Sunday, October 15, 2006

Permanent SIEV X Memorial thwarted by National Capital Authority

Hazam Al Rowaimi lost his mother, wife and children when the SIEV X sank.

The Age reports "organisers of a memorial to 353 asylum seekers who drowned during the 2001 federal election campaign say their efforts have been thwarted by a "mean-spirited" Canberra bureaucracy.

A coalition of church, community and school groups had planned the exhibition on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra to mark the fifth anniversary of the disaster.

Organiser Steve Biddulph said a month ago the group had received a letter from the National Capital Authority — the federal government agency responsible for the proposed site — telling them 10 years must pass after an event before a permanent national memorial could be established.

"We were quite devastated because it was too late to do much about it," Mr Biddulph told

Mr Biddulph says while the group hopes to eventually establish a permanent memorial, it had only applied to stage a temporary exhibition."

What a convenient bureaucratic obstacle! Nothing will stand ultimately in the way of a permament reminder of a dark event the federal government hopes will fade from the collective conscience. Moreover, one day the facts will be exposed to the full glare of public examination...

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