Friday, June 1, 2012

Imaginary June 4th Apology


In June 2006 Canada found it in its heart to say sorry for a racist head tax imposed over a century ago on foreign nationals - Chinese immigrants. On the 23rd anniversary of the June 4th event, an apology from the Chinese government is still being awaited for a much more heinous crime it committed in 1989 - mass murder of its very own nationals.

Some passages in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s address delivered in June 2006 appear interestingly suitable for paraphrasing into part of an imaginary apology statement by Chinese leaders:-

Original:-

“We acknowledge the high cost of the head tax meant many families were left behind in China, never to be reunited, or that families lived apart and, in some cases, in poverty, for many years.”

Imaginary:-

“We acknowledge the atrocious killing of students and citizens meant their loved ones and families were left with raw emotional wounds, never to be healed, or that many families suffered further agony when their pleas for redress were ignored, and were, in some cases, penalized, for many years.”

Original:-

“We also recognize that our failure to acknowledge these historical injustices has prevented many in the community from seeing themselves as fully Canadian.”

Imaginary:-

“We also recognize that our failure to acknowledge such historical brutality has prevented many in the Chinese community, especially the Hong Kong and overseas community, from seeing themselves as fully Chinese.”

Original:-

“Therefore, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all Canadians and the Government of Canada, we offer a full apology to Chinese Canadians for the head tax and express our deepest sorrow for the subsequent exclusion of Chinese immigrants.”

Imaginary:-

“Therefore, Mr. Chairman, on behalf the Government of the PRC and the Politburo, we offer a full apology to Chinese nationals for the unwarranted June 4th killings and express our deepest sorrow for the subsequent gross mistreatment of the victims’ families.”

Original:-

“This apology is not about liability today: it is about reconciliation with those who endured such hardship, and the broader Chinese-Canadian community.”  

Imaginary:-

“This apology is not about face-saving today: it is about reconciliation with those who endured such pain and agony, and the broader Chinese community.”




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