When Apologies Are Not Sincere Apologies

Ahmad Kareem Salem Al-Wuhaili


In politics, as in everyday life, apologizing is a frequent act sharing the same meaning in both contexts. However, if we look closer, we will see that in politics the act of apologizing acquired the status of an art and sometimes a deeper and/or subsidiary significance. Though, there are situations when what it sounds and looks like a political apology, lacks most of the time sincerity. No matter the aim of the political apology, in order for this act to fulfill its purpose sincerity is required. But are all political apologies sincere? If not, can we depict the aim hidden behind them?  By what means can we do that? Our hypothesis is that, as a consequence of the complexity of the political language, many political apologies, despite their declared purpose, lack sincerity, their hidden aim being the reduction or the evasion of the responsibility. In order to find answers to our research question and to test our hypothesis we based our analysis on six excerpts from American political discourses. The study focuses on some apologies used by American politicians in both national and international discourse. We chose as analysis objects for this study some apologies expressed by presidents, ministries, prime ministries, politicians, and the analysis framework is based on Deutschmann’s schemas of analysis. The findings of this analysis raised awareness on the importance of decoding the truly meaning of an apology in political discourse that, as demonstrated, lacks sincerity in some cases. The correct decryption of the purpose of a message delivered in the guise of apology may influence the manner of solving the conflict, as well as the manner of continuing the relations between the offender and the offended.

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