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Thread: The age of apologies

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    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Default The age of apologies

    An Age yet to come, an Age long past:

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/germany...55028?mod=e2fb

    Germany Confronts the Forgotten Story of its Other Genocide

    A war in Namibia, considered the first mass ethnic killing of the 20th Century, is today at the center of negotiations over an apology and compensation

    SHARK ISLAND, Namibia—Just over a century ago, Germany built one of its first concentration camps on a narrow peninsula jutting into the Atlantic.

    A 1904 uprising in what was then called German South-West Africa turned into a war of annihilation against the Herero and Nama peoples. At least 60,000 are believed to have died, including some 2,000 in the Shark Island camp, where inmates were starved, beaten and worked to death.

    That episode of colonial brutality, considered by many historians to be the first genocide of the 20th century, is now testing the limits of historical apologies.

    Namibia says it wants Germany to officially recognize that its actions constituted genocide, to issue a formal apology and to pay reparations. Berlin says it is willing to meet the first two demands and to pay some form of compensation. The two countries have been negotiating for more than a year.

    Other governments have expressed regret or sorrow for past atrocities. What makes the current situation novel is that most have stopped short of any official apology, and financial payments have been rare.

    The talks “are being watched very closely by other countries,” says Germany’s ambassador to Namibia, Christian Schlaga.

    Debate has surged in recent years about whether and how nations should take responsibility and make amends for horrors inflicted generations ago.

    Belgium apologized for its role in the 1961 assassination of Congo’s first post-independence prime minister, Patrice Lumumba, but not for its colonial abuses in that country. In 2006, then-U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed “deep sorrow” for Britain’s role in the slave trade, but didn’t apologize.

    Former French President François Hollande recognized the suffering of Algerians under France’s “brutal and unfair” colonial rule, but again there was no official apology. Last year, U.S. President Barack Obama paid homage to the victims of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, but didn’t apologize.

    Japan has come the closest to what Germany is trying to do now. In 2015, it settled a long-running dispute with South Korea by agreeing to pay about $9 million in support funds for surviving Korean “comfort women” used as sex slaves by the Japanese military in the 1930s and 1940s. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe extended an apology.

    The question has exquisite historical resonance for Germany in particular. Countless museums and memorials throughout the country act as reminders of Germany’s genocidal slaughter during World War II. Because most Germans accept their history has dark chapters, and are proud of how they have been handled, they might find it easier to face colonial atrocities than citizens of other European powers, says Jürgen Zimmerer, professor of global history at the University of Hamburg and president of the International Network of Genocide Scholars.

    Following World War II, Germany acknowledged its responsibility for the Holocaust and agreed to pay damages to survivors, but not to the families of those who were killed.

    A successful conclusion to the negotiations between Germany and Namibia “would be a signal, and an invitation, to other former colonial powers to deal with their past,” says Medardus Brehl, a historian at the Institute for Diaspora and Genocide Studies at the ​Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany.

    At the same time, ​a growing number of Germans are beginning to bristle at constantly carrying their historical guilt. Right-wing parties have recently called for the country to move beyond its past and develop a new sense of patriotism.

    Complicating the talks are a multitude of constituencies with their own agendas. In addition to the two governments, there are tribal chiefs angry about being excluded from the talks, German-Namibians nervous about their standing in modern-day Namibia and citizens in both countries who want to leave the past in the past.R

    David Frederick is an 84-year-old local Nama chief who lives in Bethanie, a small desert town three hours by car from Shark Island. In a recent interview, he said German negotiators should visit his home so they could hear about the genocide from members of his family and the community

    “They must hear it straight from someone who was affected,” said Mr. Frederick. “The Nama people, from generation to generation, told the story, and that is the story they need to hear.”

    About a year and a half into the talks between the two governments, the chief said he and his people feel sidelined.

    In January, Mr. Frederick joined a class-action lawsuit against Germany filed on behalf of the Herero and Nama peoples in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. (The Alien Tort Claims Act allows foreigners to seek remedies in U.S. courts for human-rights violations outside of the U.S.) They are seeking unspecified reparations, arguing their exclusion from the negotiations between the two governments “is yet another ‘taking’ or attempt to strip [them] of their property rights.”

