Would you apologize for things your country did to others in the past?

If the original wrong doers are by now either dead or very old (and sentenced) would you still apologize on their behalf?

For instance in the case with Japan, many from China and its neighboring countries say the country wasn't really expressed remorse for war crimes.

Why should its present prime minister or emperor even apologize when they aren't the bad people who did those crimes nor were even born back then?

By the same token, that would be like saying we should apologize for what happened to the Native Americans in our country.

  • Hells nope, I ain't apologizing... I did nothing wrong
    59% (141)73% (194)67% (335)Vote
  • Yes, I would still apologize to all the victims
    41% (97)27% (71)33% (168)Vote
And you are? I'm a GirlI'm a Guy

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Most Helpful Guy

  • Apologies are owed to the native Americans. No one ever was charged with any wrong doings for the genicide inflicted on them. How ever in the case where we bombed Japan no apology is owed as they brought it upon themselves when they attacked Pearl Harbor. It would have been more befitting had we hit the empriors area rather than only civilians

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    • Barrack Obama kinda apologized to Japan early this year for the Bombs

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    • @Heymonyo oh no I haven't forgot about it at all. The Japaneese and Korean military never give a pop corn fart about the Geneva Convention or desency in prisoner of war treatment

    • The Vietnamese were no better

Most Helpful Girl

  • Our current president went on an apology spree during his first term, and said America was sorry for its arrogance. Made him *abd us) seem spineless and weak.

    The same principle goes for people expecting "reparation" for things neither they nor we were alive for.

    Learn from mistakes, acknowledge them, grow from them, and move on.

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What Guys Said 72

  • I think there are two very different issues here that we shouldn't confuse:
    On the one hand, there are normal citizens, on the other hand, there are important politicians such as presidents or prime ministers etc.
    As a normal citizen, you shouldn't have to apologize for your country's past wrongdoings because you don't have anything to do with them. HOWEVER, you should have the ability to look at them critically and condemn them. For example my country Switzerland refused political asylum to many Jewish refugees during world war two, knowing full well that by refusing entry to them at the border, Switzerland was basically signing their death warrant (back in the 1950s and 1960s, Swiss politicians claimed that they didn't know anything about the systematic genocide in Nazi Germany during the war but Swiss historians were able to prove in the early 1990s that this was a complete lie. Our federal assembly (comparable to presidents in other countries) had known about the holocaust since 1941.
    As a normal citizen, I won't apologize for this because I don't have anything to do with it (it's not my personal wrongdoing). However, I will absolutely criticize my country for this and I don't hesitate to say that this was shameful and fucked-up.

    On the other hand, there are politicians. If you are the head of state, you're not just an average Joe. You REPRESENT your nation. Therefore, governments and head of states SHOULD apologize for their country's wrongdoings. Here it's not about personal fault, it's about representing the whole nation (including your predecessors in government) and apologizing on behalf of the whole country and its history. For example the Swiss federal assembly did eventually apologize to the global Jewish community for these past actions and it's a good thing they did that.

    Finally, in the case of Japan, I feel a little touchy because my girlfriend is Korean and as you might know, Korea was occupied and brutally enslaved by Japan for several decades (until the war ended). Japan committed some horrible war crimes in Korea. And yet, the Japanese government still refuses to apologize. However, what makes the whole issue much worse is that the Japanese government GLORIFIES its past. Refusing an apology is very disrespectful but glorifying your past is fucked up. Shinzo Abe visits war shrines every year. Imagine Angela Merkel kneeling down in front of a Hitler statue once a year and bragging about the glorious past. That's just... fucked up.

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    • In this last respect, I also have to give a HUGE compliment to Germany and German people. Outside of Europe (for example in the US), people love to make Nazi-related jokes about German people. In reality, however, Germany is the ONLY country in the world that truly worked up its dark history. There is no other country in the world that has done even remotely as much work to bring light on the past, deal with it critically, educated its young generations about it, make objective, critical and scientific documentaries about it etc. etc. When you talk to Italians or Japanese or Russian people, many of them have a completely crazy, brainwashed view on their country's past. In Italy, you can still buy post cards depicting Mussolini and nobody thinks that's wrong. In Russia, over 70% of people believe that Stalin was a good leader according to a recent poll. In Japan, people still glorify their most atrocious war criminals. Germany is the only country that owns up to its past mistakes.

