The corpse boats of the Andaman Sea

Well now, what happens with this?

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There are several old rickety wooden boats floating homelessly in the Andaman Sea, desperately skirting landfall between Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, but each time are repelled by those nations which are collectively unapologetic in their refusal to allow entrance to the hundreds and thousands of adrift refugees from Myanmar into their countries.

I suppose the nations can’t be blamed. How far can we expect good will to extend to groups of sick, starving and decrepit Muslims abandoned by smugglers after collecting their payment?

It is a sorry lot of people on these boats.


It is rapidly unfolding into a vast humanitarian crisis that seems indubitably projected toward global consternation and gasps of flagrant conscience-twisting. The refugees, starving, emaciated, dying of thirst, are confined to ships like human sardines, and are unable to find a nation that will grant them entrance.

Each boat strikes me as a microcosm of the cultural deadlock that drives a schism of disagreeableness between people in this country who oppose and favor immigration. Our kinder natures which seek to alleviate suffering and rescue the unfortunate and dying are torn by the contrary urges of practicality that inform us we cannot take care of, nor absorb, such human despair in our country.

Joe Lowry, a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration in Bangkok, tragically sums it up, “What we have now is a game of maritime Ping-Pong. It’s maritime Ping-Pong with human life. What’s the endgame? I don’t want to be too overdramatic, but if these people aren’t treated and brought to shore soon, we are going to have a boat full of corpses.” Indeed. by the looks of it, many of these people don’t have many days left unless they get food, water and land soon.

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Adding to the doomed irony is that most of the immigrants are Rohingya Muslims who have fled ethnic persecution and starvation in their native Myanmar and Bangladesh. The West does not appear to be ready to jump through hoops to assist any branch of the Islam religion right now, and in fact, I would estimate that soon a chorus will arise from concerned Americans pleading with the global Muslim community to help these people. Just don’t expect us to step up…they’re your people.

I would predict that this saga will unfold for weeks as these boats continue to be swatted back and forth between the indifferent Asian nations sharing the Andaman coast and who want no part of housing this pathetic class of helpless refugees, but I think it will be over much sooner. These people will not survive for long.