Tuesday, 1 March 2011

A Rejection of the Concepts of Victim, of Apology and of Reconciliation

A Rejection of the Concepts of Victim, of Apology and of Reconciliation

Apology is oft taken as meaning remorse, when in fact it is a DEFENCE of an action,  as in apologia or apologist.

The etymology of the word APOLOGY is revealing : "defense, justification," from L.L. apologia, from Gk. apologia "a speech in defense," from apologeisthai "to speak in one's defense," from apologos "an account, story," from apo- "from, off" (see apo-) + logos "speech" (see lecture).

The original English sense of "self-justification" yielded a meaning "frank expression of regret for wrong done," first recorded 1590s, but it was not the main sense until 18c. The old sense tends to emerge in Latin form apologia (first attested 1784), especially since J.H. Newman's "Apologia pro Vita Sua" (1864).

Thus when the Church or State Apologises, it is adopting a position that defends it's current status, and make no mistake about this - both understand the hidden meaning of the words they use, for both are the source of all legal language, and this allows both to continue to maintain their status and power, and avoid the neccssary consequences of their actions.. as we see with the way both have responded to the emergence of living witness evidence with regard to Residential School Systems in which poor and Aboriginal children have been incarcerated by force and brutally harmed in systemic fashion, over long periods of time.

Saying 'I am sorry' has no meaning unless there is material action to back it up, unless there is a clear indication that whatever transgression occurred will not occur again. And in cases where the harm caused is beyond remediation, then punitive measures against Institutions and incarceration  of individuals who have caused harm must result, to protect from any future harm and to provide a meaningful deterrent.

The etymology of the word VICTIM "living creature killed and offered as a sacrifice to a deity or supernatural power," from L. victima "person or animal killed as a sacrifice." Perhaps distantly connected to O.E. wig "idol," Goth. weihs "holy," Ger. weihen "consecrate" (cf. Weihnachten "Christmas") on notion of "a consecrated animal."

Thus the ancient roots of the word suggest a meaning that makes the creation of a 'victim' within the context of a consecrated 'sacrifice', reasonable, or acceptable.

The concept of sacrifice is in itself the measure of a price worth paying (by those who make the sacrifice... not by those sacrificed,... of course).

As Madelaine Albright or Tony Blair have asserted. That neither have been roundly condemend by the majority of mainstream media and the courts speaks volumes of the acceptance of the 'consecrated sacrifice' mindset that permeats Power.

To be labelled as a victim then carries this hidden meaning, whereas to be described as a Survivor of Trauma is quite different, as is one who has not survived a trauma, in that the trauma extinguished the life of the person... and what must be remembered is that often the Survivor bears the scars of the trauma, indelible marks that last a life time that cannot be erased, even if they can, to a certain limited extent, be lived with…

So let me make this very clear for all : I was not so much a VICTIM as a defenceless, innocent and beautiful child harmed and brutalised by priests, nuns, teachers and some family members.

I bear the scars of this abuse, and to some degree I have been able to recover….. and the more the Society that permitted and perpetuated that abuse (mine and that of the Iraqi people, and all who suffer needlessly in wars pursued by Governments, that of the Aboriginal Children forced into Residential Schools, that of the children of the poor forced into Residential Schools) denies and obstructs Survivors calls for restorative justice, the more likely it is that others will suffer as we have, and I cannot countenance that, because I know what that suffering was like, and I would not wish it upon anyone.

Restorative Justice is what we want, not apologies...... and Restorative Justice means trials, jail sentences, files opened and Institutions that are harming children be dis-established..... it means that Society says and acts to protect all the children, and does so forcefully.

To demand accountability for criminal behaviour is not abusive. It may be seen as punitive, and perhaps there's an argument for making incarceration less inhumane, yet such is the nature of causing harm - there's a consequence that MUST BE PAID BY THE CRIMINAL and that must also protect Society and in our case, all our children, from any future abuse.

Likewise, that oft used word, Re-Conciliation, comes from the Roman Empire.

It means to ‘make friendly’ again. Let’s make-up!

Reconciliation : From Latin reconciliatio (“a re-establishing, reinstatement, restoration, renewal, a reconciling, reconciliation”), from reconciliare

Consilio is to do with being at home or amongst friends.

Roman reconciliation was the practice of Rebels being brought to Rome, after their rebellion had been crushed, and the rebel leaders were made to prostrate themselves and admit of their 'treachery', to become friends again with the Emperor, and then ritually strangled... this brought the lands and the peoples the Rebel leaders came from back into the Roman Empire's family. It re-established Rome's authority.

It is important to understand the power of legal terms when used by Governments and States, for within their mindsets these masked meanings loom large, as we see in the various attempts of those who have been harmed, brutalised and degraded by the actions of State and Church make any attempt to reveal the crimes, and press for Restorative Justice and the treatment meted to any who dare to do this work.

Feet are washed, Inquiries held to white wash the incidents, green-washing PR campaigns are funded and promoted, Truth and Reconciliation Commissions are set up, and in each case, their primary function in material terms is proven to be to protect the status and power of the abusers and their Institutions.

Kindest regards


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