Sorry

(Recycled from the House of Love)

Today is National Sorry Day.

Some Australians will take a moment today to make a personal apology to the ‘stolen generations’, the thousands of aboriginal Australians who were forcibly removed from their families from the beginning of European settlement in Australia in 1788 until as late as 1970.

"… I just couldn’t stop crying. All I could see was our little camp. My baby brother’s bottle was laying on the ground. And I could see where my brother and sisters were making mud pies in a Sunshine milk tin that we used for our tea or soup. I didn’t know where my parents were. I was sad, crying, lost; didn’t know what I was going to do …"

— from Rose’s story in Bringing Them Home

Below is my personal apology.

To all of you who were taken from your families, or whose children were taken from you; to all of you who were abused, beaten, molested or forced into unpaid labour in the institutions to which you were sent; to those of you who were told your parents were dead, or had given you up; to those of you whose skin was lighter and who were told you were white; for the horrible, inexcusable theft from you of your identities, of your communities, of your language and your connection to the land; for the conspiracy of silence which denied that these atrocities ever took place; for the crimes of many white Australians like me, I am truly sorry.

Although these events happened, in the most part, before I was born, I genuinely accept my share, as a member of the occupying race in this country, of responsibility for these injustices. I also acknowledge that many of those who were involved in this process were acting with good, but misguided intentions; this does little to ameliorate the hurt which has been caused. I truly believe that, together, we have the capacity to face our shared past maturely and honestly, and to exorcise the demons we have created. It is my hope that this apology will go some small way toward building trust and respect between all Australians.

Finally, I call on the Prime Minister to make an official apology to the Stolen Generations on my, and all Australians’, behalf.

Paul Kidd
Darlinghurst, 1998-05-26

You can make your own apology to the Stolen Generations at Apology Australia.