Shame on Australia

From: Olga Bourlin (
Date: Thu Aug 30 2001 - 21:52:10 MDT

(BTW, I did not compose what's on the subject line - that was imported from the source - "as is.")

What a surprise to find an editorial in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer about the Land of Oz. You guys must be following the Clinton administration's example (when the USA refused entry to Haitians, preferring to rescue Cubans, instead).

In view of the discussions we've been having lately about strange visitors from other lands ... look! up on the horizon! - it's a boat! - it's a barge! ... it's TALIBAN!

(Yet, I don't mean to make light of this, as this is truly sad.)

Shame on Australia
Friday, August 31, 2001


Since two years after the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, ships have been required by international law to rescue passengers from sinking vessels.

Arne Rinnan, captain of the Norwegian cargo ship Tampa, did just that when he was alerted by the Australian Coast Guard that an Indonesian ferry carrying 438 people was sinking in international waters.

The captain rescued passengers and asked permission to off-load them, required under the Convention on Refugees, in the nearest port, which is in Australia. He says his ship is unseaworthy with so many people aboard.

But the passengers were refugees fleeing Afghanistan's Taliban regime; 400,000 have fled in the past year. Australia, a big country with a tiny population, refused permission to dock and sent troops aboard to prevent it. Strife-torn Indonesia also said no.

Australia should be ashamed of itself. This unconscionable replay of "Ship of Fools" is both cruel and dangerous. It sends the unacceptable message to ship captains that it's best not to get involved rescuing people from sinking ships.

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