Should Britain Be Apologetic For It's Imperial Past?

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thehistorybore
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Well should it?

It can be held in no doubt that Britain committed terrible offences towards its colonies (economic drainage, exploitation etc), but should modern Brits be apologetic for it, or does it belong in the past?

Rakas21 I feel like this is one for you. Airmed may also like this!
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sunnydespair
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Should Germans be apologetic for WW2 ? I am my own person, I don't think my ancestry has influenced me in any way.
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MoshBosh
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yes
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MouseyBrown
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(Original post by thehistorybore)
Well should it?

It can be held in no doubt that Britain committed terrible offences towards its colonies (economic drainage, exploitation etc), but should modern Brits be apologetic for it, or does it belong in the past?

Rakas21 I feel like this is one for you. Airmed may also like this!
I think it depends on what you mean by 'apologetic'.

Do you feel the need to personally apologise to certain Africans, because the UK once colonised their countries? I don't. It was done by a different regime, with the 'consent' of different citizens, in a different time.

But I definitely feel that I should be sensitive to what my country has done in the past, and be aware of other people's sensitivities to it.

I just think that accepting some sort of responsibility for the past, which you implicitly do by apologosing, is a pretty problematic road to go down.
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ckfeister
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(Original post by thehistorybore)
Well should it?

It can be held in no doubt that Britain committed terrible offences towards its colonies (economic drainage, exploitation etc), but should modern Brits be apologetic for it, or does it belong in the past?

Rakas21 I feel like this is one for you. Airmed may also like this!
No we shouldn't. Everyone was as bad as each other.
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draculaura
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Even though there are many that say we should, I say: no way. I think people don't realise Britain isn't the only country that's had an large empire. Hell, Britain itself was once under the Roman Empire, and so was the rest of Europe and the Mediterranean. Should Rome apologise too? In fact, so has Egypt, Turkey, France, Russia, Japan... I could go on. All have been vastly large and all were created with violence. I think Britain's Empire is always focused on more as it spanned for a very long while and took many countries, no continent was spared (and that it's the focus for many media films, television etc.)

And also the fact, who would we apologise to? We didn't do anything, it was our ancestors. And the ancestors of the countries we took didn't feel any sort of pain. They were created a long time after everything had finished.
A 'World History' timeline - you can see all the many empires:
Image
There's a lot of apologising to be done
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Siberiaan
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I don't see the point in apologising for something their ancestors did hundreds of years ago. I guess acknowledging that the acts committed during imperial Britain were wrong is fine
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thehistorybore
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(Original post by TSR Mustafa)
I don't see the point in apologising for something their ancestors did hundreds of years ago. I guess acknowledging that the acts committed during imperial Britain were wrong is fine

It's not necessarily hundreds of years ago; we're little over a century further in time from when we invented concentration camps; we're just over 60 years gone since we tried to establish Egypt as a colony, and we're still responsible for the channeling of wealth to the West through the neo-imperial organisation that is the IMF.

(Original post by draculaura)
Even though there are many that say we should, I say: no way. I think people don't realise Britain isn't the only country that's had an large empire. Hell, Britain itself was once under the Roman Empire, and so was the rest of Europe and the Mediterranean. Should Rome apologise too? In fact, so has Egypt, Turkey, France, Russia, Japan... I could go on. All have been vastly large and all were created with violence. I think Britain's Empire is always focused on more as it spanned for a very long while and took many countries, no continent was spared (and that it's the focus for many media films, television etc.)

And also the fact, who would we apologise to? We didn't do anything, it was our ancestors. And the ancestors of the countries we took didn't feel any sort of pain. They were created a long time after everything had finished.
A 'World History' timeline - you can see all the many empires:
Image
There's a lot of apologising to be done
I just want to say that the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman But should all of these empires be apologetic/feel remorseful for their imperial past?
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MagicNMedicine
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Well its like expecting Muslims in Britain to apologise for Islamic terrorism.

They will say

"its not ALL Muslims who are terrorists"
"WE didn't carry out these attacks so why blame us"
"those terrorists aren't true Muslims"
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draculaura
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(Original post by thehistorybore)
I just want to say that the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman But should all of these empires be apologetic/feel remorseful for their imperial past?
Haha, agreed. It was hardly 'holy' at all. And I don't really think so, because why should almost every country apologise and feel guilty for something they didn't commit? Since communication and travel is so much more advanced, we have a much less narrower look on life and realise this is bad - hence why it doesn't go on now. Why blame ourselves for something that was completely out of our reach or doing?
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zKlown
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Aware of it, yes

Apologetic, no

We can not be held accountable for the actions of those before us. However we must be aware of the past atrocities our country has committed when we condemn other nations.
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ammmauk
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no but ask your queen to return what she stole from india and other countries
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mechanicsonejune
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No to either. We should be proud of our heritage.
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thehistorybore
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(Original post by draculaura)
Haha, agreed. It was hardly 'holy' at all. And I don't really think so, because why should almost every country apologise and feel guilty for something they didn't commit? Since communication and travel is so much more advanced, we have a much less narrower look on life and realise this is bad - hence why it doesn't go on now. Why blame ourselves for something that was completely out of our reach or doing?
You would like the work of AP Thompson on this matter, he was insistent that we should keep some distance between ourselves and our imperial past.
(Original post by mechanicsonejune)
No to either. We should be proud of our heritage.
But is it our heritage to have?
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A Serious Man
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(Original post by MagicNMedicine)
Well its like expecting Muslims in Britain to apologise for Islamic terrorism.

They will say

"its not ALL Muslims who are terrorists"
"WE didn't carry out these attacks so why blame us"
"those terrorists aren't true Muslims"


They are comparable issues, but in history classes and books Britain and Britain's history is criticised, on the other hand, every time there is a terror attack, there are always fears of a non-existent backlash before the blood of the victims has even dried.
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BobbyFlay
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(Original post by ammmauk)
no but ask your queen to return what she stole from india and other countries
She stole nothing... Did you even read the article?
"The diamond was given to Queen Victoria by the last ruler of the Sikhs, Duleep Singh, after the British annexe of the Punjab"
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Chrissy.98
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You could say that the countries previously colonised by Britain being in the Commonwealth, receiving aid due to underdevelopment, partly caused by imperialism, could be a way of apologising. I believe that we should be doing this as our duty.

But I agree with the people here who say that we shouldn't all be to blame for our ancestor's actions.
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ammmauk
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(Original post by BobbyFlay)
She stole nothing... Did you even read the article?
"The diamond was given to Queen Victoria by the last ruler of the Sikhs, Duleep Singh, after the British annexe of the Punjab"
your queen is a thief, thief, thieff :p: :p:
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mechanicsonejune
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(Original post by thehistorybore)
You would like the work of AP Thompson on this matter, he was insistent that we should keep some distance between ourselves and our imperial past.


But is it our heritage to have?
Yes, we are British like those before us. The Empire is something to be looked up to - we did so much good for so many nations, bringing them forwards by building universities, parks etc. We could have united everyone under one banner.
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Plagioclase
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I don't think that individuals alive today who had no role to play in atrocities committed in the past should be held responsible for them. On the other hand, as socially responsible people living in an economically developed country, we should still be willing to help out fellow humans living in less developed countries.
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