Wednesday, February 13, 2008

So much happening today. The Prime Minister of Australia, PM Kevin Rudd - sworn in on Tuesday - issued an official apology to the Aboriginal Indigenous people of Australia. Here are some excerpts from the Parliamentary speech, which I found on the bbc.com:

Today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.
We reflect on their past mistreatment.
We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were stolen generations -

this blemished chapter in our nation's history.
The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia's history by righting the wrongs of

the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.
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.
We the Parliament of Australia respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is

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.
We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all

Australians.
A future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.
A future where we harness the determination of all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to

close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic
opportunity.
A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches

have failed.
A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility.
A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and

with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia.

I agree with activists that it can't stop here, with an apology. The change must move from breath into form. And, if Australia can do this, why can't other nations do it? See, it's not too hard.

The weight of this official apology does not escape me. Especially today, following news of the loss of raulsalinas, a leader of the people who fought for most of his life for the dignity of the incarcerated, indigenous peoples, Chicanos/as, people of color and consciousness, and for a more just world.

From breath to form to breath again, we (are) transform(ed).

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