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Share the SIEV X memorial story as refugee crisis continues

By Paul Costigan - 18 November 2015 21

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There are so many stories to be told around the installation of the memorial to the 353 people who drowned while attempting the journey to Christmas Island on 19th October, 2001. I have visited the SIEV X memorial site at Weston Park numerous times and the impact has not reduced.

With each pole representing an individual and its height indicating the age of the person, as well as the small shape indicating the size of the boat, the tragedy remains as devastating to think about today despite the 14 years that have passed.

At the time we witnessed a response by community members to not allow these individuals to be forgotten. From others, namely forces within the Commonwealth Government, there were desperate efforts to disallow the erection of such a memorial.

In the end it was the ACT Government that worked around the Commonwealth and the NCA and provided the opportunity for the temporary memorial. Over time, the ACT Government has extended the permission for the memorial to stay where it is.

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At the time of its first installation, several people made more out of the politics of the disaster, namely they used the staging of the memorial as another reason to attack the Howard Government. While the actions of that government deserved to be howled down, this memorial was primarily not a political statement but an installation created by groups of people to give the relatives of those who perished some form of outlet for their grief.

The memorial continues to be a reminder of the dreadful state of the world whereby people are forced to make the choice to leave their homes and to risk everything. To think that three times the population of Canberra could be about to walk into Germany seeking refuge speaks volumes of the complexities of the refugee crisis that has now been with us in various forms for over a decade.

Yet we still know not what to do!

The SIEV X memorial is a reminder of the 2001 disaster and of the fact that ordinary people wish this country could do more.

Take people there and tell them the story. Take time out and spend a few minutes there alone to reflect on the on-going situation that others are dealing with right now.

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What’s Your opinion?


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21 Responses to
Share the SIEV X memorial story as refugee crisis continues
HenryBG 6:53 pm 20 Nov 15

Holden Caulfield said :

dungfungus said :

Holden Caulfield said :

I agree, it is a very powerful memorial. Forget the politics.

By saying forget the politics, what do you mean?

It’s pretty simple. Leave politics aside, regardless of one’s views on immigration, this memorial is incredibly powerful and moving.

I disagree. It was nothing more than a cheap political shot at the Liberals. Utterly disgusting.

HenryBG 6:51 pm 20 Nov 15

Postalgeek said :

neanderthalsis said :

And thanks to the successful border control policies implemented following this incident and the reinstated in part by Gillard and fully by the current government, we will not deaths at sea that we saw previously.

Your statement is open to interpretation. There are still refugee deaths at sea, but just not in Australian territorial waters.

As Indonesia has revealed, the number of illegal immigrants entering Indonesia has plummeted as a direct result of there no longer being any pipeline to Australia through their territory.

The deaths that were being caused by incoherent immigration policies are now no longer occurring in many places, not just our own waters.

Scribble 4:32 pm 20 Nov 15

“You can’t memorialise everything, especially things that didn’t happen here.”

Give the AWM a big swerve then. Absolutely chockers with that sort of thing

dungfungus 2:45 pm 20 Nov 15

Rollersk8r said :

dungfungus said :

MERC600 said :

Must confess I had forgotten about the SIEV thing. I never go down that way.

I do remember their was controversy about it, but of course the ACT was Jons fiefdom, so he could do what he wanted.

Whenever I take visitors to Canberra for a drive I avoid this place.
This wasn’t always the case but after 3 separate visitors in row were told it was a memorial for lots of people who drowned allegedly trying to get here they all said “what, drowned in the lake over there?”

Agree – never visited and have no intention to. You can’t memorialise everything, especially things that didn’t happen here. And this is absolutely a protest against the federal government as much as it is a memorial. That’s my opinion.

I think you maybe right as a few years ago when that other boat evaded detection and turned up at Christmas Island then foundering on the rocks there wasn’t a peep from the same people that were blaming the federal government for the SIEV X sinking.
Why would that be I wonder?
Time the sticks were moved – the arboretum up in the Brindabellas would be a good site.

Rollersk8r 11:33 am 20 Nov 15

dungfungus said :

MERC600 said :

Must confess I had forgotten about the SIEV thing. I never go down that way.

