Australia Says Sorry

by Christine Sine

I thought that you might be interested in this news from Down Under. Better late than never and a very appropriate message for Lent. Morris Stuart and his wife Barbara have been very involved in Aboriginal affairs in Australia. The painting is by Barbara and was inspired by one of the massacre sites in Australia. It depicts the spirits of Aboriginals that still haunt this landscape where tourists now wander.

Ghostly Spirits
On the night before our national parliament apologises to members, relations and descendants of the “Stolen Generations”, I thought I’d write to to ask you to do something special tomorrow: Light a candle, gather with friends for breakfast, share a morning coffee with workmates and respond to the government’s invitation to ‘stop, watch and listen’ to the drama unfolding in Federal Parliament. The Prime Minister has asked all Australians to stop and participate in this national act of contrition and reconciliation: a unique moment in Australian history.
Australians who will not be able to sit in the public galleries in Parliament, will join in this historic moment by watching it on giant screens on the lawns before Parliament house in Canberra, Martin Place in Sydney, Federation square in Melbourne and the Aboriginal Advancement League in Fitzroy – to mention just a few places where you might join others if these locations are in your vicinity. Barb and I will be sharing this moment with a few in our lounge. If you’d like to join with us here at 16 Paxton Street, you are very welcome to join us at 8.45 a.m. tomorrow Wednesday 13th February 2007.
I watched a woman who was forcibly taken away, telling her story and that of her siblings and family on the ABC’s 7.30 Report. It was heart-wrenching and heart-warming. I hope Andrew Bolt saw it! (If you missed it, you can review it on www.abc.net.au/7.30report )
Tomorrow marks a new day. Listen for the words of thankfulness, relief and forgiveness that will come from our Aboriginal fellow countrywomen and men. We can now all move ahead together. They say this apology is ‘symbolic’. I predict however, that this one action will have the most profoundly positive impact on the self-esteem of indigenous people, and will contribute an enormous amount to addressing the practical challenges that are currently facing Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal people.
We are Sorry!
In harness
Morris

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