Should I apologize on behalf of my country?

In today’s society one can not ignore the fact that there is still constant generalization amongst all types of different nationalities. More often than not I witness individuals having to prove themselves innocent despite not being accused of anything. On countless occasions I have witnessed students saddened by their country and feeling a need to apologize to people. I have witnessed students feeling a need to explain themselves for actions their country proceeded in.

“There was a terrorist engagement in Turkey, and now everyone thinks Turkey is involved in terrorism”

I’m sorry for my country

“Even 70 years later, the Holocaust is still a very real ordeal for older citizens ”

I’m sorry for my country

“I was in a discussion last week, where my Nepalese classmate told the group that people from India were randomly shooting Nepali citizens at the border”

I’m sorry for my country

“Donald Trump is making a huge appearance in the media today about his racist remarks, and now again America is being looked at as a racist and belittling country.”

I’m sorry for my country

“Rape is a serious widespread issue in India still.”

I’m sorry for my country

“I took my very first indigenous studies course at UBCO and didn’t know any basic knowledge about indigenous peoples prior to the class.”

I’m sorry for my country

“Britain launched airstrikes in Syria, now everyone thinks it was the country’s decision, when indeed in was just the government’s decision.”

I’m sorry for my country

These are just very few examples  of students expressing their apologies about the nation they are from or consider home.

Do we need to apologize?

There is a difference between apologizing for your country and being aware of what they have done – and whether it was right or wrong.

When one apologizes it gives the impression of guilt – as if the person were a part of the act committed.

However, in saying that, I am not one that is down playing any apology. It’s still a step in the right direction. But words are powerful and can alter opinions and interpretations.

Initially, I was looking through a certain lens going into this post but after turning this topic into a debate it really fostered my understanding in terms of why people say the things you they do.

In talking with other students, I’ve learned that the impulse to apologize is not only an internal struggle but an external one as well.

Perhaps people are what they are through their country’s or community’s actions as well as through their own individualism, which is why people are driven to apologize – or, perhaps, to take action against injustice. That could even mean to participate in a healing or recovery process.

We are shaped by our environment, which includes where we are from, the events or people impacts us, and the societal beliefs and decisions made around us. We are in some ways tied to what happens – even if we are not directly responsible.




Homosexuality, Moral Panic and Politicized Homophobia in Ghana – a public talk by Dr. Wisdom Tettey

Written by Stella Mozin, Maisha Maliha Badhon and Nene M. Azu


On January 22nd the Dean of Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Wisdom Tettey, gave a talk on ‘Homosexuality, Moral Panic, and Politicized Homophobia in Ghana’.  It was a very informative talk, giving the audience an insight into the way homosexuality is perceived in Ghana. If you were unable to attend, here is a synopsis of Dr. Tettey’s valid argument.

Homosexuality is an issue that is still seen as a taboo in many non-Westernized societies. Ghana can be seen to be one of such societies where certain sects of the society may “use homosexuality as a weapon to create unnecessary moral panic, feeding on homophobia”. Dr. Tettey explained how the very right to citizenship is eroded due to the categorization of homosexuals as ‘devils’,  that makes them ‘lesser citizens’ in the eyes of many .

This is reflected in the politicized nature of the subject. From what we heard, there are three main parties of the society that propagate homophobia: the media, politicians and moral leaders. Despite the constitution of Ghana dictating that everyone is equal in front of the law, homosexuals are seemingly discriminated. Ghanaian media sets the political agenda, amplifying homosexuality as a threat to the social order and implying that it needs immediate intervention. Dr Tettey highlighted that many politicians use it as a tool in politics to smear other politicians, by depicting them as supporting homosexuals which they then have to denounce. This furthers the propaganda of the media, and other agents who benefit from the constant vilification of homosexuals. Furthermore, religious leaders have often blamed homosexuality for the many problems people face in daily lives. A pastor was quoted saying,

“God of Heaven told him that the current rationing of electricity and the water shortage situation in the country was caused by the fact that some Ghanaians were tolerating homosexuals”

The talk gave an insight into the struggles of homosexuals in the country, which can be said to be very similar to the experiences of homosexuals in other societies that have not accepted them. However we can say that even in developed countries like the US, legalization of same sex marriage only happened recently in the year 2015, 200 years after their independence. Thus it is hopeful that in time progress can be made.