    German officials declined to comment on the suit, and the Namibian government says it is committed to the negotiations with Germany. A previous attempt by members of the Herero community to seek reparations from Germany in a U.S. court failed.

    Germany’s effort to put down the Herero and Nama uprisings, sparked by expropriation of land and cattle, was waged by soldiers using artillery and machine guns against the rifles, clubs and knives of tribal warriors. Within five years, an estimated 80% of the Herero and 50% of the Nama, herdsmen who populated much of central and southern Namibia, were dead or had fled the country.


    A disastrous Herero defeat at the Waterberg, a mountainous plateau on the edge of the Kalahari, pushed tens of thousands of men, women and children deep into the desert. On Oct. 4, 1904, German Gen. Lothar von Trotha declared: “The people of the Herero have to leave the country…Within German borders, every Herero, with or without a rifle, with or without cattle, will be shot.” Six months later, a similar order was issued for the Nama.

    Those who survived and didn’t escape into modern-day Botswana were herded into concentration camps, of which Shark Island, off the colonial town of Lüderitz, was the most notorious.

    In letters and newspaper articles, visitors to the camp told of guards taking random shots at undernourished inmates and beating them with leather whips. Photos show makeshift tents and huts, and men, women and children in ragtag clothing that barely shielded them from the scorching daytime sun and cold nighttime winds.

    Living on uncooked rice and flour, prisoners were forced to drag rocks across the island to help in the construction of Lüderitz. They were flogged when they fell. Women had to carry the corpses of their fellow inmates, often family members, and to dig their graves.

    “The authorities used [the camp] to get rid of a troublesome and, in their eyes, not-fit-for-labor population,” says Casper Erichsen, who chronicled the genocide in his 2010 book, “The Kaiser’s Holocaust.”

    Mr. Frederick’s great-uncle, a legendary Nama fighter named Cornelius Fredericks who helped lead the rebellion against the Germans, died in the Shark Island camp in 1907. His head was sliced off and, along with hundreds of others, shipped to Germany for research meant to attest to white superiority.

    There is no exact count of the people who perished on Shark Island. One contemporary estimate listed in Mr. Erichsen’s book puts the number of Nama dead at 1,900—a toll that doesn’t include Herero prisoners.

    Today, the peninsula is home to a government-run campsite. A marble block in the shape of a tombstone is all that marks the suffering. Erected by Mr. Frederick’s community in Bethanie, it commemorates their late chief and 330 other Bethanie Nama who died with him. Opposite it is a larger memorial to German soldiers, settlers and nurses who died during the war, many due to illness.

    Jochen Vosseberg, a German tourist cooking out there one recent evening with his wife and children, said he was unaware of the bloody history of the site. He expressed skepticism about the talks his government is holding with Namibia. “Not a single person from back then is still alive,” he said. “Why should the new generations now pay for the mistakes of past generations?”

    Germany has acknowledged that its war against the Herero and Nama constituted genocide, but rejects legal responsibility, arguing that at the time there was nothing in international law that banned such killing.

    “The German government uses this term [of genocide] in a historical-political sense, not in a legal sense,” says Mr. Schlaga, the ambassador.

    In the current negotiations, that means Germany is opposed to any payments to descendants that are classified as reparations, which it says is a legal term that implies liability.

    German officials have been vague on what they are willing to offer instead, saying compensation will be determined by the talks. Ruprecht Polenz, Germany’s chief negotiator, has mentioned the possibility of a trust that could help commemorate the genocide in both countries, as well as funds to support education and purchases of land from German-Namibian farmers to return to the Herero and Nama.

    Many of the 20,000 or so Namibians of German descent weren’t happy with Berlin’s recognition of the genocide. “There are still some that say that wasn’t genocide but just a regular war,” says Anton von Wietersheim, a former agriculture minister whose grandfather arrived in Namibia to help fight the Herero uprising in 1904.

