Monday, January 26, 2009

Drag and Abandon

The Thai army is alleged to have been dragging rickety boats of refugees out to sea, and abandoning them in the middle of the ocean.
Extraordinary photos obtained by CNN from someone directly involved in the Thai operation show refugees on their rickety boats being towed out to sea, cut loose and abandoned.

One photo shows the Thai army towing a boatload of some 190 refugees far out to sea.
In one hamlet, villagers had captured a Rohingya man they believed had been living in the jungle for days.

The refugee, who identified himself as Iqbal Hussain, told CNN he was on one of six boats in a makeshift refugee fleet that arrived in Thailand in December.

He said all six boats with their refugee cargo were towed back out to sea in January, and five of the six boats sank. His boat made it back to shore, and he hid in the jungle for days until nearby villagers captured him.

In broken English and using sign language and drawings, he described what happened to the other men on the boats:

"All men dead," he said, putting the number of dead at several hundred.

Simply horrifying.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's horrifying.

In his 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, Stephenson wrote about a floating mass called "The Raft". It was comprised of rickety boats, nets, rafts, broken docks - all fused together, creating a mobile island of debris. The people who live on the raft are a destitute mix of African and Asian peoples, none of whom can afford the protection of a nation (which in Stephenson's books is a sort of ethnic franchise that is more corporation than state). His vision of the future is alarming and strange, but this is one of many stories that I've recently read which makes me think he might've nailed where things are headed.