Thursday, 14 February 2008

first post and the apology

So I decided to set up one of these blogger things because Ryan did. And because I wanted to get away from Myspace. So here it is.

I really want to write something about the Apology today. If you're familiar with Australia and what has been going on over the last few days, then this will mean little to you, so maybe skip it.

I drove into the city to join the gathering at Federation Square and watch the address on the big screen, and was immediately struck with the number of people there. The square was easily the fullest I've ever seen it. There was just so many people there. Indigenous, Non-Indigenous, young, old, hippies, corporates, yuppies, musos, they were all there. And not only were they there, but there was an unspoken buzz. Everyone was there and completely unified. There was excitement in the air, the Nation was finally about to make a step forward.

The Prime Minister gave an address which had me on the verge of tears, and many, many others well and truly over. We'd done it, we'd finally said sorry. The gate was now open for the wrongs of yesterday to be righted, and for the nation to walk through as one people.

But then something happened which caught me completely by surprise. Brendon Nelson, the leader of the opposition rose to give his address. I could not believe my ears. After hearing such a refreshingly to the point delivery from Rudd, falling on my ears like snowflakes, Nelsons words were like bricks through a window. Coming barely short of saying the Stolen Generation was a good thing, he tried to justify the actions of the Government of the time and the people with "the best of intentions". He talked about the Northern Territory intervention, and listed all the things wrong with Indigenous Culture (ironically, almost all of the things he listed i believe happen just as much in white culture.. perhaps we're just better at hiding it) and tried to glorify the actions and policies of the last 14 years of Liberal Government.

I came home from work and checked my email, facebook, myspace and all the usual, and found that while a great majority of my friends can recognize today as being a massive landmark, and a long overdue step in the right direction, there were those who didn't. While many of us united in respect with a tiny gesture of the facebook status "x is sorry", one particular person on my list had "x isn't sorry".

I looked at my myspace bullitens, and one person who i consider of great intelligence posted the following (after a first saying "why do I have to say Sorry myspace? I didn't do anything"):-

Date: 13 Feb 2008 12:06 AM
Subject: sorry.
Body: nah, just kidding.

sorry for questioning debunked clap-trap like the stolen generation.


p.s. gerard, definitely not aimed at you.

After being lucky enough to be able to witness such a historic event in such an unforgettable environment, with so many people in such peaceful, expectant unity, and then watching Archie Roach sing "They Took the Children Away", and end the song in tears, and share an embrace with his wife Ruby, to come home and discover that people can still have these hateful, ignorant, selfish views made me feel physically ill. How can these people possibly think this? How can we still hold onto the insensitive petty pride and spineless buck passing "it's not my fault!" toting immaturity which has been dividing this country for eighty years?

I lay on my bed this afternoon and dug out my Mike Mccarthy cd "firefloodfreedom", and played it from track five. I lay there for an hour or two with my eyes shut, and tears rolling down my face.

Fire flood freedom

We live in a beautiful Country
We come from a beautiful land
My friends who lived here before me
Your ways I must understand

Cause I’ve been ignorant to your customs
And I’ve read misleading thoughts of white man
Please find forgiveness in your spirit
Your ways I must understand

“These times are ready for change”,
This faint whisper touches my ear
The seed has surely been planted
Are we so proud we cannot say we’re sorry?

Can you hear the whisper stirring up the soul?
Flames from a fire that refuse to give in
Start to scorch your conscience…
Burning off exterior, exposing what’s within.

Living, breathing country
Beautiful and sacred land
Happy, smiling faces…
Keep helping me to understand

“These times are ready for change”,
This faint whisper touches my ear
The seed has surely been planted
Are we so proud we cannot say we’re sorry?

Water, blood and the flow of life
Pulling down all our pretence
Forcing us to realise…

“These times are ready for change”,
This faint whisper touches my ear
The seed has surely been planted
Are we so proud we cannot say we’re sorry?

Mike Mccarthy- Firefloodfreedom, Significant Records

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