Thursday, October 23, 2008

Stealing A Country: Our National Shame

We are cursed with a government that sees personal freedoms as a cumbersome liability, exploits fear for its own ends, and would rather pander to prejudice than tackle it head on. It's evident in everything from ID cards and 42-days to the treatment of the Gurkha veterans, but most of all in the case of the Chagossians, a thirty-year scandal which makes me ashamed to be British.

The government's position is nothing short of contemptible, as is the US state department's claim that terrorists could make use of a bunch of rocks in the middle of the ocean. Although, saying that, there are many who would argue they already are.


Captain Oddsocks said...

It's an amazing story, that one, isn't it?

With my last big harvest of Igougo points, one of the books I got was Simon Winchester's Outposts, and he tells the story of the Chagos Islands beautifully.

"And the inhabitants were all of them British subjects, citizens of a Crown colony, entitled to the protection and assistance of the Crown ..... instead the British Government, obeying with craven servility the wishes of the Pentagon - by now the formal lessees of the island group - physically removed every man, woman and child from the islands, and placed them, bewildered and frightened, on the islands of Mauritius and the Seychelles. The British officials did not consult the islanders. They did not tell them what was happening to them. They did not tell anyone else what they planned to do. They just went right ahead and uprooted an entire community, ordered people from their jobs and their homes, crammed them onto ships, and sailed them away to a new life in a foreign country."

Sounds like something from the Seventeen Sixties doesn't it?

Michael said...

What's also amazing is the number of British people who know nothing about it. Suppressed history, as Pilger says.
You're right, you'd hardly believe we were talking about contemporary events, especially when you remember what happened in the Falklands...