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Wednesday, 24 July 2013

A bit stunned at the moment - memories of little babies and "ombak besar"

I've had one of those normal mornings that we who live safe lives in harmonious communities have.

It's been full of first world problems, lost the iPhone, couldn't find it when The Princess rang it, had to get Katarina to work and ready for an appointment with the airport later.

It's a race in the mornings at our place to get everyone ready then I drive Katarina to work and come home.  All of that today without yet listening to the news or reading the papers.

I'm now sitting quietly, stunned into a silence I can't break.  I don't want to check your comments or read your emails or take any phone calls.   It's just a terrible silence here.

I can imagine the terror of realising the wooden boat you're in is going to break up a couple of hours offshore southern Java.

And 60 people are dead or missing.

"I am the only one back," said Soheil of his group, which set off from the fishing village of Cidaun around 4am yesterday morning.

"We go through the jungle to small ships (fiberglass outriggers operated by local fishermen in Cidaun) to a big ship.

"We have problem with motor after two hours. For three hours, we try to come back (to shore).

"The sea very hard, the sea no good. The ship break."

Soheil said the captain – who he said is a Sri Lankan man using a Malaysian crew – abandoned them.

"The captain go to small boat," he said. "He no help me, he no help children, he no help baby."

This boat was offshore Cidaun.

Cidaun

I took a trip from the port of Cilicap, just to the east of Cidaun.

I was in a boat with an Australian skipper on board, life jackets, personal EPIRBs and a second boat alongside.  I knew I was pretty safe.   I was still shitting bricks.

When an Indonesian deckie told me about the large waves and later when they hit I can concur with the Iranian man Soheil who survived the sinking of the boat yesterday.  The sea is very hard and when the waves hit a wooden fishing boat you feel it in every creak of the timber.

http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/11850307601/Go-Back-To-Where-You-Came-From-S2-Ep3

If you watch this video of my very safe experience online you might get some sense of that.   It starts at 25 minutes in.   Then look carefully at John Richardson's face as he tells you about the morning he stepped outside his door and looked over the road to where dozens of people were screaming on the wooden fishing boat that John would watch break up on the rocks of Christmas Island as the ombak besar smashed it to pieces.

Yesterday you heard Sharon from Christmas Island talk about the Australian Federal Policeman who was there that day as well.  As he swore in his evidence to the Coroner, the policeman and others there on that day saw grown men pushing children and women off life jackets to save themselves.  John Richardson saw little ones go under waves for the last time.

John also told me about recovering the bodies from the sea and the volunteers on Christmas Island who copped that job.   They had no alternative but to tie ropes to dead bodies and swim them in through the ombak besar onto the beach.

Nice policy change Mr Rudd.   Are you sick of it yet?   Have you had enough?   You rotten bastard.

Read more: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/breaking-news/asylum-seeker-boat-bound-for-christmas-island-sinks-after-leaving-java-one-dead/story-e6frfkp9-1226684064434#ixzz2ZulgmDyb

Read more: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/breaking-news/asylum-seeker-boat-bound-for-christmas-island-sinks-after-leaving-java-one-dead/story-e6frfkp9-1226684064434#ixzz2ZulR4y1q

 



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Where it Started

Gillard & the AWU scandal

Interview with Bob Kernohan