“The Politics of Self-Absolution”

I thought this section of del Boca’s article was really interesting, because I think a lot of countries with histories that are often somewhat shameful fall into this same trap. Italy made a symbolic gesture to “absolve” the sins of colonialism, but still fails to own up to the grave moral wrongs committed.

Honestly, though, I think all countries do this. For instance, almost every other year in elementary school, middle school, and high school, we were required to take American history. However, we always started at the very beginning with the Native Americans and the explorers and the pioneers, and we would never make it past the Civil War. While the way we treated Native Americans was truly awful, it’s hardly talked about. And then all of the more recent horrible stuff is omitted because we don’t get to it. But I have a theory that they do that on purpose, so that we’re never really exposed to things like Japanese internment camps, because the U.S. doesn’t want to own up to that still. It’s still rarely ever discussed, similarly to what del Boca was saying about colonialism in Italy.

Overall, while I agree with del Boca’s point, I honestly think it may be a little too idealistic when you consider the context of how countries strive to preserve national pride and image.

2 thoughts on ““The Politics of Self-Absolution”

  1. I completely agree, though I agree with the governments to a certain degree. It is important to own up to the horrible things that have been done in the past, but if that means that national security, national pride and the population’s faith in the government are sacrificed than I am not sure that it is worth it. Honesty is the best policy, but causing major social upheaval isn’t a good idea. If it is brought to the forefront of a government’s policy, then address it, apologize and say, “We aren’t trying to hide it, but it wasn’t in the government’s best interest to turn its focus to past events which it cannot change and sacrifice the country’s stability.”

  2. I am also supporting your stance, as not just by your given example, but due to various historic events I have been stdueid and examined, I observed that there is a tendency in omission facts or certain happenings, that do now show the given nation in the most positive light! That is why the case with the Indians is not so widely discussed, even though, the ferocity that these people have been undergoing from the colonists is something that can stir everyone!Thanks for making these important points!

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