Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Day To Be Proud Of Australia

I'm not a very political or patriotic person, but over the last year or so I've found that changing. Maybe I've reached an age where a lot of the things I used to find important are no longer so. Or maybe since I've been writing I've become more aware of the media and have been exposed to political issues as a consequence. Either way, today I can truthfully say that I am proud to be Australian. I am proud of our country and its current leader, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Because today, our country said sorry.

On behalf of the whole nation, our Prime Minister said sorry to the Stolen Generation, the indigenous children who were taken from their families and assimilated. The children who had their cultural identities erased over a number of generations, who had their genetic code diluted, who had all this done to them without a choice, by way of law and policy.

To a child, to a lover, to a friend, to family, saying sorry doesn't erase the hurts of the past. But it does say that the healing can begin, that the torn relationships can be mended with time. Saying sorry doesn't change anything, but it does send a clear message of understanding and vindication.

It's a simple thing to say, but for an entire country to do so is an astounding and mature action. So, today, February 13th 2008, I can say without a doubt that I am proud of my country.


rand(om) bites said...

It's a very proud moment in Australian history :-)

Clea Simon said...

It is a good thing. But now what about reparations? (As a US citizen, maybe I shouldn't be asking, but I think we all owe some debts).

Daniel Hatadi said...

Clea, that's been a very contentious issue from the moment the apology was announced. There was a calling for a lump sum to be paid, but the apology is a symbolic gesture that is also the start of a concerted effort to repair the community and relationships.

As far as I know, there has already been a system in place for compensation for the members of the Stolen Generation, but perhaps this may make more claims come through from those that may not have been aware of the possibility.

It's a complex matter and I don't know nearly enough about it, but I do know that this is an important step in a positive direction.

Jeez, I sound like a polly.

angie said...

I watched the entire speech and have to! Nice to hear a politician acknowledge an ugly truth and not only apologize, but try to come up with a plan to address the inequities. I'm not talking about reparations (always a sticky topic), but about the plan to even up the appalling gaps in life expectancy, education, and infant mortality. All huge, huge issues. Rudd apology was everything the Catholic churches a few years back wasn't. Yay, Australia!

Daniel Hatadi said...

Pretty wild, huh? His popularity on the polls is at a record high right now. Just goes to show that you can be a little more personable and still be a leader.