Yesterday, a prominent world leader made an official apology to his nation.
"What happened…was both unjustified and unjustifiable. It was wrong. The Government is ultimately responsible for the conduct of the armed forces. And for that, on behalf of the Government, indeed on behalf of our country, I am deeply sorry."
Unfortunately, that wasn’t Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, talking about the deaths on the Freedom Flotilla, or any US president. Instead, it was David Cameron, new British prime minister, apologizing for the actions of the British army in 1972, on what has become known as "Bloody Sunday."
Soldiers killed fourteen men that day when they opened fire on a peaceful civil rights protest — and for 38 years, the government has blamed the protesters—accusing those marching for jobs and homes and the vote, and against internment without trial—of attacking the Empire’s crack-troops. Sound familiar?
The Saville inquiry into the Bloody Sunday killings finally righted the wrong of the original inquiry, which blamed the victims and their families for their own deaths—and from which the media took their cues, as they so often do.
Robert Fisk who was a Northern Ireland reporter for many years, wrote this week that, "As usual—and for Derry, read Fallujah or Gaza or any Afghan village where civilians get in the way—the innocent became the guilty and the guilty became the innocent."
Now Israel is planning its own inquiry into the deaths on board the Mavi Marmara, but calls for a truly independent commission have been brushed off by Netanyahu. General Rick Sanchez has been calling for a truth commission into US human rights crimes for a year. Will justice again take thirty-eight years?