‘Vespers – is anyone sorry?’


What an important and thoughtful question by Laura Miti!

“No one in authority has expressed unqualified regret over Vespers Shimuzhila’s killing by the Police, in her university room. The university management, clearly more concerned about staying on the right side of politicians, completely removed the police from the scene of her death. The Vice-Chancellor just saying a student suffocated – like she accidentally smothered herself with a pillow while sleeping.

All PF voices, from the media-head to the SG, cannot bring themselves to say police throwing tear gas into student rooms is criminal and murderous – I guess because the police would be expected to do the same again.

Very unfortunately, the PF leaders completely disrespect Vespers and her grieving family by making her death another platform for their ongoing battles with HH. Just this once, with a girl who surely was the hope of her family, gone, could we not hear one sober statement from power holders that did not display our mindless politics? As for the police themselves, they suggest fires self-started in student rooms. In short, no one thought it appropriate to take a moment away from self-serving politics and protection of jobs to give Vespers’ death just a little soberness. Even a pretense at introspection that could lead to prevention of a repeat of this tragedy.

But then, who was Vespers that any powerful person should lose sleep over her death? That’s for her family and friends. To them, we can only say may you find comfort and healing – somehow,” writes Laura.

Indeed no one’s perfect. We all mess up now and then and wish we could hit some magical “undo” key. It can help a little bit to remember that most people have been in the situation you’re in.

What makes the difference is what you do next. Use the power of a sincere apology. Apologies can go a long way toward healing hurt or angry feelings. It takes courage to step up and admit what you did was wrong.

Try saying: “What I said the other day was really insensitive of me. I shouldn’t have said that. It wasn’t fair – and I don’t feel proud of that. I just want to say I’m sorry. I messed up.”

The important thing about an apology is sincerity. When we apologise, we need to do so because we feel genuinely sorry about how hurt another person may be. An apology shouldn’t be a way to protect our own image or be liked. If an apology is more about ourselves and how we can benefit, it might not seem true.

Another element of a sincere apology is the intention to change. Let the person know you’re not going to let it happen again. You could tell your friends, “I’m going to be more aware of what I think and say about people in the future. I’ll make an effort to be kinder and more positive about people.”

Hopefully, the people you have hurt can accept your apology. But don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t happen instantly. Some people are quick to forgive. Others may have to think about what you said and need time to get over hurt feelings or anger, or to rebuild trust. Do your best with the part that’s up to you. The rest is up to them.

We can learn from mistakes. Focus your energies on trying to make things right and working on your good intentions!

Too many people believe that simply saying sorry one time should suffice, if we have hurt somebody’s feelings. However, the legal code is much clear: if you hurt somebody’s car, you have to pay the damages. It can be difficult to itemize emotional costs, but to heal, it must be done. In effect, forgiveness offloads the pain and suffering of a victim back onto the perpetrator, by making the perpetrator humble, thoughtful, and indebted, in other words, subordinated, with a need to pay back the injury with considerable amends.

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