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Whatever 2008 has in store for us, it will certainly be remembered in Australia as the year that Australia said íSORRYí to itís indigenous population.

In truth, the Prime Minister - Mr Rudd - said sorry, and many people agreed with that. Many people, but not all. Many Australians have not said sorry, nor see any reason to do so. Either they are in denial of the atrocities committed against our indigenous brothers and sisters, or they feel no responsibility for it.

I can understand both views. I find manís inhumanity to man hard to believe sometimes. How could a world populated by such a caring, intelligent species commit such acts of criminal horror that we sanitize with words such as ígenocideí and even ístolen childrení.

Alas, but I am forced to admit that our world is full of people who did - and still do - commit such atrocities.

And I could take the view that I am not responsible for the actions of the past. I was not even in Australia when children were torn from their families because of the colour of their skin.

But if I am not responsible for such actions, I am responsible for not being outraged by them. For forty-three years I have lived here without being outraged. For that I am very sorry.

In truth, being sorry has little to do with responsibility. It has to do with ceasation of denial. I am sorry about many things in this world - most of which happened before and/or despite me. But I am still sorry, and I still want things changed. Either you agree with things or you donít. If you donít then you are sorry they have occurred and work towards changing them.

This is the essense of the SORRY that I believe we all owe.

I am sorry about the way this country has treated itís indigenous peoples over the years. I do not agree with it, and I want changes! I know that the past is unchangeable but the present (and the future) is not. We can build a better and fairer future, but that starts with the recognition of the mistakes (intentional or otherwise) of the past.

Iíve tried to put my feelings down in another form - a little item entitled Sorry

Copyright 2008 Christopher Moore

See also Thatís all in the past now.

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