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道歉并不是真正的历史清算

发布者: 顾含爱学习 | 发布时间: 2022-1-4 13:39| 查看数: 361| 评论数: 0|

历史学家瓦格纳:曾经的殖民主义国家还远未正视帝国主义的丑陋历史,更不用说解决殖民主义对当今世界的持续影响了。

全文共836个词,by Kim Wagner

The writer is professor of global and imperial history at Queen Mary University of London
本文作者为伦敦玛丽王后大学(Queen Mary University of London)全球史与帝国史教授

Last week, President Emmanuel Macron of France formally acknowledged his country’s role in the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Meanwhile, Heiko Maas, Germany’s foreign minister, officially recognised the genocide against the Herero and Nama people of 1904-1907, when the territory now known as Namibia was under German colonial rule.
上周,法国总统埃马纽埃尔•马克龙(Emmanuel Macron)正式承认了法国在1994年卢旺达大屠杀中所扮演的角色。与此同时,德国外交部长海科•马斯(Heiko Maas)正式承认德国曾在1904年至1907年间对赫雷罗人和纳马人实施种族灭绝——这块如今被称为纳米比亚的领土当时是德国的殖民地。

A few days later, President Joe Biden’s speech on the centenary of the massacre of African Americans at Tulsa touched on similar issues. He emphasised the urgent need for the US to “come to terms with [its] dark side”, adding that “only in remembrance do wounds heal”.
数天后,在塔尔萨,美国总统乔•拜登(Joe Biden)发表塔尔萨非洲裔美国人种族大屠杀100周年纪念日演讲,也谈到了类似的话题。他强调,美国迫切需要“正视(自己的)黑暗历史”,并补充称“只有记得这段历史,伤口才能愈合”。

One might at first glance think of these statements as a step in the right direction as western nations finally appear to be confronting their violent past. Formal apologies have indeed become the dominant language through which contentious history is today addressed. International disputes and public debates are often framed entirely around the demands or rejections of such political gestures.
乍看之下,人们可能会认为这些声明是朝着正确方向迈出的一步,因为西方国家似乎终于开始正视自己的暴行历史。正式的道歉确实已成为如今人们应对有争议历史时主要使用的语言。国际争端和公开辩论往往完全围绕着对这种政治姿态的要求或拒绝而展开。

As political rituals, however, historic apologies are essentially about the present rather than the past. As such, they are addressed to multiple audiences — to constituents back home as much as to the descendants of victims or the representatives of former colonised nations.
然而,作为一种政治仪式,为历史事件道歉本质上是为了现在,跟过去无关。作为这样一种仪式,这种道歉面向的是多个受众群体,既面向国内选民,也同样面向受害者的后代或前殖民地国家的代表。

The fact that the German statement was the end result of five years of negotiation shows that it was anything but spontaneous. Instead, it was closely linked to various financial and geopolitical considerations. Historic apologies are intended to settle political deals, not historical facts.
德国发表的致歉声明是五年谈判的最终结果,这一事实表明,此举绝不是自发的行为。相反,它与各种金钱和地缘政治考量密切相关。为历史事件作出的道歉旨在敲定政治交易,而不是历史事实。

Taken on their own narrow terms, the statements on Rwanda and Namibia were problematic. Neither Macron nor Maas offered an actual apology. In that regard they were not so different from their British counterparts.
即便仅就关于卢旺达和纳米比亚的这两份致歉声明本身来看,它们也是有问题的。不论是马克龙还是马斯都没有真正地道歉。在这方面,他们与英国人没什么两样。

Over the years, British politicians have expressed every shade of regret — over slavery, the Irish potato famine, the suppression of Mau Mau or the Amritsar massacre — but never an unqualified apology or anything amounting to a genuine acceptance of responsibility. Even though Macron did explicitly accept French responsibility in relation to the Rwandan genocide, his mea culpa was followed up by an equally explicit exoneration: “The killers who stalked the swamps, the hills, the churches, did not have the face of France. France was not an accomplice.” This was a historic acknowledgment written as a non-liability clause.
多年来,英国政治人士就奴隶制、爱尔兰大饥荒、镇压茅茅党和阿姆利则惨案进行了各种程度的道歉,但从未进行过无条件的道歉,也从没有真正承认自己负有的责任。尽管马克龙明确承认法国对卢旺达种族大屠杀负有责任,但他在认错之后,又同样明确地宣告法国无罪:“那些出没于沼泽、山丘、教堂的杀手中没有法国人的面孔。法国不是帮凶。”这是一则被写成了免责条款的历史事件声明。

