Political Apologies Archive

AHDA Political Apology

How does the act of apologizing enable societies to come to terms with their past?

Political apologies can be a powerful tool in the re-examination of a nation's history, and the significance this history has on democratic processes. The project includes a working list of political apologies throughout history that political scientist Graham Dodds has researched and compiled.

This is a working list of major political apologies and related events. The selection criteria for compiling the list are somewhat loose, but the intent is to include any and all apologies that involve states, nations, or major political groups and actors, generally for significant public wrongs. Thus, apologies by individual politicians for more narrow matters (e.g., alleged personal or criminal failings) are generally excluded.

Should you wish to add to the list, please e-mail ahda@columbia.edu.

Displaying 461 - 480 of 674 results
Date of Apology Title Summary Source
20 May 2008 2008: USA apologizes to Iraq-American soldier shooting a Koran

 U.S. President George W. Bush apologizes to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki for an American soldier shooting a Koran.

“Bush apology for Koran shooting.” www.bbc.com. May 20, 2008.
24 May 2008 2008: South Africa apologizes for anti-immigrant violence.

South Africa apologizes for anti-immigrant violence.

“S. Africa ‘Sorry For the Inconvenience.’” Montreal Gazette. May 24, 2008.
2008 2008: Canada Indian residential schools

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologizes for abuses at Indian residential schools.

http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100015644/1100100015649
17 June 2008 2008: Australia/ churches issue an apology to children who were sexually abused while in their care

An Australian state government and several churches issue an apology to children who were sexually abused while in their care.

“Aussie apology for abuse.” Montreal Gazette. June 18, 2008.
18 July 2008 2008: Catholic church apologizes for sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Australia.

Pope Benedict apologizes for sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Australia.

Pope Apologizes For Church Sexual Abuse In Australia.” New York Times. July 18, 2008.
22 January 2008 2008: Rebel commander in Liberia’s civil admits to sacrificing children

Milton Blahyi, a former rebel commander in Liberia’s civil war once known as “General Butt Naked,” tells the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that his forces killed 20,000 people, he admits to sacrificing children, and he says he is ashamed of his actions.

Paye-Layleh, Jonathan. “I ate children’s hearts, ex-rebel says.” BBC News. January 22, 2008.
13 February 2008 2008: Australia apologizes to Australia’s indigenous people

The Australian government apologizes to Australia’s indigenous people.

http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/ref/australia/biogs/FE00083b.htm. I am indebted to Cate O’Neill for this item.
3 August 2008 2008: Canada- 1914 Komagata Maru incident

In British Columbia, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologizes for the 1914 Komagata Maru incident, in which several hundred South Asian immigrants were turned away from Vancouver.  Members of the local Sikh community complained that the apology should have been offered on the floor of the House of Commons.

“Harper apologizes in B.C. for 1914 Komagata Maru incident.” www.cbc.ca. August 3, 2008.
30 August 2008 2008: Italy apologizes to Libya for damages during the colonial era

 In Benghazi, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi apologizes to Libya for damages during the colonial era and provides $5 billion in investment as a form of compensation.

Lamloum, Imed. “Italy apologizes to Libya for colonial past.” Montreal Gazette. August 31, 2008.
17 September 2008 2008: Church of England apologizes to Charles Darwin /theory of natural selection.

On the 200th anniversary of his birth, the Church of England apologizes to Charles Darwin for having criticized his theory of natural selection.

Waters, David. “Sorry, Charlie.” Washington Post. September 17, 2008.
18 September 2008 2008: USA civilian deaths in Afghanistan

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates expresses “sincere condolences” for civilian deaths in Afghanistan.

Shanker, Thom. “Gates Tries to Ease Tension in Afghan Civilian Deaths.” New York Times. September 17, 2008.
1 October 2008 2008: Russia- rehabilitating the country’s czarist past,

 Russia’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of politically rehabilitating the country’s czarist past, officially recognizing the Romanovs as victims of “unfounded repression” 90 years after they were executed.

“Court puts Czar back in good books.” Montreal Gazette. pA14.
24 November 2008 2008: Vatican John Lennon for boast in 1966 popular than Jesus

The official Vatican newspaper forgives John Lennon for boasting in 1966 that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus.

“Church Forgives John Lennon ‘Boast.’” New York Times. November 24, 2008.
10 December 2008 2008: Neatherlands Indonesia - 1947 massacre of 431 villagers in Rawagede by Dutch soldiers

The Dutch Ambassador to Indonesia expresses regret for the 1947 massacre of 431 villagers in Rawagede by Dutch soldiers

“Netherlands regret Rawagede tragedy.” Jakarta Post. December 10, 2008.
18 December 2008 2008: Turkey apology for the Armenian genocide.

 Turkish intellectuals write a public letter apologizing for the Armenian genocide.  

29 June 2008 U.S. House for Slavery

The U.S. House of Representatives passes H. Res. 194 to apologize for slavery and the racial segregation of African Americans per Jim Crow laws.

“Congress Apologizes for Slavery, Jim Crow.” NPR. July 30, 2008.
25 March 2009 2007: British- Prime Minister Tony Blair to urged to apologize

 The Archbishop of York (England) urges British Prime Minister Tony Blair to apologize – not merely express sorrow and regret – for Britain’s role in slavery.  

January 2009 2009: Far right of the Catholic Church-Vatican excommunication of four schismatic bishops

 In an effort to reconcile with the far right of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI revokes the excommunication of four schismatic bishops who had rejected the liberalization of the Second Vatican Council.

Donadio, Rachel. “Pope Reinstates Four Excommunicated Bishops.” New York Times. January 24, 2009; Donadio, Rachel. “Vatican Says Bishop’s Holocaust Apology Fell Short.” New York Times. February 28, 2009.
27 February 2009 2009: Bishop Richard Williamson- Catholic church -The Holocaust

 The Vatican says deems insufficient the apology of Bishop Richard Williamson, who (shortly after the Pope had revoked his excommunication) denied the existence of Nazi gas chambers during the Holocaust.

Donadio, Rachel. “Vatican Says Bishop’s Holocaust Apology Fell Short.” New York Times. February 28, 2009.
26 April 2009 2009: Catholic Church suffering of thousands of aboriginal Canadians

Pope Benedict expresses sorrow for the suffering of thousands of aboriginal Canadians in residential schools operated by the Roman Catholic Church.

O’Neil, Peter. “Pope offers sympathy for residential school victims.” Montreal Gazette. April 29, 2009.