I do remember their was controversy about it, but of course the ACT was Jons fiefdom, so he could do what he wanted.

Whenever I take visitors to Canberra for a drive I avoid this place.
This wasn’t always the case but after 3 separate visitors in row were told it was a memorial for lots of people who drowned allegedly trying to get here they all said “what, drowned in the lake over there?”

Agree – never visited and have no intention to. You can’t memorialise everything, especially things that didn’t happen here. And this is absolutely a protest against the federal government as much as it is a memorial. That’s my opinion.

Holden Caulfield 9:53 pm 19 Nov 15

dungfungus said :

Holden Caulfield said :

I agree, it is a very powerful memorial. Forget the politics.

By saying forget the politics, what do you mean?

It’s pretty simple. Leave politics aside, regardless of one’s views on immigration, this memorial is incredibly powerful and moving.

MERC600 4:00 pm 19 Nov 15

dungfungus said :

MERC600 said :

Must confess I had forgotten about the SIEV thing. I never go down that way.

I do remember their was controversy about it, but of course the ACT was Jons fiefdom, so he could do what he wanted.

Whenever I take visitors to Canberra for a drive I avoid this place.
This wasn’t always the case but after 3 separate visitors in row were told it was a memorial for lots of people who drowned allegedly trying to get here they all said “what, drowned in the lake over there?”

Oh good one Dungers

dungfungus 2:46 pm 19 Nov 15

MERC600 said :

Must confess I had forgotten about the SIEV thing. I never go down that way.

I do remember their was controversy about it, but of course the ACT was Jons fiefdom, so he could do what he wanted.

Whenever I take visitors to Canberra for a drive I avoid this place.
This wasn’t always the case but after 3 separate visitors in row were told it was a memorial for lots of people who drowned allegedly trying to get here they all said “what, drowned in the lake over there?”

MERC600 12:42 pm 19 Nov 15

Must confess I had forgotten about the SIEV thing. I never go down that way.

I do remember their was controversy about it, but of course the ACT was Jons fiefdom, so he could do what he wanted.

Postalgeek 12:07 pm 19 Nov 15

neanderthalsis said :

And thanks to the successful border control policies implemented following this incident and the reinstated in part by Gillard and fully by the current government, we will not deaths at sea that we saw previously.

Your statement is open to interpretation. There are still refugee deaths at sea, but just not in Australian territorial waters.

One question we should be asking is whether such drownings in this region have actually been averted, or whether drownings have simply been shifted to another region’s waters, in which case there is no moral achievement in the numbers. I hope that they have been prevented.

Certainly the policy seemingly has had a significant impact in reducing deaths associated with Australian borders.

Suicide now seems to be the main cause of death associated with Australian borders, so still room for improvement.

http://artsonline.monash.edu.au/thebordercrossingobservatory/publications/australian-border-deaths-database/

dungfungus 8:03 am 19 Nov 15

rosscoact said :

neanderthalsis said :

And thanks to the successful border control policies implemented following this incident and the reinstated in part by Gillard and fully by the current government, we will not hear about deaths at sea between Australia and Indonesia that we saw previously.

Fixed that for you for the sake of accuracy

Another generalisation.
If you know of any deaths at sea that the government agencies don’t report you will no doubt let us all know.
Where do you get your information from?

rosscoact 11:46 pm 18 Nov 15

neanderthalsis said :

And thanks to the successful border control policies implemented following this incident and the reinstated in part by Gillard and fully by the current government, we will not hear about deaths at sea between Australia and Indonesia that we saw previously.

Fixed that for you for the sake of accuracy

neanderthalsis 2:39 pm 18 Nov 15

And thanks to the successful border control policies implemented following this incident and the reinstated in part by Gillard and fully by the current government, we will not deaths at sea that we saw previously.

dungfungus 2:09 pm 18 Nov 15

Holden Caulfield said :

I agree, it is a very powerful memorial. Forget the politics.

By saying forget the politics, what do you mean?

Holden Caulfield 1:05 pm 18 Nov 15

I agree, it is a very powerful memorial. Forget the politics.

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