    Mr. von Wietersheim says an apology and compensation from Berlin could ease demands that German speakers, one of the richest groups in Namibia, surrender some of their land. “When you look at it from this perspective, then all German-Namibians should have an interest in seeing this process concluded successfully,” he says.

    The U.K. faced ​the question of how to deal with its colonial legacy when it was sued by survivors of its bloody suppression of the 1950s Mau Mau uprising that preceded Kenya’s independence from the British Empire.

    In 2013, the U.K. settled the case by agreeing to pay £19.9 million ($25.6 million) in compensation to more than 5,000 survivors. Then-Foreign Secretary William Hague expressed regret for abuses by British soldiers, including torture, but said today’s government wasn’t responsible for the actions of the colonial administration. The British government is contesting a follow-up lawsuit by more than 40,000 other Mau Mau survivors.

    The U.K. also has rebuffed demands from India for an apology and reparations for acts committed during British colonial rule.

    A government spokeswoman said the U.K. was following the discussions between Germany and Namibia.

    During this year’s French election, now-President Emmanuel Macron backed away from a campaign comment that his country’s unsuccessful campaign to crush Algeria’s independence struggle, in which some 1.5 million Algerians died, had been a “crime against humanity.” Under pressure from far-right opponents, he apologized to French nationals forced out of Algeria after independence, while insisting that both countries had to face their common past.

    Before Germany began negotiations with Namibia, it was accused of hypocrisy for pressuring Turkey to recognize the 1915-16 Armenian genocide that claimed more than a million lives. For now it hasn’t acceded to demands from lawmakers in Tanzania, a former German colony, for talks about the killing there by German soldiers of at least 75,000 around the same time as the Namibian genocide.

    “We are seeing this as a special case and a unique case, and because of that we are negotiating with Namibia and with no one else,” says Mr. Schlaga.

    Germany got out of Namibia after surrendering to British and South African forces during World War I. It became a British protectorate, then was administered by apartheid South Africa. It achieved independence in 1990.

    Nearly destroyed by the genocide and bereft of their land, the Herero and Nama peoples play a limited role in modern Namibian politics, which has been dominated by the South West Africa People’s Organization, or Swapo.

    Zed Ngavirue, a Herero who is Namibia’s chief negotiator with Germany, says the Namibian government has invited community leaders to join the talks—an offer several accepted. It will be up to the government, he says, to reach a deal with the Germans and oversee distribution of compensation. That will enable Namibia to ensure any agreement is properly implemented and that projects can be integrated into the Namibian national budget once German funding runs out.

    “You cannot have an agreement between the federal government of the Republic of Germany and the Herero community,” he says. “An agreement is signed between states.”

    In May, Namibian President Hage Geingob promised to open his negotiating team to more members of the Herero and Nama peoples.

    Dr. Ngavirue concedes divisions within Namibia have complicated the talks. “We have got to sort ourselves out,” he says.

    Mr. Frederick, the Nama chief, says the need for reparations is urgent. The 2,000 inhabitants of Bethanie struggle with poverty, unemployment and alcoholism. Over the past century, they have lost the knowledge of how to raise livestock in the arid climate, he says.

    Meanwhile, Mr. Frederick is chronicling the genocide by recording the stories of his community. “I want to make sure everyone knows,” he says.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    An Age yet to come, an Age long past:

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/germany...55028?mod=e2fb
    Wouldn't it be nice if humanity wouldn't try to un-forget every wrongdoing of our ancestors? This kind of 'we must rememberism' is of the kind that makes Serbians believe they have a birth right to Kosovo. For no other reason than that a bunch of Serbians a couple of centuries ago lost a battle there.

    Reason why I reacted; some time in the past I studied history and I still feel almost personally offended if it's used for yet another monetary claim.
    Greece shows us that there is a kind of politician worse than the ones that break their election promises; the ones that keep their election promises.

