A heartfelt apology for a disgusting comment

A heartfelt apology for a disgusting comment

Last Friday Kia Abdullah, novelist and occasional contributor to The Guardian, tweeted to her followers that she had “smiled” when she heard that three British students had died in a coach crash in Thailand. Their crime? Two of them had double-barrelled surnames, and they were all on a gap year – which, in Abdullah’s eyes, made them privileged enough for their deaths to be celebrated.

It is sobering and depressing that people’s political leanings can trump human decency. Even if Abdullah hadn’t considered the pain that her words could cause, even if she was taken aback by the speed with which they could be broadcast throughout the Internet, it’s awful to think that, if only fleetingly, she could articulate such a diabolical thought.  Hate is alive and kicking hard, it seems. 

This episode is another reminder that the Internet allows people …frankly …  to be beastly to each other, usually with impunity. You need only take a look at some of the chat rooms and open-forum websites to see that it acts as an anaesthetic to responsibility, bringing out the worst in a certain type of person. Before the Internet age, people could only think horrible thoughts. Now they can broadcast them, and encourage others to do the same. 

But, on a positive note, it also shows the fabulous power of a genuine apology. Abdullah faced a storm of protest from fellow tweeters, including the stepmother of one of the students. To her credit, Abdullah swiftly retracted her statement, writing: “You may not be able to forgive me, but please know that I am truly, genuinely, deeply sorry that I have caused you pain at this time of loss.” The storm evaporated instantly, proving once again that an apology, so long as it is genuine, is the number one tool to get out of trouble fast. 

Article date

July 3rd, 2011

Robert Taylor

Media Trainer

@RT_MediaTrainer

My main passion is media training, and I’m proud to be one of the UK’s most experienced and successful trainers in this field.

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