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Page last updated at 14:47 GMT, Monday, 9 February 2009

It's never too late to apologise

Sorry headline

60 seconds to change the world

Can a simple idea help make the world a better place? As top UK bankers say sorry in front of MPs for their part in the financial crisis, Tom Perrotta suggests we embrace a dedicated day for apologies.

I think the world would be a better place if we instituted two new holidays.

One of which I'd call "Grievance Day" and the other I would call "Apology Day".

On Grievance Day, anyone has the right to approach someone else and complain to them about some wrong they feel they've suffered at the hands of that person.

It could be a small grievance or it could be a large grievance.


The person who is receiving the complaint has to listen quietly with an open mind and just accept the grievance.

A three-month waiting period will go by after which, the person who apparently committed the wrong, will be able to respond.

That will be Apology Day - although they may not apologise and may have a response instead.

Sometimes we don't air these complaints that we have with other people and they can fester and become larger than they really are.

A ritualised air-clearing is what the world needs to become a better place.

Tom Perrotta is an American writer and his latest novel is called, "The Abstinence Teacher".

Below is a selection of your comments.

The bicycle has been already invented. It is called The Sunday of Forgiveness, six weeks before Easter, right before Great Lent (Great Fast).
Jane Z, Surgut, Russia

The Jain people practice a day of seeking forgiveness for any sins or hurt caused due to voluntary or involuntary acts. They visit other folks, write letters and send cards to all they know and seek forgiveness.
A Singh, OK, USA

That would be the worst idea ever. Some people don't take kindly to being told they have done something wrong, there would be fights left right and centre.
Kyla B, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Sounds like another facade to get us to buy more greeting cards.
Ross W, Newcastle

I spend half my life saying I'm sorry, a whole day dedicated to it will save me a lot of time.
Kayleia, Grantham

This is not a new concept or an original idea. There were the amnesty hearings in South Africa Post apartheid. Most religions have periods of "apology", for example Judaism has Elul which is a whole month to ask for forgiveness culminating the Day of Atonement.
Shaun May, England

We already have an Apology Day, it's called Christmas. Full of fake generosity and concern for others, when corporations cast themselves in adverts as charitable souls, suddenly concerned about the needy.
Marty Phipps, Victoria, Canada

I thought we called this Good Friday and Easter?
Brian Teegardin, Detroit US

In Orthodoxy there already is such a holiday. The last Sunday before Lent is called "Forgiveness Sunday". On this day people apologise to each other for everything evil they might have done saying: "For God's sake forgive me!" And the person they are speaking to should reply: "God forgives".
Anna Tsvetkova, Moscow, Russia

I agree having both these days are good idea, especially apology day. Sometimes we realise our mistakes after sometime of committing them, and don't find right time to apologise for them.
Pallavi, Leeds

It would take a very long time to hear all our politicians' apologies. May I suggest an "apologise month"?
Anna, Lecce, Italy

I'm from Bulgaria and we already have Apology Day. Actually, I think it comes from the Christian Orthodox holiday calendar, so other Orthodox countries may have it as well.
Yanko Tsvetkov, Sofia, Bulgaria

Personally, I'd vote for "Suck it up" Day and "Stop whining and being overly sensitive" Day.
Ksenia, Moscow, Russia

When a wrong has been done, apologies are necessary. The outstanding apology of modern times has still not been made. The US has not apologised to the whole world for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. ONLY when that apology is made can there be nuclear arms control or more importantly, the annihilation of ALL nuclear arms in the world.
San Ying, Montreal, Canada

It was God's idea first.
Steph, Africa

Check out the Catholic Church, they have this thing called confession. They've been trying to instil World Peace for 2,000 years - I've heard they've had some small successes. The Jews have the Day of Atonement.
Andrew Opala, Mississauga, Canada

While I see this as a laudable idea I believe there is more we can do to make the world a better place. I propose an International Day for Civilisation. All you need to do to take part is undertake not to harm any other human beings on that day. If it is successful then perhaps we can extend it for longer periods and who knows perhaps we will learn to live together. It's a nice thought.
Tez Mair, Coventry

Tom Perrotta, you are an idiot. Feel free to bring that up with me on Grievance Day.
Timothy Collier, New Denver, Canada

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