has been a financial analyst, freelance translator, and university professor; he is currently on assignment in Tokyo.
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8 Responses to Ditto

  1. Rommel says:

    Here’s a better idea… we stop this absolutely absurd, never-ending parade – and charade – of apologies and demanding of apologies. Armenian genocides, the Holocaust (a lesser known atrocity), slavery, American Indian holocausts, colonialism, blah blah blah … ENOUGH!

    Accounts of the cruel and dishonorable manner in which Imperial Japan’s military treated POWs and civilians rightfully disgusts anybody with a soul, I’d have to say that the issue of comfort women was on the (relatively) mild end of the spectrum. The Bataan Death March and Unit 731 always won my horror, but maybe thats just me. Not to downplay the awful story of sexual slavery but….

    I guess the world will never get tired of rubbing the whole Second World War thing in Germany/Japans collective faces, at least in this lifetime. Which baffles me, considering that Germany has long since been immasculated and neutered and Japan seems like the least threatening nation in the world right now (maybe you guys in Japan see a different side.)

    All this said, the voters in California who elected this joker Mike Honda (whose previous occupation was level 5 boss in NES Mike Tyson Punch-Out, I believe) should boot him out of office come re-election time, for wasting their time and money advocating this bullcrap. Ditto for all the other lawmakers who peddle this kind of malarkey…

  2. Curzon says:

    Far more eloquent than my “ditto.”

  3. Michael says:

    I don’t know that I’d go that far. Way I see it, apologies serve three potential purposes:
    1) Acknowledging one’s (or one’s institution’s) wrong-doing to the victims. In our case, the victims are already dead; in Japan’s case, some are still alive.
    2)Getting hard questions about one’s relationship with the victims’ groups out into the open– though this can be good or bad. Discussing the best way to help African-Americans out of poverty, or a warming of relations between Japan and her neighbors would be good. Letting it turn into a masochistic whipping session would not.
    3) Once you’ve apologized and faced the hard questions about your relationship with the victims and their descendents, it should be much easier to turn further questions about YOUR behavior back on the questioner. “We’ve apologized for [slavery, Nanking, whatever], but YOU haven’t said anything about [their slavery background, Tienanmen Square, whatever]. Why not?”

  4. Arcane says:

    I completely agree with Rommel. I’m really sick and tired of the apologies. The present generation in America never owned slaves and no slaves are still alive, so an apology is pointless. Why is the world so obsessed with these apologies? It seems like the sole purpose of the advocates of apologies is to humiliate and disgrace a nation before every new generation. This absurdity needs to stop.

  5. Curzon says:

    It’s hard to read the actual meaning of Roy’s post. The phrase, “perhaps the US Congress should apologize for slavery at the national level before its members go overseas to demand that foreign governments do the same thing. Maybe by setting a moral example, Mister Honda might convince a wider audience of his credibility” can either be read as intending just that, or it could have been written sarcastically, i.e. the Congress ain’t never going to do that, so just stop moralizing. Pray tell, Mr. Berman, which one you meant!

  6. I’m with Rommel. Enough of the apologies. “Apologies” by those living in the present are pointless and serve no purpose except to allow some of us to engage in moral preening by proclaiming that we no longer engage in such activities, and to indulge their own smugness and advance political agends by pedaling the blood-guilt of others; at worst it amounts to public sanction of provincialism in time.

    As for the Japanese – they lost their war. Their cities were knocked flat, their armies beaten, their navy sunk, their country occupied. Surely that is object lesson enough, isn’t it ? The war is now over. There is peace, and the matter should be concluded. Forcing people to remain forever on the stool of everlasting repentance does nothing but breed resentment and store up trouble for the future.

  7. Roy Berman says:

    “can either be read as intending just that, or it could have been written sarcastically, i.e. the Congress ain’t never going to do that, so just stop moralizing. Pray tell, Mr. Berman, which one you meant!”

    Honestly, a bit of both. I do in fact think that if Mr. Honda were actually able to get the US Congress to pass their own slavery apology resolution then he might be able to gather more moral support for his crusade over Japan’s comfort women. On the other hand, I don’t think he’ll even try. I also wanted to suggest a bit of “try putting your own house in order before you criticize everyone else.”

  8. Michael says:

    “As for the Japanese – they lost their war. Their cities were knocked flat, their armies beaten, their navy sunk, their country occupied. Surely that is object lesson enough, isn’t it ? The war is now over. There is peace, and the matter should be concluded. Forcing people to remain forever on the stool of everlasting repentance does nothing but breed resentment and store up trouble for the future.”

    You are correct– insofar as we did defeat them and forcing them to remain forever on the stool would do no one any good. Thing is, the other Asian countries can’t claim much of the credit for that beating. And they have seen little or no acknowledgement from the Japanese government that what happened to them HAPPENED, much less an apology to those individuals- still alive- who suffered that pain.

    Once apologies have been made, along with restitution to those who ACTUALLY DID THE SUFFERING, the matter should be closed as far as I’m concerned. Let the dead rest.