Saturday, March 24, 2012

Immigration is a human right punishable by death

Qurban Ali from Pakistan grieves his son who died after an overcrowded wooden ship carrying asylum seekers to Australia (from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran & Turkey) broke apart in a storm off the coast of Indonesia in December 2011. The boat operated by a people-smuggling operation was carrying more than twice its capacity & was headed for Australia’s Christmas Island. As the ship sank, the crew grabbed the life vests & dinghy & abandoned the passengers, including children. Only 33 passengers out of 250 survived. Mr. Ali is attending the mass burial in a cemetery in East Java, Indonesia (on March 23). This is a well-traveled route for undocumented immigrant workers & asylum seekers since Indonesia is an archipelago of over 18,000 islands & has thousands of miles of un-patrolled coastline. Thousands of people flee US wars which Australia supports with troops; they seek refuge in Australia despite hazardous journeys on rickety, overcrowded boats & Australia’s racist immigration policy which includes long incarceration in crowded, prison-like detention facilities. Australian white supremacists have produced some innovative & racist arguments against undocumented immigrants & asylum seekers: they claim immigrants exacerbate global warming by increasing greenhouse gas emissions & they also have accused asylum seekers of throwing their children overboard to improve their chances for asylum. Greenhouse gas emissions may be increasing in Australia but the most likely source would be the flatulent rhetoric of their racist politicians. (Photo by Trisnadi/AP)

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