Moving criticism of indifference



By Liam Gerner

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ADELAIDE — Liam Gerner wrote his first song at the age of 12. Since
then, 19-year-old Gerner has developed into an accomplished singer/songwriter.
He has just released a debut EP, Brother, which incorporates jazz,
blues and country.

The strongest song on the EP, “Small Wooden Boat”, commemorates
the deaths of 353 refugees who drowned on their way to Australia. It is
a personal, emotive and beautifully crafted song which takes the perspective
of a refugee aboard the SIEV-X.

Gerner describes the refugee's hopes for a new life. What is hard for
Gerner to come to terms with is that, despite information from Australian
intelligence, “no one came to the rescue” when the boat sunk. The song
is a moving criticism of the Australian government's indifference.

Liam Gerner performed at this year's Womadelaide festival, which featured
a special place to meet and discuss issues faced by refugees. He has been
nominated as “best emerging artist” by the South Australian Blues Society
and won the Scene But Not Herd songwriting competition for his original
composition “Come on Fashion”.

From Green Left Weekly, March 26, 2003.

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