A Series of Boats 2f - Agrabinta Beach - Sheikh Ali Khoder


‘The Journey of Death’

A timber boat is held up by a hand that starts to crush the boat in half.

[imagecaption] Crushing Hope. Artist: Sina Pourhovayed. [/imagecaption]


In the aftermath of the sinking off Agrabinta beach, Sheikh Ali Khoder, one of Hussein’s relatives, powerfully articulated the lethal nature of Australia’s border policies:

‘Australia, shame on you, shame on you, that your new rulers have reached the stage of killing people and making this part of their election campaign.’

Sheikh Ali Khoder

Sheikh Ali Khoder’s comments reportedly stirred controversy,  prompting him to later apologise,  citing misinformation about the location where the  sinking occurred. His apology was no doubt more sincere than the shallow sympathies expressed by the Australian government to those who lost loved ones. The real controversy, however, lies not with Sheikh Ali Khoder’s assessment of Australian politics at the time, but with the politics  that compel people to undertake ‘journeys of death’ in the absence of other avenues to resettlement. As is often the case, the outrage against  Khoder was grossly misplaced. Whether on the Australian or Indonesian side of the line in the sea, indubitably the deaths of asylum seekers have been consistently capitalised upon in Australian election campaigns.


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