This is not simply a matter of avoiding legal liability, however. Former colonial powers, it seems, will say anything short of admitting that the imperial project may not have been so progressive after all, since doing so might undermine their national myths of exceptionalism.
然而,这不仅是关乎避免法律责任的问题。曾经的殖民主义国家似乎什么都愿意承认,但绝不肯承认帝国主义事业归根到底可能并没有那么进步,因为承认了后者就可能损害他们自己国家的例外论神话。

That is also why such statements tend to focus on the episodic rather than the systemic. Germany is prepared to own up to the Herero and Nama genocide, but is notably silent on the far deadlier suppression of the Maji Maji uprising in German East Africa, which took place at the same time and resulted in as many as 200,000 to 300,000 killed. Historic apologies are an effective way of controlling the narrative. As historian Tom Bentley has argued, “[they] function as less of a platform of self-flagellation than one of self-congratulation”.
这也是为什么此类声明倾向于聚焦单个事件而非系统性局面。德国愿意承认对赫雷罗人和纳马人实施的种族灭绝,但值得注意的是,对同一时间发生在德属东非境内的更为致命(导致20万至30万人死亡)的马及马及起义(Maji Maji uprising)镇压行动,德国却保持了沉默。为历史事件道歉是一种控制历史叙事的有效方式。正如历史学家汤姆•本特利(Tom Bentley)所说的:“(它们)与其说提供了自我鞭笞的机会,不如说提供了自我庆贺的机会。”

One of the putative aims of apologies is to “heal” and allow victims and their descendants to “move on”. Yet it is far from evident that slavery and colonial atrocities can be so easily consigned to the past. An apology asserts an expectation of forgiveness, as Maas and Macron put it, and calls for “reconciliation” in that sense become little more than a nice way of sweeping the dirty past under the carpet.
人们普遍认为,道歉的目的之一是“治愈”,让受害者及他们的后代“向前看”。然而,奴隶制和殖民者的暴行远不应该被如此轻易地归为陈年旧事。正如马斯和马克龙所说,道歉意味着期待得到宽恕,而呼吁“和解”在这种意义上,变成只不过是用一种漂亮的方式把过去的丑事掩盖起来。

The matter is further complicated when financial compensation is involved. This practice has a long and sordid history. Former colonial powers have routinely converted the suffering and “collateral damage” they inflicted on civilians, their livestock and property into cash sums.
当涉及到经济补偿时,事情就更加复杂了。这种做法有着漫长而龌龊的历史。曾经的殖民主义国家经常将对平民、他们的牲畜和房产造成的痛苦和“间接伤害”转化为现金。

Most people would probably prefer a little compensation to nothing. It might be that even an insincere apology, motivated mainly by political expediency, is better than none at all. But it is difficult not to see such payments essentially as hush-money.
对大多数人而言,一点补偿好过什么都没有。也许,即使是主要出于政治权宜考虑的不真诚的道歉,也比没有道歉好。但很难不把这些钱看作本质上是封口费。

Once an apology has been tendered, however mealy-mouthed, and reparations paid, the historical debt is supposedly settled. Ethically or financially, no more demands can be made. This is really a case of the sinner setting the terms of their own atonement.
一旦道歉——无论其措辞多么含糊其辞——并支付了赔款,人们就认为这份历史债务得到了清偿。无论从道德上还是经济上,都不能再提出更多要求。这实际上是罪人按照自己的想法设定了赎罪的条件。

For it is the former colonial powers that decide on the wording of apologies and scope of reparations. In Namibia’s case, it appears they not only determine what the right amount should be but also dictate how it should be spent. The French and German statements are less a break with the past than a preservation of the status quo. It should come as no surprise that the German offer was roundly rejected by descendants of the Namibian victims, who were not consulted during the negotiations.
这是因为,道歉的措辞和赔偿的范围都是由这些曾经的殖民主义国家决定的。就纳米比亚的例子而言,曾经的殖民者似乎不仅决定了应该赔多少钱,而且还规定了这些赔款应该如何花。法国和德国的道歉声明与其说是与过去一刀两断,不如说是在维持现状。德国的提议遭到了纳米比亚受害者后代的强烈反对——在谈判期间德国并未征求他们的意见——这一点儿也不奇怪。

If the past week’s statements raise awareness and encourage more people to learn about the past, that can only be a good thing. But these rituals should not be mistaken for a genuine historical reckoning. We are still a long way from facing up to the brutal reality of western imperialism, let alone addressing its continued legacies in the modern world.
如果过去一周的致歉声明唤醒了人们对这段历史的意识,并鼓励更多人去了解这段历史,那只能说还算是一件好事。但这些仪式不应被误认为是真正的历史清算。我们距离正视西方帝国主义的残酷现实还有很长的路要走,更不用说解决它在现代世界中的持续影响了。


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