RE: Shame on Australia

From: Emlyn O'regan (
Date: Thu Aug 30 2001 - 23:54:48 MDT

This issue is dominating the media here at the moment. It's a bloody
disgrace, no question about it.

-----Original Message-----
From: Olga Bourlin []
Sent: Friday, 31 August 2001 13:22
Subject: Shame on Australia

(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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