That well-known quotation from L. P. Hartley's well-known novel, "The Go-Between", sums up the current dispute between Spain and Mexico.
Spain's government has refused a demand from Mexico's new president that it apologise for conquering the country five hundred years ago.
Firing the first shots in what threatens to become a diplomatic row, the Left-wing Mexican leader Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced on Monday that he had sent letters to Spain’s King Felipe VI and Pope Francis urging them to apologize for crimes committed against the indigenous peoples of what is today Mexico.
“There were massacres and oppression. The so-called conquest was waged with the sword and the cross. They built their churches on top of the temples,” Mr López Obrador said in a video message.
. . .
At a speech to supporters later on Monday, Mr López Obrador said he wanted to reconcile Mexico, the Spanish crown and the Vatican by “together reviewing the history of that military invasion and three centuries of colonisation”.
Mr López Obrador said it was time to bury the Spanish interpretation of the events of 500 years ago as “a meeting of two cultures”, adding that “thousands of indigenous people were murdered”.
. . .
“The arrival of Spaniards in what are now Mexican lands 500 years ago cannot be judged in the light of contemporary thinking. Our peoples have always been able to interpret our shared past without anger and with a constructive perspective,” the Spanish government’s reply read, adding that “there is a great store of affection” between Spaniards and Mexicans.
There's more at the link.
I must admit, my sympathies are more with Mr. Obrador than with the Spanish government on this one. However, that must be conditioned by the fact that Mexico - and most of South America - had been ruled for centuries, and in parts were still ruled during the immediately pre-colonial era, by bloodthirsty tyrants who slaughtered their subjects wholesale. Spain merely brought firearms, gunpowder and a different religion to the table. (Judging by the way the church was complicit in the enslavement of the continent of South America for the benefit of the colonial power, one can make a strong case that the Christian Gospel had long since been commandeered by the Spanish Crown for its own purposes, just as it did with the Spanish Inquisition.)
The sad thing about almost all colonial expansion, by any country, was that it was done for the benefit of the colonial power rather than its newly annexed subjects. Britain alone made at least some effort to induct the local populace into the governing structure it established in many of its colonies, but it was a patchy effort, successful in some areas, but not in others. Portugal did an abysmally poor job, reserving land, education and all well-paid jobs for its colonial expatriates rather than indigenous people. (I was told that, when Mozambique became independent in 1975, it had precisely one indigenous graduate from a Portuguese university. Some of its new rulers had been educated at university - but that was the notorious Patrice Lumumba University in the Soviet Union, which is about as poor a preparation to efficiently run a country as you can possibly imagine.)
Both sides can - and do - emphasize their loss/misery/deprivation/whatever at the expense of the other. Here in the USA, I've heard black people demand reparations for slavery, even though no living US black person has ever been a slave. On the other hand, I've heard some US whites sneer that if US blacks had been left behind in Africa, rather than brought to this country as slaves, they'd have been much worse off; therefore, they should pay the USA for the greater opportunities they've enjoyed here. Neither side is actually listening to the other, of course; they're posturing for their own benefit. Sadly, I don't expect that to change anytime soon.
In the end, I have to agree with Denys Winstanley, who observed, "Nothing is more unfair than to judge the men of the past by the ideas of the present." I suppose the same can be said of the colonial era.