Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Saying Sorry is a Symbolic Sham


Aborigine protesters above demonstrate outside Parliament House, Canberra, against Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's scheduled "apology" for "past assimilation policies."

So what does Rudd's "apology" really mean? Can anyone reasonably believe that saying sorry is enough?

I don't think so.


Frank Byrne was "stolen" from his mother, Maudie Yooringun, when he was five. A week later he saw his mother again for the last time in his life.

Six decades later Mr. Byrne recalls the time he was "stolen":

"The government came to Christmas Creek where we had a mud house and told me I was been taken away.

My mum was completely ignored. She was not a human. That's what they thought in those days. The government fella said: 'I am your total guardian'.

You could see the sorrow in my mother's eye. I could see the tears rolling down as she was driven away. I was held there by a couple of blokes as the truck went away."

What kind of government can only offer an apology inside of this kind of brutal inhumanity?

Mr. Byrne puts it best when he says "I've been hurt. I've been hurt very deeply. Since they took me away from my mother I have lived only in sorry and anger ... Sorry is a word. It's just a hollow word."

Yes brother, saying sorry is an absolute political ruse!

And reconciliation and healing are empty words meant to distance the despicable past from the hands that direct the present day occupation.

Under these terms there can be no justice but only racist denial.

Onward!

ps. (February 17): My further thinking on what is called the "Age of Apologies" appears here.

16 comments:

Ana said...

Kia Ora Brother

Tautoko

The removal of children was a racist policy of forced assimilation which we all know as genocide. All these white liberals will be patting themselves on the back because they are not the ones living with the states boot at their throats it is not their lived reality.

Your right Ridwan this is a fancy settler side step of genocide and racist denial.

Stop the Genocide on Stolen Aboriginal Land.

Mauri Ora
Ana

Dade said...

Hi, Ridwan.

"Sorry" is just a word. Especially when a government says "sorry" long after there is any possibility of real redress.

Mr. Byrne's story is heart-breaking, outrageous, and all-too-common I'm afraid.

At least there are people like you, who give voice to these victims.

Peace,
Dade

Desirée said...

I agree that sorry isn't enough. What more do you think should be done?

Ridwan said...

Salaam sista Ana.

It is good to hear your voice sista. I spent much of today thinking through the useless speech that Rudd delivered.

361 words of empty gestures.

I was struck by the manner that he used stories as if he had dominion to make them part of Australia now.

In South Africa we faced much of the same kind of duplicity with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

In the end the peoples stories of suffering belonged to the government ... they took what they needed to make the story fit the political interests.

Be well my sista.

Onward!
Ridwan

Ridwan said...

Hey there brother Dade. Thanks for your comment.

You are absolutely right brother, redress must be real.

To get there they need to address the genocide as Ana points out.

This round of nothing will amount to less than nothing.

Peace to you too brother,
Ridwan

Ridwan said...

Hey there Desiree. I trust all is well in Oxford.

I think that the place to start is to confront the genocide that is Australia.

Australia is occupied by a government that exists because of genocide.

The terms of negotiation must start from there.

Peace to you,
Ridwan

Ana said...

check this out bro;

Minutes of the 1937 "breed the colour out" conference

http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/story/minutes-1937-breed-colour-out-conference

and this:

"Sorry Day" criticised by John Pilger

Controversial expat Australian journalist John Pilger says Sorry Day is an event "without substance" geared towards white Australians, not indigenous people.

Pilger — who has made documentaries campaigning against the unfair treatment of indigenous Australians — told ninemsn Australians should boycott Sorry Day if they were serious about improving conditions for indigenous people.

"The 'sorry' is without much substance unless it is backed by an honest and massive rehabilitation campaign of all resources available to Aboriginal people," he said.

"Tears will be shed and there will be much emotion, but it will be over by next week."

He said Australia needed to sign a treaty, overhaul land rights, improve health benefits and implement comprehensive anti-poverty programs.

Pilger also criticised the government for not apologising at least a generation ago.

"Australia has treated its indigenous people worse than any other developed country," he said.

"Aboriginal people have been betrayed by every government since the Whitlam government."

He called on ordinary Australians not to celebrate Sorry Day unless they were going to take action on indigenous issues.

"To understand it they need to look at themselves and realise it's down to them to pressure their government to end the disgrace," he said.

"The whole 'sorry' thing is really to satisfy the white population, not the black population."

Pilger will unveil the world's largest poem in Sydney today to launch The Night Words Festival — a three-day celebration of rhythm and verse at the Sydney Opera House described as a "cosmopolitan corroborree".

The Public's Poem, displayed on a huge notebook almost five metres high, is a collection of one-line contributions from 400 young, old, native and new Australians compiled on Australia Day.

Pilger contributed this line: "Until whites give back to black their nationhood, they can never claim their own, no matter how many flags they fly."

Ridwan said...

Hello sista Ana.

Thanks for this information. I absolutely agree with Pilger!

Best wishes and peace.

Ridwan

Eugene said...

I do assume that this stupid fucking alleged apology isn't going to do a damned thing about the stealing of the aboriginal lands in the Northern Territories, right?

GW's Genocidal Daddy was supposed to give us "red Nig..." er...Indians an apology during his GENOCIDAL administration. However, he just gave us his deepest regrets. I gave him my deepest FUCK YOU!

Nothing is gonna change from this, as nothing is supposed to except white liberals in Australia are going to give themselves a sweet little congratulatory circle jerk.

Wanna know what should be done about the conditions of the aboriginal folks...EVERYTHING SHOULD BE GIVEN BACK TO THEM! That does not mean a sudden deportation policy. It means that whatever the aborigines want, the aborigines should get.

