children overboard

Farzad Sharifian f.sharifian at COWAN.EDU.AU
Sun Apr 7 04:22:23 UTC 2002

Hello everyone

I'd like to draw everyone's attention to the process of the development
of a metaphor in Australian politics.

A while ago the Australian media, mirroring the government reports,
announced that a group of 186 refugees allegedly threw themselves and
their children over the board of a boat into the ocean to force
Australia to accept their applications for asylum. This of course has
turned out to be a false report, but the debate and the news have been
around in the media for a while and the whole issue has stirred serious
reactions. As usual, the officials and the media have had to come up
with some form of title for this *incidence*. Interestingly they reduced
the event into "children overboard".  While one of the meanings the
dictionary gives for "overboard" is "from on a ship into the water"
there are also meanings like "behave immoderately: going to far" and
"abandon, discard", for 'throw overboard'. One would wonder if the
choice of the tag "overboard" has meant to evoke certain images in

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