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    Local talking head LittleFuzzy's Avatar
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    I'm ok with claims owed to still-living direct victims. But not beyond that. It doesn't really matter if your life is shittier than you imagine it might have been, you are not owed damages for being brought into this world where you were.
    Last night as I lay in bed, looking up at the stars, I thought, “Where the hell is my ceiling?"

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    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    People die after a few decades, but countries/societies can persist for far longer. Can a society or country have a legitimate claim to compensation for being subjected to severe injustices in the past?
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    People die after a few decades, but countries/societies can persist for far longer. Can a society or country have a legitimate claim to compensation for being subjected to severe injustices in the past?
    No. Once you accept victimhood as something that can be inherited there is no limit to the claims. Societies do not exist for the single task of settling old scores.
    Greece shows us that there is a kind of politician worse than the ones that break their election promises; the ones that keep their election promises.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleFuzzy View Post
    I'm ok with claims owed to still-living direct victims. But not beyond that. It doesn't really matter if your life is shittier than you imagine it might have been, you are not owed damages for being brought into this world where you were.
    This. We don't need to hide from the past but things our forefathers did we have no culpability for.

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    Local talking head LittleFuzzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewkowski View Post
    This. We don't need to hide from the past but things our forefathers did we have no culpability for.
    Now that's not at all the same claim. It's possible it might be true but I can imagine plenty of circumstances where that position is irrelevant. The point I made a claim about was the people who the country might owe redress TOO, not whether it possessed culpability. I make this distinction because you are not the state. I can imagine, for instance, a scenario where I'd be entirely ok with the US government handing over federal lands to a Native American tribe who demonstrated it was claimed unlawfully, even if the claim was from 140 years ago. It would not be ok to make an eminent domain claim against your home in order to hand the land it sits on back to a tribe who made such a claim however, nor would it be ok to hand federal land over to individual descendants of those long-dead Native Americans. State to state action is one area where Aimless' conjecture does have weight, albeit only in limited ways.
    Last night as I lay in bed, looking up at the stars, I thought, “Where the hell is my ceiling?"

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    All Worship Ragnarök Loki's Avatar
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    Not a fan of those living in the (distant) past, but they're still preferable to those who use nationalism as an excuse to erase any wrongdoing from their nation's history.
    Hope is the denial of reality

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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleFuzzy View Post
    Now that's not at all the same claim. It's possible it might be true but I can imagine plenty of circumstances where that position is irrelevant. The point I made a claim about was the people who the country might owe redress TOO, not whether it possessed culpability. I make this distinction because you are not the state. I can imagine, for instance, a scenario where I'd be entirely ok with the US government handing over federal lands to a Native American tribe who demonstrated it was claimed unlawfully, even if the claim was from 140 years ago. It would not be ok to make an eminent domain claim against your home in order to hand the land it sits on back to a tribe who made such a claim however, nor would it be ok to hand federal land over to individual descendants of those long-dead Native Americans. State to state action is one area where Aimless' conjecture does have weight, albeit only in limited ways.
    Sympathetic but not entirely honest; why would a native American who was disowned of his birthright by way of his ancestors 140 years ago have better protection than the native American whose losses contain parts of the continent that nowadays are in the middle of Manhattan?

    I know Manhattan was 'bought', but I doubt that even under Common Law an agreement in which one of the parties basically doesn't know what he was doing will be upheld by the court.
    Greece shows us that there is a kind of politician worse than the ones that break their election promises; the ones that keep their election promises.

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    Local talking head LittleFuzzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hazir View Post
    Sympathetic but not entirely honest; why would a native American who was disowned of his birthright by way of his ancestors 140 years ago have better protection than the native American whose losses contain parts of the continent that nowadays are in the middle of Manhattan?
    Because I wasn't just talking about sovereignty, but who is harmed by redress. The vast bulk of the federal land in the US? It's in the west and is not occupied, under lease to someone, etc. It is unused except for various individuals taking advantage of free or overlooked commons. It does not negatively impact US citizens in any real way to hand it back over, they are not being harmed in turn, which would not be defensible since those directly involved are long-dead.
    Last night as I lay in bed, looking up at the stars, I thought, “Where the hell is my ceiling?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleFuzzy View Post
    Because I wasn't just talking about sovereignty, but who is harmed by redress. The vast bulk of the federal land in the US? It's in the west and is not occupied, under lease to someone, etc. It is unused except for various individuals taking advantage of free or overlooked commons. It does not negatively impact US citizens in any real way to hand it back over, they are not being harmed in turn, which would not be defensible since those directly involved are long-dead.
    Still the steal more, keep more principle applies.
    Greece shows us that there is a kind of politician worse than the ones that break their election promises; the ones that keep their election promises.

