Survivors Speak: Fawzi & Ammar Qasam|
by Marg Hutton
11 September 2003
This is the ninth in our series of lightly edited survivor transcripts. Fawzi Qasam (also known as Fowzi Khasim and Fawzi Qasim) is 'Person 2' in Keysar Trad's transcript of survivor interviews . Fawzi and his twelve year old son Ammar were the only survivors from their large extended family of eleven. Lost were Fawzi's wife, (name unknown), his four children, Ali, Ayat, Noor and Fatima; his brother Hatam, sister-in-law (name unknown) and nieces Hoda and Noor.
Fawzi and Ammar have been resettled in Canada according to Basam Helmi, a Mandaean survivor still in Indonesia who was on SIEVX but disembarked prior to the sinking. Here is Fawzi's account from the Trad transcript:
I boarded the boat with my wife and four children and also my brother,
brother's wife and two children. My wife [sic] and one of my children
survived, my brother and family all drowned also.
My brother screamed out to be rescued but I could not help him. He was
too far from the children. One of my other children kept crying for
water until the morning when he died of thirst. I kept two of my
children on my shoulders all night. It was raining heavily, I did not
know where my wife was. One of the children died in the morning from
thirst, my other child survived.
- 'I have lost everything', Don Greenlees, The Australian, 23 October 2001
In another room of the guesthouse, 37-year-old Iraqi Fawzlqasim [sic] has
badly cut and scarred feet from when the boat overturned. On board
were his wife, two sons and three daughters, aged between 1 and 10.
Only one of the boys survived.
"I was jobless over there," he says of why he made such a perilous
journey. And he is not deterred. "If the UN does not help us we will
try again." [Full report]
- 'The People Smugglers', Ross Coulthart, Sunday, 4 November 2001
Little Hussein smiled for the first time in two weeks when we brought
him a soccer ball to take his mind off the loss he now struggles to
comprehend. His play-mate, Amar Fowzi Khasim, also now only has his
father. His three sisters, one brother, mother, and two cousins, all
drowned. These children have nothing, and to them, Australia is the
only opportunity. For those children who still have family left to
love them, the decision has been made. The journey to Australia is a
risk that must be taken...[Full report]
- 'Refugees Wait In Limbo While In Indonesia', Ashley Gilbertson, FEER, 20 December 2001
"AT 3 P.M. the water started coming onto the boat. I didn't know why.
I jumped overboard with my family." Fazi Kasm is sitting in a bare
room in the Indonesian hill town of Bogor. On the bed next to him is
his 12-year-old son, Amar Fazi. The boy is all that Kasm has left in
The Iraqi left his own country earlier this year, hoping to slip into
Australia. On October 19, the boat that Kasm and his family were
travelling on began sinking. Forty-four refugees survived. About 350
"I watched my mother drown," Kasm says quietly. "I watched my father
drown. My four children, my wife, my brother's family drowned and I
could do nothing. My son was tearing at my shirt to stay afloat. We
stayed on a small piece of wood for 22 hours in the sea until a small
boat came and rescued us." Kasm and his son were brought to land at
Tanjung Priok, the main port of Jakarta, by a fishing boat. There they
joined almost 1,500 other mainly Afghan and Iraqi refugees and asylum
seekers currently known to the Indonesian authorities...[Full report]