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    • One man's villain is another's hero. Sure Stalin was a butcher and ruthless. Sometimes that's what is needed to hold a country together, especially during war time. Sometimes you don't get to give citizens complete personal freedom and keep your country too, unless you want to appear weak and end up assassinated or simply lose the next election (assuming there are elections) or end up bankrupting the country. Some could argue weak leaders in the late 1980's is what made the USSR fall apart in 1991.

    • @fuqthegovt Yes, that is probably true. However, ethically speaking, that doesn't make Stalin's actions legitimate. If Russians would argue the way you do but still acknowledge the wrongdoings of Stalin, that would be a completely different matter. That would be a critical view on history. What I find crazy is that these critical thinking skills are practically inexistent in Russia, except from a few persecuted intellectuals. Due to fierce nationalism (the same problem that Japan has), people romanticize the past and are either not capable or not willing to see and acknowledge the dark patches in their country's history.

  • Whether there is apologies or not, reparations or not, it had already HAPPENED, and it can't be changed or altered.

    "Lasting peace cannot simply be political. It has to be born out of trust and honesty and understanding and most importantly, a will on both sides to move forward."

    What I do believe is that both parties will have to give each other the second chance and have the will to move forward and not dwell on the past, otherwise it's back to where it was before with all the grudges and intolerance, with all the hatred, discrimination, prejudices and all the ill feelings that they always had towards other. What had already happened HAD HAPPENED and can NEVER be changed. Horrible things happened, many innocent lives were lost, but if both parties don't move forward and keep holding these grudges, discrimination, and the intolerance for each other then there won't be ANY real chance, and the Conflict continues, meaning those lives that had been lost will be for NOTHING, and potentially new conflicts will arise and erupt.

    I think honestly the problem is NEITHER the people, or the nation BUT THE VERY IDEOLOGIES AND PRINCIPLES that they follow.

    In the case with Japan it had to do with their own people that had followed the Imperialism by Militarism ideologies completely without question and blindly thinking that it really would be for their own country's greater good. But guess what? China wasn't the sole victim of their Ideologies, MANY other nations including the US were also victims because of those Ideologies that they had and because many of their own people had followed those ideologies blindly. And in the end where did it all end? In a more horrifying conclusion where Japan had lost a substantial amount of innocent lives themselves because of the two Atomic Bombs.

    So you can see that the real problem in the end really is the Ideologies that lead to horrible actions and that people should become aware of, and blame and hate the "wrong and corrupt and evil Ideologies" and lies spread by corrupt and evil leaders and NOT hate each other, or the other country.

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  • I met some wonderful Native Americans in College, and we had a weekend retreat, just all of their culture, like an 'emersion' thing.
    Their food, the Sweat Lodge Ritual, a causal walk, looking and understanding the animals as Spirit Guides, a Fire Walk, and Drumming.
    They asked all of us (mostly whites) to join in the drumming. Some did. I couldn't feeling bad for what 'Whites' did to them, even though my family didn't even come to America until the early 1900's.
    I thought that sitting, as a White person, KNOWING what whites had done, would 'taint' their melody.
    They laughed, and said that it isn't like that! It was some kind of union thing, and not hating the past, but living today, and for the future!
    Probably one of the most humbling, most enlightening weekends ever!!

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  • GREAT QUESTION!

    I says yes... in that I think a lot of societal wounds emotionally are retained and keep screwing countries and people. Black Amerians (some of them that haven't made it up the ladder are great examples. So appologizing is a way to mend relationships.

    That said though... this is tough because China and Japan are at odds over various things... some Islands as an example. Appologizing can look "weak". Those in power often do not respect another person who comes from a position of perceived weakeness (think Jesus, Ghandi, etc..)... ones that are passive and yet powerful subverively. They (and most people) respect real power that can be drawn from to control.

    So I doubt they do it, or are very careful about how they do. Japan was terrible to chinese in 1930's. I wonder if Chinese were terrible to Japan ever... I don't know the history. Japan, if I undresatnd right was actually populated by chinese:) The real question is why Japan did what they did... and that I don't fully understand.

    Apology without knowledge to avoid, is no different than apologizing to your spouse about cheating... but if you don't understand what you did, or why you did it, it is really empty because risk of repeating...

    As I think about most of such issues... they all come down to power... control... slavery in some fashion. Its a sad shame, but corrupt human nature to want to live better than we really deserve by controlling others.

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  • No. Germany doesn't need to apologize for WWII, neither does Japan. Everyone's done bad shit to everyone and what matters is here and now

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    • I agree too. It already happened and their unconditional surrender (after the US beat the heck out of them) was the apology.

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    • It's funny because many Japanese people are still waiting for an apology from the American people because of the atomic bombs. Points of view.

