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.