Susana Baez : Life After UBCO!

We recently caught up with Susana Baez, a former student  here who hails from Columbia, and interviewed her on life after UBC-O! During her time here, Susana was one of the most influential student leaders in her class. She continues to be a purpose driven young lady, brimming with confidence and taking Canada by storm. In this article we cover her experiences at UBC-O and what she’s been up to since she graduated from UBC – O in 2014.

  • How are you finding life after UBC-O? 
  • In terms of work and social life? Life in another Canadian city in general?  How was the transition from university life into working life?

I love this question because I used to always wonder about those students who had graduated already while I was still in school. I couldn’t wait to be done with school and start my life in the “real world.” Life after school seems exciting and full of adventures, but the reality of it is that this life after school also comes with many ups and downs. I loved my time at school and I felt like I took full advantage of every experience it offered. Now it has been a couple of years since I graduated and there are new and different exciting adventures and experiences that I am taking advantage of at the moment. Although every step has been worth it, it definitely came with a lot of hard work, sacrifice, solitude, and courage. I have been with the same company for about 2.5 years and still loving it! I love the people, the challenges and the rewards.

I left Kelowna about 6 months ago now and it was by far harder than I thought it would be. Kelowna had been my home ever since I arrived to Canada about 6 years ago. It felt like I was leaving all the memories, the friendships made and my second home. But I was ready for more! I am constantly craving new adventures and new challenges and trying to succeed in whatever I set my mind to. So far, Langley has been treating me well and it soon can be considered my other second home.unnamed

  • Did you find that certain skills you learnt at UBC are being applied in your workplace?

 Absolutely! Leaving the comfort of my home to become an independent student brought many challenges with it but rewarding ones! Best useful skill was probably learning how to cook decent meals (lol). After that I would say: doing my own laundry, smart spending, open mindedness, time management, working under pressure and teamwork. Open mindedness is a very cool one. I got to meet more people like myself who come from very far to get an education in Canada. I soon learned that Canadians are really nice too! These interactions made my university experience that much better and enhanced my overall outlook on life.

  • Were there any challenges you faced during your transition? If yes, how did you manage to deal with them?

There were times where I would start to doubt if I was doing the correct thing. Sometimes I even felt like I should probably quit, since being so far from family at times got really hard. No matter the distance, talking to my family and close friends makes these kinds of changes much more bearable. My family just always somehow helps me stay grounded and helps me keep a good head on my shoulders. They are 100% supportive of all my decisions and they know that me being far away from them is one of the many sacrifices I will have to make along the way in order to fulfill my dreams. Advice: Never loose touch of your loved ones! They will always be there for you no matter what.

  • You moved from Kelowna to Langley. Do you miss anything about Kelowna?

 Kelowna will remain that one special place that watched me grow from high school graduate to university graduate and working professional. I met very important people who I will stay friends with for the rest of my life and the memories I made are irreplaceable. Yes I will miss Kelowna but that doesn’t mean I’m never coming back! I love to visit a lot. Summers are the best in Kelowna!

  • It is a known fact that you were a student leader involved in many initiatives at UBC-O. Are there any that you’re still involved in? Are you now involved in anything new?

This was a key part in my personal development at school. Not only did it help me get out of my comfort zone, but also I met my life-long friends while being involved in so many cool initiatives! Work keeps me pretty busy so for now I am solely focused on advancing my career, but I would love to set some time to volunteering in an organization outside of work!

  • Do you have any advice for current students especially the first and final year students?

Your university experience is what you make of it. Everyone has a different story to how they spent their time at school. Just make sure that by the end of it you are able to look back and say, “I took full advantage of every opportunity that came my way and I am proud of how far I have come”.