Yesterday was an amazing day in Australian history. I can acknowledge this without feeling like a fraud.
I was moved by Kevin Rudd’s speech, moved by its apparent sincerity, moved by the overwhelming national recognition of this momentous event.
But I feel like I have to let my involvement in the matter stop there.
As my throat clenched with unexpected emotion while I listened to the ABC broadcast in my car yesterday, I simultaneously felt proud, sad, and happy; but also like a lurker, an emotional usurper, and a Canadian interloper that had no right – after a mere 6 years in this country – to try and latch onto so great a national hurt without having participated in that nation’s history for even a quarter of my lifetime. In the past 24 hours, I have read heartfelt accounts of Australian pride, loss of shame, renewal. I have witnessed displays of unexpected admiration for a government, and the sense of unease this newfound respect has inspired in the hearts of many of my friends and co-workers: what do you do when you can no longer wholeheartedly bag your PM around the water cooler at work?
And still, I feel somewhat distanced from it all. I am not an Australian citizen. Not yet, anyway. I don’t follow politics with even mild gusto, and I can’t vote in this country’s elections.
But I can say sorry, and mean it.
I am sorry. So sorry.