CATHY Freeman finds it hard to articulate why her people need an apology, but deep down she knows it’s the right thing to do.
“I am not going to try and break down the reasons why an apology should be given,” she tells The Weekend Australian. “But in my heart I feel there is a real need for it.
“I have not studied the claims for compensation, so I don’t feel I can comment on that at this stage until I have distilled more information.
“But saying sorry will mean so much to so many people. It is going to be a really proud moment for us.
“For my family, it allows some kind of healing and forgiveness to take place where there is less anger and bitterness in the hearts of people. It takes away the pain. We will never forget, but this allows us to forgive.”
For Freeman, the apology to the Stolen Generations, to be delivered by Kevin Rudd on behalf of parliament next week, will be very personal.
Since stepping away from the track, she has been on an emotional journey into her own history, trawling through government archives.
And what she has learned has been painful: how her mother, a member of the Stolen Generations, was refused permission to visit her parents at Christmas; how her great-great-grandfather fought for Australia in World War I but, as an Aborigine, was never paid for his service and returned, not a hero, but a slave.
The discoveries have only strengthened her feeling that an apology is not only necessary, but decades overdue…
Daily Archives: February 9, 2008
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