Saturday, May 26, 2007

national sorry day

40 years ago this week aboriginal australians were given full citizenship rights in their own country.  no, not a typo.  the people who have lived in this southern land for 40,000 years were only given voting and other rights four decades ago - about 180 years after white 'settlers' came here.  unbelievably aboriginals were not counted in the national census statistics till 1967.  see this story for some more history.


this weekend also marks the annual 'national sorry day' - a day when australians observe a collective lament for the injustice visited upon aboriginal people. 

on saturday isaac, sherry and i attended a public gathering in the city.  it was a special gathering because of the two occasions mentioned above and it was also the commencement of 'the long walk' - an annual (four-year-old) advocacy walk from melbourne to canberra.


it was a very moving experience to stand with hundreds of others in a public square.  to ponder the horrible violence visited upon this land and its original inhabitants.  to smell the burning gum leaves.  to hear a group of aboriginal men sing a song of reconciliation.  to look around at the faces of aboriginal men and women and wonder about the horror of their experiences as part of the 'stolen generation'.

we were humbled and honored by this experience.  it was also a rare pleasure to hear one of australia's great singer/songwriter's, Archie Roach, sing.  our prayer, on this day of pentecost, is for the confession, forgiveness, and healing of australia's racial divide.


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