‘We need to forgive and be forgiven, every day, every hour — unceasingly. That is the great work of love among the fellowship of the weak that is the human family.’ Henri Nouwen
Today is Sorry Day, which now commemorates and builds on the 2008 parliamentary apology to Australia’s indigenous people for past policies that resulted in dispossession and fragmentation of a people. It marked a fresh new beginning – possibilities and potential for collaborative problem solving. It was quickly apparent that saying “sorry” wasn’t enough. We still carry the legacy of our shared history and it is a complex matter to deal with. Apology places a necessary burden on both the giver and the receiver. Both have an opportunity to stand back and look at the mess and say “What now?” Old mistakes are prone to be repeated, such as the paternalism of the NT “intervention” or the easy fall-back – fostered reliance on welfare. New initiatives are also born from within indigenous communities and there are many great stories of health and education programs and business enterprises. Giving and receiving apology is hard work – and it is good to have days of focus that invite reflection on how far we’ve come and how far we have yet to travel.
Eureka Street has some relevant articles today: The quote at the head of this post is referred to in The moral challenge of accepting an apology.
Mark Green in, When ‘sorry’ is not enough, leads our reflection further.
Lives of urban Aboriginal women is the title of a film review of Here I am, “a hopeful story in which forgiveness and redemption are attainable goals.”