Apologising in a definitive time frame
Today I bumped into an article where a video advertisement made in Argentina is causing big tension between England and Argentina. Apparently that advertisement showed an Argentine hockey player practising in the Falkland Islands in front of british memorial and was apparently demeaning towards the soldiers who died in the eighties during the Falkland Island war. Another war of words has started between the two nations, with one demanding an explanation (which I am sure is meant as an apology) and the other questioning the very morality of the war that happened thirty years ago and hence why apologise for something and to someone who triggered a loss of innocent lives on a immoral war.
This led me to think whether any apology and hence a “closure” of an incident should officially have a time stamp defined against it. And this writing has nothing to do with Falkland war or the recent incident surrounding that war …. Needless to mention that this incident has been broadcasted by the news channel multiple times so that we do not forget for a second on this ….
When we do something wrong, we tend to apologise from the heart. Now again, the definition of “from the heart” is subjective and hence open to interpretation. But even if we assume for the time being that this was a sincere apology, does this make the two parties agree that the matter is closed and need not be referred again ever in the future ? In the film zindagi Na milegi dubara, there was this reference that one should keep on telling sorry till the other persons grief or pain gets dissolved from the heart. Well, that again looks like an open ended contract, with no definitive boundary limits assigned to the important parameter called ‘time’.
Again recently I read another article that the famous corporation of Ikea, now a common name to many homes, had exploited the political prisoners in East Germany to produce the popular furniture of sofa, tables, etc. Obviously, this had caused or will cause lot of bad name against the corporation. And that is because someone or some people in the company took immoral steps in ordering such transactions knowingly thirty or forty years ago.
While now a days, in the developed nations, there is much social awareness and attention towards fair trade campaigns (wherein it is campaigned that for any product being developed across the world, there is fairness in terms of money, working conditions across the entire supply chain), these concepts were not there even twenty years back. Hence the incidents of rampant exploitation remains. However, even in todays world, these exploitation are camouflaged under modern politics and greed.
But, coming back to the original topic, how long does an apology hold good ? I personally think that united nations should come back with a definition with clear figures and no shades of grey :-)
Otherwise there can be so many incidents when people can dig up events from the past and cause lot of tension amongst countries, societies and people. Just imagine if we Indians suddenly cut off our ties with UK because of the exploitations and killings the British had done in early 1900 … or say all countries verbally attack Germany for their hideous acts carried under Hitler ….. or say we all denounce USA for the first atom bomb attacks on Japan and isolate them today …….
We need to carry on with life and take that forward … and during that process we should punish the guilty and learn from our mistakes …. But we should not pull incidents that occurred well in the past and take life backward in todays world ….
Hence let me propose the apology timeline definition of 30 years and assume that once 30 years is over, we will not rake them up to spoil relationships … Though we can still pursue the guilty even after 30 years as in some countries, the legal system is super efficient to close cases which are more than 30 years … and no prizes for guessing the country names :-)
What do you guys say ? 30 years sounds reasonable ?