One of our first posts was about Australia’s National Day of Healing (aka Sorry Day). It happens every February 13, the anniversary of the Australian Parliament’s decision to apologize to the indigenous peoples they’d had screwed over and abused for so long. That apology, delivered by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in 2008, is a rare example of a superb political apology. There’s no weaselly dependence on the term “regret” instead of “sorry.” There is specificity: Rudd called the country’s longtime mistreatment of the aboriginal people a “blemished chapter in our nation’s history.” The address uses words like “suffering,” “injustice,” “indignity” and “degradation.” It doesn’t blame “political enemies” or that OTHER guy’s political party. It uses the term “successive generations,” making clear that racism is an ongoing — not eradicated — problem.
Given Australia’s recent good apologies, it’s a huge bummer to have to report that these days Aussie citizens have taken to apologizing for their government. Continue reading