Prince Harry has rightly apologised for calling an Asian army colleague a ‘paki’ three years ago which should be accepted and left at that. There is no need as some have suggested for pressure to be put on the army to take disciplinary action against Prince Harry as the embarrassment this story will have caused him today in the press and media is sufficient punishment. Having said that I feel uncomfortable with this part of the statement by St James’ Palace in which it tries to put the Prince Harry’s use of the word ‘paki’ in context:
‘However, on this occasion three years ago, Prince Harry used the term without any malice and as a nickname about a highly popular member of his platoon. There is no question that Prince Harry was in any way seeking to insult his friend.’
This is very similar to situations I and many other Asians have experienced when some friends have said, ‘…no offence as you’re okay but some of these Pakis…’ They don’t seek to cause offence and believe that no offence is being caused but they are wrong – offence is always taken. The word Paki is always a derogatory term and is never used as a nickname or in a non malicious or friendly way. The Palace shouldn’t be seeking to explain such an offensive remark.