Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

When (not) to apologize

The Dutch Cabinet has pledged to apologize for our history in the slave trade. Today is that day. A few centuries ago, our ancestors transported (most) slaves from Africa to their destination. Slave trading was done by Arabs (with the help of African tribes) and still continues today.

Actually, today’s slavery is even bigger than before. That weird fact seems accepted though.

The Dutch apology pledge is not shared by (at least) half of the Dutch population. Why apologize now for something that happened centuries ago? Sincere apologies require accountability and/or responsibility. Both are absent. Politically correct apologies usually lack sincerity.

A small group of activists is using the opportunity to turn the Dutch apology pledge into a (national) controversy. They assume that the Dutch government cannot walk back its December 19 pledge and (therefore) “demand outrageous claims“. Pre-announcing the pledge has clearly backfired.

Recently, the Dutch PM stated that the apologies are not on behalf of Dutch descendants (ie, our current population) but on behalf of the Dutch governors (in Dutch: bestuurders). His statement further weakens an already meaningless apology.

The apology controversy became even bigger when activists also demanded apologies by the Dutch King. Hence, the default political solution: an investigation into the colonial past of the Dutch royals (eg, NOS). Obviously, such an investigation would – and will – prevent a (premature) royal apology.

The above shows when (and how) not to apologize. The real issue is, however, ignored: Why apologize? Also see my 2015 blog: Apologies and the 7 reasons for non-apologists.

As stated in my first paragraph, contemporary slavery is even bigger than colonial slavery. Any apologies for colonial slavery should open a discussion on the magnitude of today’s slavery. Why apologize for something that has never stopped? Political correctness will open cesspools (Dutch: beerput).

In my view, government apologies about the past would (perhaps) be sincere when they simultaneously address the future (eg, proposed UN resolution). The Dutch government’s slavery apology stinks.

“True remorse is never just a regret over consequences; it is a regret over motive.”

A quote by Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983), an American journalist and author

True (1983) by Spandau Ballet
band, lyrics, video, Wiki-band, Wiki-song

I know this much is true

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


Framework Posts


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest