In October 2001, in international waters off Indonesia, a small fishing vessel sank and killed 353 of its 400 passengers. The passengers were asylum seekers trying to gain entry into Australia. Of the 353 who died, 146 were children. The boat is known as "SIEV X" by the Australian Government and the press, and this stands for "Suspected Illegal Entry Vessel".
This afternoon we went for a drive, and found ourselves at the SIEV X Memorial on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. It was erected in 2006 by communities and churches around Australia who wanted to commemorate an awful day in Australian history. Each person who died is symbolised by a white pole decorated with artwork. The tall poles represent the adults and the short poles represent the children.
Some have names, but others are just described as "Unknown".
It doesn't matter what your politics are, or whether you believe that asylum seekers or even immigrants belong in Australia. In fact, I really don't care what your politics are, just as I'm sure you don't care about mine.
But the Siev X memorial is something, in my opinion, every person should pay a visit to if they get the chance. I'll be honest - I was moved to the point of sobbing. The loss of life is so enormous and pointless, but yet represented so visually and beautifully.
It reminds us of the fragility of life, and of the strength of the human spirit. It reminds us of our weaknesses and our strengths, and most importantly it may help us resolve to be kinder to one another.
And that's the perfect Easter message, don't you think?
So very sad and my heart does goes out to the desperate mums and dads that want a better life for their children This type of thing happens too often sadlyReplyDelete
Oh Michelle, I didn't know about this memorial. What a powerful impact it has.ReplyDelete
I can well understand your tears. I am so pleased to see such a dignity about the work.ReplyDelete
thanks for sharing this message michelle. a lot of us (including me) don't often think about these things and a reminder now and then is a good thing.ReplyDelete
Thanks Michelle, That's lovely.ReplyDelete
I didn't know there was a memorial for this - it is beautiful and powerful. I just hope the people who really need to see it, see it.ReplyDelete
Thanks for posting this Michelle. I'm crying as I write this.ReplyDelete
Love IS stronger than fear. And kindness IS stronger than greed. But every so often I need to be reminded.
Oh so sad.ReplyDelete
The best Easter message I have read. A moving memorial and a message that all Australians should be shouting to our politicians every day.ReplyDelete
Beautifully said Michelle. I will definitely go and visit someday. What a beautiful memorial. So tragic what is happening to asylum seekers and refugees in this country these days.ReplyDelete
Happy Easter my friend.
I'm feeling teary just looking at your photos and reading about it. Which part of the lake is it? I only wish I could take the people I had to listen to on the weekend talking so disparigingly about refugees.ReplyDelete
Thanks so much Michelle for posting about this - what an amazing place - very sobering and tragic - and a beautiful place of remembrance.ReplyDelete
A very touching report - what an outstanding memorial place - may theses poor people never be forgotten...ReplyDelete
I just came upon your blog - and will come back !:)
From Berlin many greetings