February 13, 2008

Australia apologizes to Aborigines

Australia Apologizes to AboriginesAborigines organized breakfast barbecues in the Outback, schools held assemblies and giant TV screens went up in state capitals as Australians watched a live broadcast of their government Wednesday apologizing for policies that degraded its indigenous people.

In a historic parliamentary vote that supporters said would open a new chapter in race relations, lawmakers unanimously adopted Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's motion on behalf of all Australians.

"We apologize for the laws and policies of successive parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians," Rudd said in Parliament, reading from the motion.

The apology is directed at tens of thousands of Aborigines who were forcibly taken from their families as children under now abandoned assimilation policies.


writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
What, no text? No emotional ANZAC actor reading it aloud? So, what would it have said and sounded like?
"Oh, we of the 2008 white Australian cultural majority APOLOGIZE that we took our existence from you, the aboriginals, at the cost of your peoples, your cultures, your animals, your existences, your freedoms, your histories, and your original continent. That you now live as third-class citizens in our society and only are seen if we so should wish, forgive us because we only had the best intentions when we came here to your continent. We the Australian people apologize, and now will say, come to the back door of Parliament to get your copies of this apology. And remember, it is non-binding..."
All Best
Russ Bates

Rob said...

Text:  Australia's apology

Lynette said...

I must raise the issue of skepticism about the intent of such apologies. Before the Apology I had high hopes that the Apology to the Stolen Generations would unleash such empathy and grieving across all of Australian society that it would launch the entire continent into any outpouring of grief and healing. What actually happened is that while my father and I were in tears listening to Rudd's apology my Aunty simply responded with a statement to the effect that "if we hadn't have taken them, they would have killed us all." I had to exercise the greatest restraint in my life in order to resist the urge to push her up against the wall and slowly kill her by clawing her eyes out and driving my thumbs into her brain! (She is the great grandmother and great great grandmother of Aboriginal children). As another Stolen Generation friend said however "the Apology may not have meant much to other Australians but it meant allot to us." This link gives some idea to community opinion on the issue:


There are growing questions doubting the sincerity of the Stolen Generations Apology as "largely symbolic" without any "substantive policy achievements". Academic John Pilger in particular has called it no more than a "shrewd manoeuvre":





It is now evident that under policies such as the Northern Territory intervention "Aboriginal children are being taken from their parents in numbers much greater than the Stolen Generations.":



The Stolen Generations Apology has also recently lead to an apology to non-Indigenous children abandoned an abused in institutions but without the associated right wing outcry:


There appears there will be no offer of compensation in either case: