Monday, December 03, 2007

Apology to Aborigines: Words Only

Kevin Rudd has been sworn in as the 26th Prime Minister of occupied Australia.

In the first few hours of his victory over John Howard he made the promise that he would offer an apology to the Aborigines.

I wondered what an apology would look like for Rudd. And now I know.

Yesterday Ana sent me this article which once again proves the truism that apologies are mostly instruments of political manipulation.

The brief article states Rudd's position:

Apologising ... for past injustices would not open the door to compensation claims ...

Asked if that might lead to compensation claims, Mr Rudd told Southern Cross Broadcasting: "Not at all".

"I believe that the only appropriate thing that we've got to get right is the exact language of the apology," he said.

"The purpose of saying sorry is to build a bridge, establish respect so we can move on with the practical business of closing the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous life expectancy and other challenges facing indigenous communities."

Mr Rudd has not yet said whether the apology would include the word "sorry".

He has promised to consult indigenous groups on the precise wording.

What then, in these terms, is the purpose of an apology? Rudd is not talking about reparations, restitution, or rehabilitation.

Is he really expecting that most Aborigines would accept this watered-down excuse for facing up to the horrors of colonialism and Australian apartheid?

And what, if anything, is he going to do about the draconian measures Howard forced onto Aborigines in the Northern Territory?

I am dismayed but expected this apology nonsense to fall flat. It is the usual double-speak and unrepentant racism that characterizes settler governance in occupied Australia.

For this reason, our TOURIST BOYCOTT of AUSTRALIA PETITION has been updated and will stay open for more signatures.

Please sign the petition and vow to stand by our Aborigine sisters and brothers because words are not deeds.

Sign the petition here

Get the banner here

The struggle for justice continues. Onward!

This post also appears at: Indigenist Intelligence Review


Lindsay said...

the pacifying tactics of politicians are always so condescending. Like you said this is only a ploy and will not lead to any sort of reconciliation. I tell my preschoolers that apologizing means that you wull NOT do it again. maybe someone should take thises politicians back to preschool to learn the actual meaning of an apology.

Peace to ya,

Ridwan said...

You are right Lindsay. Rudd has interests and does not want to erode the support he gets from the majority who would agree that a words only apology is sufficient.

I am glad that Howard is gone. But he is not gone because white oz thinks he handed the Aborigines a raw deal.

In fact Ana has sent me an article that talks of the new indigenous minister's plans to duplicate aspects of Howard's policies in the Northern Territory.

Sorry story for sure.

Peace and struggle,