Sorry About That

Two stories of apology caught my eye. The first one is from New Guinea.
The descendants of cannibals who killed and ate four Fijian missionaries in 1878 have apologised for their forefathers' actions, the Australian Associated Press reported Thursday.

Fiji's High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, Ratu Isoa Tikoca, accepted the apologies at a reconciliation ceremony attended by thousands of people near Rabaul in East New Britain province on Wednesday.

"We at this juncture are deeply touched and wish you the greatest joy of forgiveness as we finally end this record disagreement," Tikoca said.

PNG's Governor-General Paulias Matane told the crowd he appreciated the work of the early Fijian missionaries in spreading Christianity, AAP said.

The ceremony marked 132 years since Methodist ministers and teachers from Fiji arrived in the New Guinea islands region in 1875 headed by Englishman George Brown.

In April 1878, a Fijian minister and three teachers were killed and eaten by Tolai tribespeople on the Gazelle Peninsula.

Brown directed and took part in a punitive expedition that resulted in a number of Tolais being killed and several villages burnt down.

His actions caused a storm of protest in the Methodist Church in Australia and elsewhere. Official investigations by British colonial authorities in the Pacific cleared him of criminal charges.
Then the Danes are sorry about the Vikings trashing Ireland.
More than 1,200 years ago hordes of bloodthirsty Viking raiders descended on Ireland, pillaging monasteries and massacring the inhabitants. Yesterday, one of their more mild-mannered descendants stepped ashore to apologise.

The Danish culture minister, Brian Mikkelson, who was in Dublin to participate in celebrations marking the arrival of a replica Norse longboat, apologised for the invasion and destruction inflicted. "In Denmark we are certainly proud of this ship, but we are not proud of the damages to the people of Ireland that followed in the footsteps of the Vikings," Mr Mikkelson declared in his welcoming speech delivered on the dockside at the river Liffey. "But the warmth and friendliness with which you greet us today and the Viking ship show us that, luckily, it has all been forgiven."
It tells you something about a country or culture that can recognize their mistakes and make amends. I realize that it's a little late for the Danes -- it's been over a thousand years since the Vikings came ashore -- but it's the thought that counts. The same goes for the New Guineans making mincemeat out of the Methodists. (If they had been Catholics, the line would have been, "Hey, you want friars with that?")

It also makes you wonder how long it will take us to apologize to the Iraqis for trashing their country for no other good reason than that we thought we could, we wanted their oil, and that we could use them to spread democracy, Christianity, and white bread to the Middle East. Wrong on all counts.

It takes maturity and humility recognize when you're wrong and make amends. So my guess is that it will take us about as long as it took the Danes to say it.

Cross-posted from Bark Bark Woof Woof.

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