Diego Garcia a Jaded Jewel in the Crown
A Very British Crime Story
Indigenous islanders of no significance, the crowns’ jaded jewel; British subjects displaced for an American army base in the Indian Ocean. Plans hatched, shrouded in secrecy during the ’50s to avoid United Nations laws, British government lies claimed the islands have, “no permanent population”.
The American government generously wish only to acquire the Chagos island’s, Diego Garcia, in exchange for a cheap Polaris nuclear submarine. Well, surely the brown indigenous peoples can go live on another one?
Why weren’t they moved to one close by? Unlike those white folk of the Falkland Islands who were worthy of going to war for; a polished jewel in the crown.
Chargonesse voices can’t be heard over the noise of western colonial advance for the “security of its people”. The British press offered no platform.
No explanation given to men, women, and children transported in cargo holds, forced to sleep on bird fertiliser, forsaken in Seychelle prisons before delivery to a derelict housing estate with no electricity or water in a Mauritius paradise.
Twenty six families succumbed to harsh poverty. Suicides and girls forced into prostitution to survive, the cream of British pride.
I interviewed many of them. One woman recalled how she and her husband took their baby to Mauritius for medical treatment and were told they could not return. The shock was so great that her husband suffered a stroke and died. Others described how the British and Americans gassed their dogs — beloved pets to the islanders — as an intimidation to pack up and leave. Lizette Talate told me how her children had ‘died of sadness’. She herself has since died. — John Pilger.
Hey, at least the Americans could easily bomb Iraq and Afghanistan from this strategic position, saving the world from “weapons of mass destruction”.
Blair would have his evil way, pushing for “the Royal Prerogative”, delivering excuses and lies as he did over WMD, blocking court support for displaced Chagossians, indigenous people still fighting for a return to their homeland.
Maybe one day the crown will polish that jaded jewel…
James G Brennan 2022
I changed this piece for another about the American nuclear tests on the indigenous people of the Marshall islands after reading Aza Y. Alam’s piece “No Fancy Floral Tribute here”, in Literary Impulse. It’s more fitting for the time.