Australia Says 'Sorry' to Aborigines 21 replies

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Sgt. D. Pilla

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#1 10 years ago

Australia says 'sorry' to Aborigines [COLOR=Black] 2 hours ago[/COLOR]

CANBERRA (AFP) — Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd delivered an historic apology to the Aboriginal people on Wednesday for injustices committed over two centuries of white settlement. The apology was viewed as a watershed for the country, with television networks airing it live and crowds gathering around huge screens in major cities to witness the event.

"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," Rudd said in an address to parliament. Up to 3,000 people, mainly Aborigines who had travelled from around Australia, massed near parliament to view the gesture of reconciliation, while others packed public galleries inside the building.

Rudd's apology went much further than the highly qualified statement initially expected, drawing emotional applause, cheers and tears from the crowd and finally a standing ovation both inside and outside parliament. It referred to the "past mistreatment" of all Aborigines, not just the "Stolen Generations" of children forcibly removed from their families, who provided the initial impetus for the apology. Rudd's speech did single out the "Stolen Generations", mostly mixed-race children, who were taken from their families up until the 1970s in a bid to assimilate them into white society while full-blooded Aborigines were expected to die out.

But it also offered a broader apology and repeatedly used the word "sorry," an expression that took on a huge symbolic meaning for Aborigines when Rudd's conservative predecessor John Howard refused to utter it when he was in power.

"For the pain, suffering and hurt of these stolen generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry," Rudd said.

"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." Rudd said "the injustices of the past must never, never happen again", adding that the apology was offered as part of "the healing of the nation."

"For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written," he said in what was billed as his most important speech since taking power in November. "We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians," he said.

In a direct and forceful speech, Rudd said the apology aimed "to remove a great stain from the nation's soul." He told parliament up to 50,000 children had been taken from their families, adding that there was "something terribly primal" in the first-hand stories of the "Stolen Generations." "The pain is searing, it screams from the pages, the hurt, the humiliation, the degradation and the sheer brutality of the act of physically separating a mother from her children is a deep assault on our senses and on our most elemental humanity," he said.

Aborigines are believed to have numbered up to a million at the time of white settlement, but only some 470,000 remain.

They are Australia's most impoverished minority, with a lifespan 17 years shorter than the national average, and disproportionately high rates of imprisonment, heart disease and infant mortality.

Australia's new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's first act of power on the first day of Parliament was to apologize to the Aboriginal People after years of avoidance by John Howard. This is only the first step in the right direction, but it is a great historical achievement that will be remembered for years to come. I personally think it is a great thing that has been done merely 2 hours ago, on the lawns of Parliament House in Canberra ACT. It has been a long overdue issue, that John Howard took no steps to correct, I look forward to seeing what happens in terms of actions in the future... I also feel that we are already, more united as an Australian Community, and people, white people of Australia no longer have to feel 'shut off' (Per Say) from the Aboriginal people, and the Aboriginal people, I think feel somewhat of relief, and more a part of the Australian people then they may have previously. I also think that this shows a significance in the difference between a PM that was 'war' oriented, and a PM that is for the Australian people in terms of Education, unity, health care etc... The great thing about Rudd's speech is the fact he didn't try to shift the blame to anyone else, be it the tax payers or other people of 'importance' in previous governments of Australia, he never pulled any punches during his speech, which I have a feeling Howard would have made a few cheap shots

However, the above is just my opinion; I want to know the opinion of the FileFront community, and in particular other Australian people

[COLOR=Blue]Source:[/COLOR] AFP: Australia says 'sorry' to Aborigines

I can't guarantee the accuracy of the above source, as this moment only occurred 2 hours ago




-DarthMaul-

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#2 10 years ago

Damn you guys beat us to it..good job.

Honeslty up to this date I didnt know that they required such an apology, but now that reading into it.. And damn I feel sorry for them, that last sentence just stings...

And he really IS a good PM, I have Australiam-Muslim friends over in Australia and I believe msot muslims voted for him because he was a more honest + better PM. I myself wouldnt know, because no offense really, Im not into Australian politics, the country seems too nice for me to care about its politics :)




Sgt. D. Pilla

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#3 10 years ago

*Reads last sentence* Woow, that does sting a bit, to be honest I didn't read the quote I posted other then a few paragraphs as I heard it and saw it on TV.

