by Peter Versteeg –
“Apology” is another word for acknowledgment
Acknowledging the past, but not just any kind of past
It is a formal word for a moral occasion
No emotion, no affection
It is neither personal nor individual
It doesn’t involve calculations
Such as keeping scores
Of suffering or innocence
It isn’t about me and, I am sorry,
It isn’t about you either
If it would involve you or me
it would always be too much
Or never enough
Who pleads guilty, and who is forgiven?
Words, however, help us to not look away
From worlds that were ended,
Lives humiliated, souls devastated, and incarcerated
This evil has been done
And can never be undone
Apologies, our words,
We use them yet, in the end, what is their use?
Do they make us free?
Free from guilt, free from suffering and despair?
Maybe they will take us
to a place to remember
And, hopefully, gradually, we pass by
Peter Versteeg is a master’s student in Spiritual Care and teaches anthropology.