In case any readers here don't know for sure...GENOCIDE IS A FUCKING CRIME, and a few folks were hanged in Nuremburg for it. Some, however, were given high level security clearances in the U.S. government as well.

I'm still wondering where the hell Peter "King of the Cut Throats" Brzika is. I heard he came to the U.S. under an assumed name around 1958.

The U.S. loves their genocidal maniacs, and undoubtedly, Australia does as well.

nunya said...

Dude, off topic, sorry, but did you see this?


http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/EEE14737-B7F9-40D3-9E4F-246D810CE731.htm

S Africa to shut anti-crime agency

Mbeki had been a defender of the FBI-style organisation of the crime-fighting Scorpions [EPA]

South Africa's elite crime-fighting unit, the Scorpions, is to be disbanded in what comes as a blow to Thabo Mbeki, the country's president, who defended the FBI-style organisation.

Charles Nqakula, South Africa's safety and security minister, told parliament on Tuesday that the organisation would be dissolved and a new unit set up.

"The Scorpions ... will be dissolved and the organised crime unit of the police will be phased out and a new amalgamated unit will be created," he said.

The Scorpions have waged a bitter turf war with the police.

They have been accused of using their power to settle political scores, most notably in the case of Jacob Zuma, the African National Congress leader (ANC), who has been charged with corruption.

The Scorpions, who were established by Mbeki in 1999 to fight high-profile corruption cases, are not part of the police and report to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

The NPA answers to South Africa's justice department.

'Political tool'

In 2005 the Scorpions raided properties belonging to Zuma and his lawyer as part of a corruption inquiry against him.

The action prompted the pro-Zuma wing of the ruling party to brand the unit a political tool of Mbeki and push for it to be incorporated into the police.

The ANC passed a resolution to do so in December after overwhelmingly electing Zuma as leader in a two-man contest with Mbeki.

Mbeki had tried to fight to keep the Scorpions intact.

In 2004 the Scorpions arrested Mark Thatcher, the son of Margaret Thatcher, the former British prime minister, in connection with a plot to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea.

Ridwan said...

Hey Eugene:

Thanks for your comment. Very few can put it right like you do.

I remember daddy Bush's regret offering. How stupid was that hey?

Thanks brother.

Peace,
Ridwan

Ridwan said...

Hello Nunya. Thanks for bringing this issue up.

I am absolutely horrified at the manner in which the African National Congress has run over our constitution with this matter.

The scorpions are a thorn in their side for sure.

It was the scorpions who found ANC president Zuma on the take. He is to stand trial because of him.

The scorpions also found the police minister, Selebi, to have ties with mafia types and also on the take.

He too must stand trial.

So what to do with folks who are watching over this supposed democracy?

Ummmmm ... disband them and put them under the police ministry.

There they can be controlled and kept from bringing more corruption to the fore.

This is a sad development in our post-apartheid era.

I and many others are absolutely pissed.

But what can you do where the the ANC is so powerful in numbers that any opposition is hardly possible.

Damn shame sister.

Peace to you,
Ridwan

Shush li said...

Shus li has left a new comment on your post "Saying Sorry is a Symbolic Sham":

Hello, Ridwan

I will state my opinion at the risk of being perceived as a white liberal: The apology is just that and on its own a good thing. It is welcomed by many Australian Aborigines, from what I've read.

Of course, it is only a first step. Will there be more, or reparations? Probably not.

In fact, nothing will be made right for Australian Aborigines, Native Americans, Africans, or any other indigenous group until civilization collapses on its own or is brought down.

In the meantime, people are dying and our planet is very sick.

Here's to your health, and that of your fam.

Shulsi

Ridwan said...

Ridwan said...
Shush li thanks for your comment cousin. I would not think of you as a liberal in any context :0)

I see that there are Aborigines who welcome the apology.

I do not think they are in the majority.

But even if they were, the issue that cannot be skirted is that this apology was preceded by the condition that reparation/restitution is not an option.

I found it offensive to watch a white man, Rudd, steal the stories of Aborigine suffering and genocide for the purpose of reasserting white dominion over occupied Australia.

He is in no position to offer an apology without accepting that his government is part of a genocide.

He could aslo have removed Howard's hold on the Northern Territory but he did not.

In fact, he is moving to reinforce the Aborigine occupation.

Also, even as he read his 361 word wank there were white members of parliament who turned their back on him to show their disgust.

Rudd did not even acknowledge this racist protest, just like he did not acknowledge the mass protests by Aborigines outside parliament who see his apology for what it is.

Justice is more than just liberal gestures. It cannot avoid or be sidelined by injustices like racism and genocide.

Rudd's apology has done exactly that.

I trust you are well Shush li.

Peace to you,
Ridwan

Shus li said...

So, what I think you are saying is that it's all or nothing then.

There is an old adage that the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. That apology is one step.

However, in reality, none of the things you propose will ever come to pass. I know that. The same is true here on this continent as regards Native rights. As with the presidential elections, the powers that be have too much at stake to make an really meaningful changes.

What is required is a complete take-down of civilization in order to wrest our lands back, and our rights as indigenous folks. That's right - OUR rights as indigenous folk. Because, in spite of my pale hue, that is what I am.

Thank you for your interesting perspective and discussion on this topic.

Be well.

shus li

Ridwan said...

Hell cousin Shush li:

What I am saying is that waiting for white people to accept responsibility for racism and genocide is futile.

Pilger has pointed out that:
"The whole 'sorry' thing is really to satisfy the white population, not the black population."

He is absolutely right.

The terms of rearrangement are not intended toward redress in any terms.

The 'apology' is an insult in these terms and not a symbol of a journey or first step in my mind.

Aborigines are still an occupied people after the 361 word apology.

Thanks for your comment, be well cousin.

Peace,
Ridwan