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    Local talking head LittleFuzzy's Avatar
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    You're going to have to unpack that for me, I don't get the reference.
    Last night as I lay in bed, looking up at the stars, I thought, “Where the hell is my ceiling?"

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    Senior Member Flixy's Avatar
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    I guess he means that if you steal more and build on it you get to keep it. Presumably the best pieces of land that were taken are in use and the last valuable land remains.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleFuzzy View Post
    You're going to have to unpack that for me, I don't get the reference.
    You stated it yourself; giving back empty unused land is easy, but the nicer, more valuable parts, are never going to be returned or given just recompensation for. So tough luck if your ancestors were driven off some real estate that nowadays gets its new owner top dollars.

    Quote Originally Posted by Flixy View Post
    I guess he means that if you steal more and build on it you get to keep it. Presumably the best pieces of land that were taken are in use and the last valuable land remains.
    Pretty much that yes.
    Greece shows us that there is a kind of politician worse than the ones that break their election promises; the ones that keep their election promises.

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    Local talking head LittleFuzzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hazir View Post
    You stated it yourself; giving back empty unused land is easy, but the nicer, more valuable parts, are never going to be returned or given just recompensation for. So tough luck if your ancestors were driven off some real estate that nowadays gets its new owner top dollars.
    And that's different from your stance where you're shit out of luck because you're not your ancestor in what way?
    When we're talking state-to-state action, there is a decent claim to be made that redress, obligation, and culpability do extent beyond specific individuals lifetimes. But those don't outweigh the new harm that would be caused to people by taking from them now to address those older issues.

    Steal more, keep more applies, I guess (or if we're looking at that individual level it's "steal more, descendants keep more") but I think you're glossing over relevant ethical matters.
    Last night as I lay in bed, looking up at the stars, I thought, “Where the hell is my ceiling?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleFuzzy View Post
    And that's different from your stance where you're shit out of luck because you're not your ancestor in what way?
    When we're talking state-to-state action, there is a decent claim to be made that redress, obligation, and culpability do extent beyond specific individuals lifetimes. But those don't outweigh the new harm that would be caused to people by taking from them now to address those older issues.

    Steal more, keep more applies, I guess (or if we're looking at that individual level it's "steal more, descendants keep more") but I think you're glossing over relevant ethical matters.
    I am not glossing over them, I'm just pointing out that it is incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to create a system that is equitable. By and large it's all very arbitrary who will get what reparations from whom and at what price. Let's take the case of Germany; the state has accepted liability for damages to a wide range of victims of its aggression during World War II. And on some level I think most people think that is fair. However, what if we were forced to seriously think about Germans (not Nazi's) as victims of ethnic cleansing and expropriation on a feeble legal basis? Should we start thinking about Poland paying reparations for the taking of German territory?
    Greece shows us that there is a kind of politician worse than the ones that break their election promises; the ones that keep their election promises.

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    Stingy DM Veldan Rath's Avatar
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    Case in point for Germany, I think they suffered enough. No one today is at fault for the idiocy of WWII, and they lost everything. Time to move on.

    However, the USA needs to review what/how it is still treating its native populations still. We owe them much in my opinion, I just have now idea how to make it better.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veldan Rath View Post
    Case in point for Germany, I think they suffered enough. No one today is at fault for the idiocy of WWII, and they lost everything. Time to move on.

    However, the USA needs to review what/how it is still treating its native populations still. We owe them much in my opinion, I just have now idea how to make it better.
    Ehh not really. And I don't see how you can say "Germany suffered enough, no one today is at fault for the idiocy of WWII" and then throw in something twice as long ago. In addition American Indian territories that are exempt from many of the regular laws of the land actually convey a benefit. The fact that tribal casinos openly lobby against gambling in other cities and states along with Las Vegas pisses me off. Real crony capitalism at its finest.

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    Resiste et Mords! Steely Glint's Avatar
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    The difference is that Germany has actually owned up and come to terms to it's responsibilities for World War 2, and the crimes it committed during it, whereas America is still in complete denial about the atrocities in its own past. As is the UK, come to think of it. As are many other countries: Japan, Turkey, for example.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    The difference is that Germany has actually owned up and come to terms to it's responsibilities for World War 2, and the crimes it committed during it, whereas America is still in complete denial about the atrocities in its own past. As is the UK, come to think of it. As are many other countries: Japan, Turkey, for example.
    Does legality come into play for your concept of liabilities based on past actions?
    Greece shows us that there is a kind of politician worse than the ones that break their election promises; the ones that keep their election promises.

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    Resiste et Mords! Steely Glint's Avatar
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    I have no idea what you're trying to say. Colonial genocides, slavery and so forth weren't illegal back when they were all the rage in Europe.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    The difference is that Germany has actually owned up and come to terms to it's responsibilities for World War 2, and the crimes it committed during it, whereas America is still in complete denial about the atrocities in its own past. As is the UK, come to think of it. As are many other countries: Japan, Turkey, for example.
    Again not really. I remember History class and the trail of tears being taught in middle school. In Texas, a pretty conservative state. It is pretty universally accepted that Americans didn't treat the Indians very nicely. Though to be fair history is far more nuanced than that, we tend to just lump all American Indians into one group of people which is not only silly it is also ignorant.

    Ultimately none of that matters - for the morality of the day almost all great powers shit on the less advanced cultures of the time. Ultimately their decedents are FAR better off now due to European colonization than they would otherwise be. Though granted for the people that died it sucked but you can't make that right because they aren't around anymore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    I have no idea what you're trying to say. Colonial genocides, slavery and so forth weren't illegal back when they were all the rage in Europe.
    I ask the question because it matters. In general we would find it wrong to establish culpability for an act that has not been formally designated a crime. War as a crime is a brand new concept. War crimes is a concept barely older. The killing of large numbers of indigenous people isn't necessarily a genocide, another relatively new crime we recognize in international law. So that's where my question comes from; does any of it matter or is it enough that we consider something criminal today enough reason to establish liability?
    Greece shows us that there is a kind of politician worse than the ones that break their election promises; the ones that keep their election promises.

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    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Killing thieves and robbers has been all the rage for millennia.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewkowski View Post
    Again not really. I remember History class and the trail of tears being taught in middle school. In Texas, a pretty conservative state. It is pretty universally accepted that Americans didn't treat the Indians very nicely. Though to be fair history is far more nuanced than that, we tend to just lump all American Indians into one group of people which is not only silly it is also ignorant.

    Ultimately none of that matters - for the morality of the day almost all great powers shit on the less advanced cultures of the time. Ultimately their decedents are FAR better off now due to European colonization than they would otherwise be. Though granted for the people that died it sucked but you can't make that right because they aren't around anymore.
    That's quite an assumption; that the native Americans would have made no progress in the centuries that passed since they were driven from their homelands. Aside from the question of they should get something in return for the suffering of their ancestors, I think that saying that 'they are better off this way' is something in the same category as saying that Hitler was a great guy because he built the Autobahn and ended unemployment.
    Greece shows us that there is a kind of politician worse than the ones that break their election promises; the ones that keep their election promises.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    Killing thieves and robbers has been all the rage for millennia.
    Except that we made some of those thieves and robbers our Emperors, Kings and leaders. Often even elevating them to sainthood or divine status.
    Greece shows us that there is a kind of politician worse than the ones that break their election promises; the ones that keep their election promises.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hazir View Post
    That's quite an assumption; that the native Americans would have made no progress in the centuries that passed since they were driven from their homelands. Aside from the question of they should get something in return for the suffering of their ancestors, I think that saying that 'they are better off this way' is something in the same category as saying that Hitler was a great guy because he built the Autobahn and ended unemployment.
    Do you have any evidence that they were on the verge of discovering technology and playing catch up with Europe? A simple truth is that the more technically advanced a society is the better the people are off. Would you rather have AC/Heat or not? Would you rather not have high rates of infant mortality? All of these point to the fact that their decedents are better off now due to intervention. Again - for the people living at the time that died due to disease, were driven from their homeland etc reparations, apologies and restitution would be appropriate. But they're all dead. If we look to their decedents their better off due to what happened so it makes little sense to provide them more than what we've already done.

    Hell there are people in Poland who probably were alive in the 40s - they would probably be in line for shit from Germany and Russia far sooner than crap that happened 1904.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewkowski View Post
    Again not really. I remember History class and the trail of tears being taught in middle school. In Texas, a pretty conservative state. It is pretty universally accepted that Americans didn't treat the Indians very nicely. Though to be fair history is far more nuanced than that, we tend to just lump all American Indians into one group of people which is not only silly it is also ignorant.
    There's a difference between 'we weren't that nice to them' and 'mass depopulation, land theft and ethnic cleansing'.

    And that's without even getting into the whole attitude to slavery over there.

    Ultimately their decedents are FAR better off now due to European colonization than they would otherwise be.
    I'm really going to enjoy seeing you try and justify this one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazir
    I ask the question because it matters. In general we would find it wrong to establish culpability for an act that has not been formally designated a crime. War as a crime is a brand new concept. War crimes is a concept barely older. The killing of large numbers of indigenous people isn't necessarily a genocide, another relatively new crime we recognize in international law. So that's where my question comes from; does any of it matter or is it enough that we consider something criminal today enough reason to establish liability?
    I think the decision to issue/withhold repatriations or even just formal apologies will always be a political one. Even if there were a legal framework under which we could actually establish guilt liability it would be completely unenforcible against almost any state which were even slightly inclined to dispute or ignore the findings of this hypothetical court.
    To ends unknown, by means unworthy, to answer wishes long dead and gone
    Old, empty promises, a just reward for the blind
    Belief makes work for idle minds
    The only dream that matters is the one you wake up from

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewkowski View Post
    Do you have any evidence that they were on the verge of discovering technology and playing catch up with Europe? A simple truth is that the more technically advanced a society is the better the people are off. Would you rather have AC/Heat or not? Would you rather not have high rates of infant mortality? All of these point to the fact that their decedents are better off now due to intervention. Again - for the people living at the time that died due to disease, were driven from their homeland etc reparations, apologies and restitution would be appropriate. But they're all dead. If we look to their decedents their better off due to what happened so it makes little sense to provide them more than what we've already done.

    Hell there are people in Poland who probably were alive in the 40s - they would probably be in line for shit from Germany and Russia far sooner than crap that happened 1904.
    I"m not into alternative history, but it seems a bit odd to me that you would see the ability to buy an AC unit from a Walmart as sufficient reparation for anything at all.

    And FYI Germany (at least the eastern part of it) was robbed blind by people who had very long memories.
    Greece shows us that there is a kind of politician worse than the ones that break their election promises; the ones that keep their election promises.

  30. #30
    Resiste et Mords! Steely Glint's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewkowski View Post
    Do you have any evidence that they were on the verge of discovering technology and playing catch up with Europe? A simple truth is that the more technically advanced a society is the better the people are off. Would you rather have AC/Heat or not? Would you rather not have high rates of infant mortality?
    Lewk, this isn't Civ5.

    Inventions don't only affect the country that makes them and everyone isn't working through a tech tree in complete isolation.
    To ends unknown, by means unworthy, to answer wishes long dead and gone
    Old, empty promises, a just reward for the blind
    Belief makes work for idle minds
    The only dream that matters is the one you wake up from

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