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Mota Boy
02-21-2008, 03:15 AM
So, Australia apologized (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/feb/12/australia.aborigines?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews). Apparently, it was a big deal. Crowds gathered to watch it live, people cheered, some wept. It dominated the news cycle. It dominated the date - a "Sorry Day" was declared. Everyone was talking about it.

In Hong Kong, the South China Morning Post ran an editorial called "Now It's America's Turn", which declared that Canada and Australia had already apologized to their indigenous people. Now, America should. And for slavery, too. We've already apologized for interring Japanese-Americans during WWII, and maybe for something else. Apparently, the Canadian apology the author cited wasn't enough, though, as someone thinks Canada should apologize some more (http://www.cbc.ca/canada/manitoba/story/2008/02/14/apology.html?ref=rss).

My whole reaction is... huh? I fail to understand why this apologizing is a big deal. Why it should be a big deal. I mean, really. It's fucking words. It's an admissions of guilt, it's an invitation to litigation (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080212.waustralia0213/BNStory/International).

For me, I just don't see the point. I mean, I suppose it is somewhat more understandable in Australia's case, as it refers to "crimes" by the state that went on up until the '70's, so many of the victims are alive to hear the words, but I fail to see why on Earth someone from outside the US should care whether or not we apologize to a race of people for things that happened decades, if not centuries ago. I don't understand the need for a concrete admission of guilt, for a formal apology. I think it's silly.

I mean, where does it end? Every single nation out there has inflicted some kind of damage on some form of humanity at some point in its history. Should we all just collectively apologize for everything? And while Rudd represents the government of Australia, he obviously did not do so three decades prior - he is, in effect, apologizing for other people's actions, from a different era. Personally, I just... don't think it's a big deal, think that it should be a big deal. Obviously, however, my opinion is not universal. So what do you think? Is apologizing for past sins a legitimate duty of government? For which crimes? Who owes an apology to whom? If I don't think it's a big deal, should I support an apology merely because someone else does? What the hell is with "Sorry Day"?

jacknife737
02-21-2008, 04:45 AM
I agree, it’s essentially ridiculous for a current government to apologize for stuff that happened in the distant past. I mean, should my Scottish relatives seek an apology for what happened at the Glencoe Massacre? That said, when it comes to issues like the Canadian Residential Schools, the government clearly should do something to remedy the situation, especially since there are still survivors around today. As well, when it comes to other major issues (that have current survivors), ie the Holocaust, Japanese POW camps from WWII, Nanking, etc, i do feel that even thought the current government may not have held power during that era, an apology is certainly appropriate, as those affected by those atrocities will need some sort of closure.

Nicole
02-21-2008, 09:36 AM
Yeah, Rudd hasn't really done a single thing against the Aboriginal people that I heard of, but I think it's a decent precedent for moving forward so to speak. I mean if you view Rudd as the head of an institution, namely the Australian Government, which has fucked over the Aboriginal people repeatedly (yes recent history, 2006 Howard government does a back-flip instead of ignoring the plight of these people as he has done for years, hears allegations of child sex offenses that have been ignored time and time again so what does he do? send up the fucking ARMY). I dunno that's my argument on why he felt he should do so, responsibility of being in the Australian Government, its kind of a continuum. I don't know how else to describe it, and that's my slant on being recent history because it was only last year we last decided to have some huge overreaction, and that's about the 600th reason why I really didn't like the Howard Government, as you already know and I gather you were down here long enough to find that a lot of people felt the same. Howard refused to say sorry to the Aboriginal people, namely for the reasons of litigation, upfront anyway. Do a little research into what the Howard government did for the Aboriginal people, which has been needing to be done for a long long time, and you basically find that a group of people in crisis had been ignored for however many years he was in power and you find that basically we just had a racist as anything PM, his track record with human rights with any group of people that aren't white Australians is a disgrace. People in detention centre's, Amnesty international and the UN I believe were jumping all over our arses, I find it hard to swallow that the whole issue was entirely about litigation when the government has such a bad record and did NOTHING to help these people.

So lets just look at the facts. I basically hate arguing with my friends about the whole situation because in a nutshell- they all hate Aboriginal people, well most do and I was surprised to find one single friend that felt differently. They see them as criminals, alcoholics, people going nowhere really fast. That's fairly true in many a case and I don't think I would want to meet up with some of them in a dark alley but that's not particularly race related, is it now? But to a lot of Aussies, they hear about Aboriginals and they think scum. Look at the state so many are living in. They die on average 20 years younger than the rest of the nation. They have higher infant mortality rates by a long shot. The health care they receive, or lack of, is profoundly disturbing. Education is up shit creek without a paddle. Alcoholism is rampant as is petrol sniffing although they've started putting in Opal fuel which is unsniffable and apparently that's starting to work, doesn't really solve a lot of the issues though. Basically you have to look at the history to realise why these people are so damn downtrodden and fucked up, the Australian Government is responsible for a hell of a lot. Well firstly we took their land, which was basically the European order of the day- if you were nomadic the land was basically up for grabs. Then you have to look at how they were treated in society, kind of the American-style racism "No blacks here" etc. Oh, and look at the laws the Aboriginal people were dictated under- the fucking flora and fauna act and this was only lifted about 50 years ago. I've even heard stories that you used to be able to get a license to go shoot Aboriginal people back over a century ago, kind of the same way you'd go hunting wild animals. I have no idea how true this is, but nothing surprises me anymore. So the argument was there anything to say sorry for is a definite yes. I know you're leaning more towards "well things were pretty bad" argument but you questioned whether a formal apology was really required and for an institution that does that kind of damage and has that kind of power anything less than a formal apology would be worthless. Did you hear Brendon Nelsons apology? What a fucking prat and basically he's got the same reaction as a lot of my embarrassing friends who think a centrelink handout is going to fix everything and why should we pity them when we give them money? Because we're so damn racist that it's really putting all progress at a standstill? That's what I think.

Whoops, that kind of turned into a rant about why I think Australia and many of its past governments are nothing short of an embarrassment. I like the idea of the apology but I'm a bit cautious about the whole litigation issue, its not something I want to happen but shit, kind of goes with the territory and improving the situation for these people has to start somewhere, and improving relations and admitting that those that came before you made huge mistakes that wrecked a lot of lives really doesn't go astray, I don't know really. That's my only drawback and I hope it doesn't go down that road.

Should America say sorry? Well that's a tough question and I know waaay more about Australian-Aboriginal relations and social history than I do about American history. I don't even know how government initiated most of the things people were whining about are, were they even initiated by the state that now stands? But I really don't think because one country apologized that every other one should haphazardly throw together an apology.

I don't think it's a big deal either but it made me happy to think that we finally might start getting somewhere. We've got years of mismanagement to overturn and it's nice somebody at the least has good intentions.

HornyPope
02-24-2008, 12:55 AM
It's something to teach in schools. It's history, it's politics...

In 2007, prime minister Kevin Rudd has issued an apology for...

I think countries have their bad periods and good periods, and it's good to recognise the 'good' as a model to follow in the future.

IamSam
02-24-2008, 05:32 AM
Why apologize for something that is only going to open a bigger can of worms?

"Oh we're sorry that our ancestors didn't think your ancestors were human."

People need to learn to let go of the past, not forget it, but learn from it so that it doesn't get repeated.

HornyPope
02-25-2008, 07:25 AM
Why apologize for something that is only going to open a bigger can of worms?

"Oh we're sorry that our ancestors didn't think your ancestors were human."

People need to learn to let go of the past, not forget it, but learn from it so that it doesn't get repeated.

How do you learn from the past if you don't establish what's wrong and what's right first?

killer_queen
02-25-2008, 09:47 AM
Well, of course it is a big deal. It might not kill the pain and hatred that minorities feel for their tortured ancestors but it would sure lessen it. Which probably causes less racism, less discrimination and less hate crimes and I don't think it is a bad thing.

I think just accepting the crime is much more important than apologizing. I don't know much about what happens in Australia but the Turkish government still doesn't accept the Armenian genocide which, I'm sure, makes Armenians pretty mad. What's worse is it makes nationalist Turks even more mad. Even I know at least a dozen of people who would kill an Armenian just for being one. And I'm talking about smart, well educated people. I don't even want to think about the stupid, ignorant ones. Things could have been so much better if the government accepted and apologized for it years ago. If they had done that, both Armenians and Turks would be less hateful and angry now. Litigation? yeah, maybe that would make us lose tons of money but I think it is a small price for a peaceful society.

So yeah, I think the governments should apologize, even for the smallest things. You can't expect people to accept that their ancestors were guilty if the government does not accept it first.

Vera
02-25-2008, 11:09 AM
Sari: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sari

I agree with Gulsah that admitting to the crime is more important than apologizing. It might feel a bit empty, the apology, but in the end it's much better than letting those unspoken attrocities just go unacknowledged.

Finland has done some shitty things to the only indigenous people still living in modern day Europe, and that kind of shames me as a Finn. Sure we *kind* of give them a break nowadays but considering the fact their history, culture and language (which is related to our own, I should add) is just an amazing thing, I think the government could do so much more to back them up.

wheelchairman
02-25-2008, 12:32 PM
Don't forget you're also nazis.

My mom came back from Helsinki with swastika coffee mugs. Shame on you Finnland!

Mota Boy
02-25-2008, 10:04 PM
I know you're leaning more towards "well things were pretty bad" argument but you questioned whether a formal apology was really required and for an institution that does that kind of damage and has that kind of power anything less than a formal apology would be worthless.My point was that I think a formal apology is also worthless. I mean, were it to come a couple years after the fact, it would be one thing - "Shit, we're sorry, here's some compensation" - but decades? After everyone involved is long retired or deceased? I mean, I can understand it being done, but it doesn't seem like it should be something that dominates the news cycle, that requires a special assembly of parliament.


Well, of course it is a big deal. It might not kill the pain and hatred that minorities feel for their tortured ancestors but it would sure lessen it. Which probably causes less racism, less discrimination and less hate crimes and I don't think it is a bad thing.

So yeah, I think the governments should apologize, even for the smallest things. You can't expect people to accept that their ancestors were guilty if the government does not accept it first.But doesn't that dilute the power of the apology? If the government issues a formal apology for a slight snub, doesn't that trivialize apologizing for genocide?


Sari: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sari

Sari: http://www.lyricsdomain.com/14/nellie_mckay/sari.html

...did you think you were telling me something I didn't know?

And what do you mean by "the government could do more to back them up?" Do you mean "should"? By removing barriers that they have or by actively giving them assistance?

Vera
02-26-2008, 07:31 AM
No, it's just that every time I saw the thread I thought it was about saree's.

I'm not all that well-educated in the issues that the Sami people might be facing. They have a constitutional right to receive all kinds of governmental services in their native tongue - as do Swedish-speaking Finns - but that works out even less with Samis. Language is one issue, means of livelihood is another; I don't know the details but I do know that they've had some issues with the laws regarding reindeer economy, which has been their traditional livelihood for centuries (since you know, Finns came and drove them up north).

So I'm really not fit to argue the whole thing, I just know things ain't right concerning this and if the MP's paid more attention to it, I would be happier to call myself a Finn.

Nicole
02-29-2008, 04:16 AM
My point was that I think a formal apology is also worthless. I mean, were it to come a couple years after the fact, it would be one thing - "Shit, we're sorry, here's some compensation" - but decades? After everyone involved is long retired or deceased? I mean, I can understand it being done, but it doesn't seem like it should be something that dominates the news cycle, that requires a special assembly of parliament.



Yeah but as I said, a lot of it was for the treatment of the last government which only left in November. Tanks, dude! And general neglect of the problems despite the fact that they were well known and it all culminated in some pointless overreaction that only really served to seperate Aboriginals more from the rest of society and really pull the power over them. It wasn't just an apology for the shit that was generations ago. I made these points elsewhere in my argument, which was long as, but this issue is one of the few that gets me worked up and at the same time I feel like I know my stuff, so I really get into it and er, ramble.