Wednesday, February 13, 2008

It begins with a single word

So, after 220 years of oppression and genocide, and a couple of decades of political debate, the Australian government has finally apologised to Australia's indigenous peoples:

We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.

We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.

And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.

Some (predictably, Liberal Party) MPs are already saying that this doesn't matter, and that the apology won't make a difference. But the journey to a better, more tolerant Australia begins with a single word. And I'm glad that it has finally started.