    • @dipta xD us? Apologize for the atomic bomb?

      It's not that Japan owes us or anything, but the Emperor of Japan was making things too costly for the Americans. This isn't a point of view, the atomic bomb was needed

  • Yes I think a country should acknowledge its mistakes internally and externally. Apologising doesn't make you any less a person.

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    • I agree! It takes nothing to have some sympathy, it's not like they're doing anything strenuous, just because you didn't do it yourself doesn't mean you aren't living out what your ancestors have done.

  • Well in theory you are responsible for an apology since you are representing the flag or the nationality of that country. But in practice who really gives a shit. No one should expect you to really have an apology unless the crimes were recent and serious enough to the point where you being a supporter of the state is basically being an advocate to the criminal acts. Hope it helped!

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  • there is a lot of that going on, especially with African Americans wanting reparations for something no one in this century had nothing to do with.
    and even though there was a bunch of ignorant people afterwords up till the 1960's i think but they finally what they deserved after so long. but there still insisting we make reparations for something that had nothing to do with this generation of people..

    not all but most people think they were or are owed some pay back , but as i have been saying about everything else thats living in the past, and no one has ever done anything by living and staying in the past. the future is more important than any world changing event that has happened in the past.

    im not over looking the tragic things that have happened since the 2000's have begun but no one seems to know how to move on because we still have the old ways of thinking, like mistrust , hate, ignorance, and other things that never make progress.

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  • No, people need to get over shit. What happened 3-5 generations ago isn't exactly my problem.

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  • I only apologise for the things I have done wrong, I'll never apologise for British colonialism or any other atrocities that were not carried out by me. I think it's very weak for a person to apologise on behalf of another person.

    What's happened in the past has happened, it shouldn't have happened, it're regrettable that it happened and we should all learn from those terrible mistakes but this PC bollocks is unnecessary and goes over the top.

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  • apologize and express his compassion for the the past crimes are two different things. I will always compassionate towards the victims of crimes committed in the past but I can never apologize for that. I wasn't there at that time.

    Love, peace, happiness, hugs and cuddles :-)

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  • You don't say if you're from the USA, but we have so any wars and massacres to apologize for, that defenders of our government will never apologize for anything to avoid criminal liability. That's why the poll results. The majority is self-righteous

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  • Not apologize is one thing, but refusing to even acknowledge how much of an asshole your ancestors have been in the past is quite another.

    Japan is an extreme example of this. Almost every South Eastern Asian today has a grandma that was raped (literally) by the Japanese Imperial Army, yet not only is the Japanese government refusing to even acknowledge that this happened, the Japanese prime minister goes on an annual pilgrimage to bow at the shrines of the war criminals who authorized the rapings.

    Contrast that with Germany, who, since the war, have actively done everything they can to acknowledge the horrors they took part in, and to prevent it from happening again.

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  • Does it CHANGE anything?

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  • We can acknowledge wrongdoing, but I feel no need to apologize, particularly for the Westward Expansion because it wasn't as a whole, wrong, to my way of thinking. What happened to the Cherokee was BS for example, yeah, and an example of executive overreach (Andrew Jackson going against the Supeme Court), but carving a nation out of the wilderness where nomads happen to live is A), perfectly moral and B) a common thread in the history of all civilizations, not some uniquely American original sin.

    I'm actually proud of American frontier heritage, sure as al get out ain't apologizing for it. But even if it were wrong, I wouldn't apologize because that's in the past and not of my doing. Just like modern day Germans have no culpability for the Holocaust, a Russian born today is not responsible for the efforts that made North Korea into a hellhole.

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  • No, there's nothing I should apologize for what Spain did.

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  • I only apologize for stuff I did wrong, not for what somebody else did.

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  • If it makes the victims feel better, then yes I would apologize. I'm a Japanese-American, so it wouldn't make sense for me to apologize. I think a better way to help the victims let go of the anger is for the victims or descendants of the victims who are angry, to talk with the descendants of the people that committed those war crimes. That way they know not all of those people are bad. I'm assuming that's how my grandma let go of her grudge against white people for interning her in the infamous internment camps. Things like this help people forgive. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hpWIfxI0uwU

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  • If I didn't do it I don't apologize for it. Even if my country does things today I don't feel responsible for a representatives actions. While I have voted every election since the 2000 election, I don't tend to vote for the assholes that get into powerful positions. I'm not a mupet that follows the two party system. I look at policy proposals from a practical perspective and vote for the best candidate based on facts. At the local and state level that tends to work out a lot better, but at the federal level it'sa complete crap shoot. So typically the figures the world interacts with I have voted against. If the run-a-muck somewhere in the world I did what was in my legal power to try to prevent it.