I voted for Rudd, and I'm happy, and feel a lot of relief that I did; Rudd is going to do great things for Australia.

BTW, What did we beat you to? lol




-DarthMaul-

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#4 10 years ago

Well I dont think we in America apologized to our own version of the "Aborigines" yet.. Which is why I really commend Australia for that.




Locomotor

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#5 10 years ago

While the practical effects of such words, being mere words, is questionable, I think what Rudd did was admirable. A lot of people don't seem to realize just how important history is to some indigenous cultures. "What's the big deal, it's not like we raped their people" is sure to come up sooner or later. But for a people that existed there (or with the Native Americans over here) for thousands of years before the white man showed up and fucked shit up, it might as well have been yesterday. If Rudd was really sincere, I'm sure his words were appreciated.

Now, to put those words into action.




DarthParrot

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#6 10 years ago

If only the U.S. could get a Prime Minister like that...

I'm really glad that this has finally happened. You know, now that I think about it, I think this is the first time that anyone in the world has ever apologized for white colonists opressing minorities. If that's true, then this is definately a big step in world history.




Sgt. D. Pilla

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#7 10 years ago

Yeah its true, and today has be estatic at worse, in terms of TV media coverage. Of course there are a minority of critics who don't agree with it, and I can see where they are coming from, It wasn't our generation of people who did it, and back in those days, they were more British heritage then Australian, but the fact still exists that they were Australian, no matter how strong their heritage was

@DarthParrot I was agreeing with what you said about this being the first, however, I found this quote...

The apology places Australia among a handful of nations that have offered official apologies to oppressed minorities, including Canada's 1998 apology to its native peoples, South Africa's 1992 expression of regret for apartheid and the U.S. Congress' 1988 law apologizing to Japanese-Americans for their internment during World War II.

[COLOR="Blue"]Source:[/COLOR] ABC News: Australia Apologizes to Aborigines




Flodgy

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#8 10 years ago

Locomotor;4212210While the practical effects of such words, being mere words, is questionable, I think what Rudd did was admirable. A lot of people don't seem to realize just how important history is to some indigenous cultures. "What's the big deal, it's not like we raped their people" is sure to come up sooner or later. But for a people that existed there (or with the Native Americans over here) for thousands of years before the white man showed up and fucked shit up, it might as well have been yesterday. If Rudd was really sincere, I'm sure his words were appreciated.

Now, to put those words into action.[/quote]

[quote=Sgt. D. Pilla;4212250]Yeah its true, and today has be estatic at worse, in terms of TV media coverage. Of course there are a minority of critics who don't agree with it, and I can see where they are coming from, It wasn't our generation of people who did it, and back in those days, they were more British heritage then Australian, but the fact still exists that they were Australian, no matter how strong their heritage was

I agree largely with what Loco said.

Now that's done, I am one of those critics that disagrees with it.

Currently the Aboriginals of Australia have amazing opportunities, and a good majority of them share the same standards are their fellow white man, it is thanks to the media that the minority have their situation over-blown.

Many Aboriginal students that took part in my final year at school were offered absolutely fucking brilliant scholarships, simply because of their heritage. And I'm willing to bet that many of them didn't even know their history themselves.

Yes what happened to the Stolen Generations was a horrible act, and yes I agree that 'sorry' should be said for it, but that should be as far as it goes.

The word 'sorry' implies compensation, and that is all the protesters out there were trying to gain today. Money, simply to further than own needs in a world that already does more than it needs to for them. The mistreatment happened in a different time, and they have grown to adapt with the world. Those that were at the announcement today and waited for this moment did nothing but remember a grudge which affected the lives of a relative that sits on the mantelpiece.

Don't get me wrong, it is good to remember such events as to stop them happening again. I just don't believe that they deserve the amount of benefits they are getting. You want equality? Aim for it over the values of today. Not the past.




Sgt. D. Pilla

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#9 10 years ago
FlodgyNow that's done, I am one of those critics that disagrees with it.

One in every bunch ;) But your entitled to your own opinion, I can't say I agree with anything you said, other then they do get a lot of compensation already




Nemmerle Forum Mod

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#10 10 years ago

Apologising for a past neither group has ever seen is pointless and the basic premise behind it, that we are forever to be held accountable for the actions of our ancestors, is somewhat disturbing. The past's the past and that's where it should stay. Even everything out, no positive discrimination, no negative discrimination, and then lay it to wrest.