The power of Sorry

by Anna Blanch on November 17, 2009

Kevin Rudd, Australian Prime Minister, and Malcolm Turnbull, Leader of the Opposition, delivered a national apology to the Forgotten Australians who suffered under institution care. Many of these children were sent from England because they were orphans or by parents who thought they were sending their children to better lives. The hurt may remain and the incredible rawness of emotion cannot be denied. It is rare that politicians words bring me to tears. But this did.

So did this. Australian Journalist Nicole Chettle powerfully describes her own family arc – from the image of her mother sleeping in a toilet block at age 12 just metres away from the building in which she, nicole, now reads the news.

You can read the background and the extent of the situation in this story, including the numbers of children sent to New Zealand and Canada. 

Read also this account of the experiences of Christina Green and Graham Rundle.

Saying sorry and acknowledging hurt can irritate and inflame the wounds, but like any good antiseptic, the wound has to weep before it can heal. I am glad that my homeland is beginning to face up to some of its greatest hurts. Hopefully real reconciliation and healing can take place and this isn’t all talk.

What is your perception of this apology?

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