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  • I'm British and I don't expect Germans to apologise for ether of the 2 wars with us and other contrary's, I don't expect japan to apologise for war crimes there ancestors did against some of our troupes going further back I don't expect the Italians then Romans to apologise for taking British slaves and I don't expect to apologise for now dead generations invading other contrary's or participating in slaver I expect the uk or any other country to apologise for things the ones of us who are still living did and for the attention to be on the generation who did it.

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  • As a British person this question triggers me.

    Just kidding, I think it's important that you know what your country did was bad, but I don't think you need to go out of your way to apologise to loads of people for something you personally didn't do. I don't represent the entirety of my country or it's actions ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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  • Unfortunately people can't control where they are born and by extension their country of citizenship (unless they give up said citizenship). So unless they are leaders or generals of said country how are they personally responsible? Not responsible = no apology owed. This would be like Japan demanding an apology from the USA for nuking them twice, even though after 70+ years the original victims (most of them civilians) as well as the ones that made the decisions to do that are all now dead or soon will be. Now in the unlikely event I found myself a tourist in Tokyo and some 80yo Japanese fruitcake ran up to me and demanded an apology for Nagasaki and Hiroshima because his parents died when he was 10 in one of those cities I'd probably go ahead give him one just to be nice, even though in that context it wouldn't mean shit.

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  • Lol I'm not going to apologize for the failures of others especially when I had nothing to do with them in any regard.

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  • if i was Representing Britain, to every country in the world, i would apologize for everything our empire did, everything we've ever done, it's appalling some of the things we've allowed in the past in the name of the monarchy, and to anyone who still holds resentment to the British, i sincerely apologize on behalf of my country

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  • Anyone who thinks that makes sense is a bit thick. I don't hate the frogs because they killed one of my ancestors in 1066 do I?
    I hate them for their language, their food, their underarm hair, and the fact that they are French.

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  • An apology is little effort for great effect. Only pride prevents apologies for wrongs perceived or real.

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  • I will never apologize for something I wasn't directly responsible for. I am my own person so I'm not responsible for anyone else's actions

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  • brb apologizing to black people

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  • i think native americans are getting less credit than they deserve. america used to be their " world".
    and now they are a minority population, sometimes not even mentioned.
    well you dont have to apologize to them pwrsonally, but if there's a native population living in poverty/ bad conditions, the govt should at lwast do something for them.

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  • So I should apologise for the actions of my long dead English, and German ancestors? But what about my Irish ancestors? Weren't they treated like shit by my English, and German ancestors? Do you see where the problem in your theory lies? Are Mulattoes supposed to apologise to themselves for slavery?

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What Girls Said 35

  • I think it is important to apologize for what happened in the past. The thing is, even though the people involved might be dead, what happened still took place. You can't erase the past (though many may try). I think the important thing when something bad happens is to acknowledge that it happened. That is the first thing.

    Think of all the scandals that happened when someone refused to acknowledge something even happened? It just made it even worse and made the person in denial look more terrible. It's far better to be accountable for actions, even though they may not be the person who did them. The thing is, the leader of the country is the face of the country. So even though they were not the leader at the time, it's meaningful to hear that apology and acknowledgement of what happened.

    I would much rather be a part of a nation who can take responsibility for what has happened, acknowledge it and try to do better moving forward than a part of one who just denies things happened and tells people to get over it.

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  • America is a little bit complicated because we have so many different groups of people unlike other countries where they have one people with similar ancestries.

    For Americans, the group of people that wronged another most likely also wrong my people whom are still struggling to find their footing and I'm not taking responsibility for none of that shit their ancestors did and that their descendants are currently benefiting from.

    Apologizing is a respectful and noble thing to do and the start of healing for blood being spilled unnecessarily. Leaving open wounds unsettled just fester and erode with time. They do not get better unless treated. It doesn't erase what was done and it doesn't instantly bring change, but it opens discussion on how to improve relations and bring peace between opponents.

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  • No, only the people responsible or a part of what happened should apologise, otherwise the apology means nothing. Otherwise it's like having my friend's grand daughter apologise for let's say my murder. She has nothing to do with it so why is she apologising, even though I maybe know her and we are somehow connected through friends doesn't mean she has any need to apologise for what I did at all.

