Charlezia - an Islander...but will she ever see home again
The islanders protest use of Chagos as a base for the bombing of Iraq
Tragically, this is not the first time that the exiled islanders have been the victim of this kind of reasoning, as in fact the US’ first choice location for a new base in the region back in the 60's was the uninhabited Aldabra Atoll, but Harold Wilson, the then British Prime Minister, feared antagonism from ecologists, as Aldabra is home to a rare breed of turtle.
Until the Chagos islands became suddenly became prime military real estate in the 1960's, they had since the early 19th Century evolved their own distinctive Creole language and their own culture.
Their relocation to poverty stricken Mauritus has been a disaster for them. High unemployment, early mortality and drug addiction rates echoing the experience of indigenous people forcibly relocated by their imperial masters the world over.
While a a landmark decision by the High Court in November 2000 ruled that the expulsion of the Chagossians was unlawful, the UK (and US) Government's have erected every legal and administrative hurdle they could think of to stop the islanders return. The islanders are due have their case heard at the Europe Court of Human Rights this year, so the UK Governements' sudden concern for Marine ecology should be seen in this context.
More info can be found here: www.chagossupport.org.uk/