Canadian prime minister apologizes to the First Nations people of Canada for the treatment they've received from Canadians over the last hundred years... particularly the residential school system that caused horrific damage to not only that generation but the ones that followed.
The Australian leader also apologized to the Aboriginal community of Australia recently - marking a new day for the peoples whose pain and harm has been unrecognized and unacknowledged.
The cynical among us would suggest that apologies are empty and that the true 'proof' of repentance as it were, is found in the actions that follow. I'd suggest that it only be necessary for any of us to think back to a time we had been 'wronged' and then someone had apologized for it. Closure, particularly emotional and spiritual closure is underrated.
The hard-hearted might suggest it's not our problem anymore and that the people wronged should simply suck it up and move on... you may only need to recall an offense you are holding against someone even now to know that doesn't work much!

Apologies are necessary and effective... particularly when they are sincere! I'm intrigued by Harpers further announcement of cash settlements for the victims of residential school abuses and the truth and reconciliation commission he is creating... the same system used by the South African government to deal with the atrocities of aparthied. It's a system that suggests not only a confession but a reconciliation! A determination and willful act to acknowledge, confess, repent and forgive... it's a godly justice sort of thing. You can read more about it in the New Testament!

It takes a lot of humility to apologize... both leaders are Christians and may just recognize the value in confession. Both leaders are also following in the wake of the incredibly wise Nelson Mandela who shocked the world by offering a different way to deal with systemic governmental injustice... through reconciliation... I'm excited about both leaders making the decision to go public with the apology and I'm looking forward to the proof of repentance in the walk forward... I'm believing that the world could be a much better place if we are reconciled to those around us... and this global reconciliation may just be the right time to remind all of us about the desperate need to live lives of forgiveness... check this link for more!

or for another take rooted in popular culture check out the justsalvos blog.