    For the things that went on during the world war for instance, saying Germany should apologise to Jews or America should apologise to Japan, it's ridiculous, only those leaders and people that actually took part in what went on can apologise. And either way no country at all was innocent that was involved in the world wars. They were all pretty darn bad but a lot is still swept under the rug.

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  • Pahaha I vote this poll hilarious!

    I voted no I'm not apologising, but I broached on here once not apologising for black slavery seeing as I personally wasn't a part of it and I was hated for it.

    What a bunch of hypocritical bastards hahahahaha. Standard GAG.

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  • This question interests me. Let me explain. I live in Turkey and some people say, before Turkey was founded, Ottoman Empire commited genocide against the Armanians.

    Well, I do not know if it is true or not. But do I have to feel guilty for this? No, it's not me, it's not even my country. So I say 'A'. I did nothing wrong.

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  • Because sometimes, your country fucked up and needs to ask for forgiveness.

    For example, Canadian residential schools and the abuse, neglect and *eugenics* experiments that were conducted there. That needed to be apologized for.

    Canada also needed to (and still does need to) apologize for its racist head tax policies against Chinese immigrants. My grandfather was abused and starved by his adopted mother because his birth father was not allowed to have custody of him (his birth mother wanted to keep him, but her husband couldn't stand to have "that damn Chink" in the house).

    So yeah, countries should apologize for their misconduct. If they can offer reparations, even better.

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  • I think the country should make an official apology for atrocious acts committed under the flag, if it's never been done. However, we can't go apologizing every day for things our ancestors did.

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  • Can't since my country has always been on the oppressed end of every war...
    And we've helped and fought for many fair countries since then...

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  • There is a difference between a country expressing remorse and individuals apologizing.

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  • I feel sorry for the victims but if I had known an ancestor of mine had killed people or raped I would apologise.
    My great granddad fought in WWII and flew over Germany with bombs which he dropped on them... I feel sorry for the families but I don't think I can ever pinpoint who my Granddad willingly killed.

    It's like the descendants of Nazi's who killed my great uncles and aunts coming to apologize, there's no way to find out who killed who.

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  • This is like the backlash I got on my Take about reasons why you should move to Australia.
    People labelled us all racists because of the atrocities that have been committed against the indigenous people, which is really unfair for obvious reasons.
    I wasn't apart of it, and I think what happened was awful, but I'd still apologize in recognition.

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  • My country (of origin) didn't do anything wrong to anyone lol

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  • Well im British of African descent. I guess if I were to think about it my ancestors warred and killed each other in tribal wars, its only now that the African continent is starting to see some peace. Well at least in parts.

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  • My country hasn't done shit I think

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  • Nope cause my country has done nothing bad to other countries. The only thing that can be considered so is that Stalin was Georgian and he did many awful things.
    And I am not gonna apologize cause he was not that good for Georgia.

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  • Although I personally didn't have anything to do with the past, I would still apologize just because I'm so empathetic like that. Esp. if what was done is still having impact to this day

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  • They're probably feeling remorse because they're ashamed it happened.
    Especially if the discrimination is still there.

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  • No we're not the same people

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  • Yes I apologise on behalf of my race to others for their unruly behaviour

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  • No because it could make things worse.

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  • People don't have to apologize for what people did in the past.

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    • This. It doesn't make sense that our generation should be remorsed and responsible for past generations.

  • If I didn't do anything to anyone... I'm not apologizing for it.

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  • Yes, mostly the Hiroshima victims. I'm speechless everytime I think of the travesty.

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    • That was after being attacked at pearl harbor, them experimenting on chinese, Americans and Russians in Unit 731(similar to nazi experiments). How you can think they were the victims is beyond me

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    • @melme16 Yea let me adjust my statement, I don't mind you saying it I just dont like hearing that America was wrong and Japan was the victim when they were the aggressors.

      Its very sad it ended that way but at the same time it was the only way theyd surrender for sure, otherwise a land invasion of Japan would have cost many more lives on both sides.

      In my history class a lot of the kids seemed to think America was wrong and Japan was innocent thats why i have a problem when people say it that way

    • @HonestWhiteGuy yeah, thanks for clarifying :)

      In general, I dislike war. I'm more of the "we should all sit around and sing Kumbaya" lol

      But some people see war as a must.

  • Nope

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  • I have nothing to apologize for

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  • No, I would tell those waiting for my country to apologise, to fuck off.

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  • No, I will not apologize cause I didn't do anything. However, I will sympathize for those that didn't deserve.

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  • Yes I would apologize.

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  • No my name isn't Obama.

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  • If neither the country nor its people apologized then foreigners might as well think something bad of it.

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