Friday, September 11, 2009

For Alan Turing, a real apology for once

For Alan Turing, a real apology for once: In an age where (as Language Log has often had occasion to remark) many purported public apologies are just mealy-mouthed expressions of regret [...] it is good to see a genuine and direct apology for once, addressed (though more than half a century too late) to a man who deserved admiration, gratitude, and respect, but was instead hounded to death. The UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has released a statement regarding the treatment of Alan Turing in the early 1950s, and the operative words are:
on behalf of the British government, and all those who live freely thanks to Alan's work I am very proud to say: we're sorry, you deserved so much better.
(Via Language Log)

If you read the whole Downing Street statement, you might feel a twinge of regret that Turing's other gigantic contributions to humanity beyond cracking Enigma were not mentioned, but the apology is nevertheless strong and poignant, and Gordon Brown deserves praise for saying clearly what had been unsaid for so long by those in power. Thank you.

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