The ABC reports two similar tragedies in one week, but uses different names for the victims.
Survivors from anÂ asylum seekerÂ boat that sank off Indonesia say the boat returned to land after it hit trouble in rough seas and sank only 50 metres from the shore.
Survivors of an asylum seeker boat that sank off Indonesia say Australian rescue authorities told them help was on the way, but it never came…
At least 28 asylum seekers have been found alive, but local authorities fear about 80 people were on the boat… The Australian Government says it was aware that an asylum seeker vessel had foundered in Indonesian waters close to West Java.
Australia’s Immigration Minister Scott Morrision has again denied Australian rescue organisations delayed their response to emergency message from an asylum seeker boat of Indonesia. Mr Morrision has spoken to the media after his visit to Papua New Guinea last week and news of the sinking of an asylum seeker boat off Indonesia…
But when a boat sinks off Italy, those on board are described by the ABC not as “asylum seekers” but – more accurately – as migrants:
BARBARA MILLER: The boat is thought to have set sail from Libya, a routeÂ migrantsÂ in their thousands risk each year. Some flee war or persecution, some simply yearn for a better life.
Italy has declared a national day of mourning after a boat packed with African migrants caught fire and sank… The boat had set sail from Libya, a route thousands of migrants take each year to try and reach the European Union…
The island of Lampedusa is closer to Africa than it is to the Italian mainland and each year thousands of migrants from Libya and other parts of north Africa try to reach its shores… Human Rights Watch spokeswoman Judith Sunderland agrees the European Union needs to do more to help migrant vessels in distress … The stream of migrants is a humanitarian and political problem for the Italian government.
Migrants who arrive in Italy are allowed to apply for asylum. Many are ordered to leave the country but slip away to become illegal immigrants…
Eerie vision has emerged of the wreck of an African migrant boat which sank off the coast of Italy…
Yes, the tragedies are the main issue here. But why the different language? Why the more emotive and less accurate “asylum seekers” when describing migrants trying to come illegally to Australia?
The language is important, because it conditions our response to such drownings. Is the response really – as is now suggested by some Italian politicians and religious figures – to stop the drownings simply by offering tens of thousands of illegal migrants safe entry? What are borders worth then?
Â Magdi Allam:
Help them, but help them within their own countries. For there is no end to the numbers of those who would,if they could, come to the West illegally, and in so doing, do nothing to help those left behind, but make the peoples of the Western world far more anxious, depressed, unable to cope. There is no god-given right to enter the countries, the civilizations, of others, by those whose differences are insuperable, and even the task of pretending that they are not, and trying to integrate those who manage to be smuggled in, are a gigantic expense,and do great damage to the educational systems, the health systems, the everything, all over the breast-beating Western world. It’s idiotic, because if such immigrants are allowed in, they will simply pull down the level of the countries they enter and, they will signal to others, to tens or hundreds of millions of others, that they can and should follow. It’s got to stop; the ships and boats that bring them have to be stopped just as they leave their points of departure. And all such immigrants should be shipped back, whether they were on boats that arrived safely, or whether they are among just a few survivors of boats that did not make it. The latter are not to be allowed in any more than the former. There should be no distinction.
That’s my clear thinking. And yours, if I read you — and you read me — right.
NowÂ here’s the clear thinking Magdi Allam/ thanks toÂ Hugh Fitzgerald