Thursday, 24 February 2011

The Chagossians

Sorry for the serious lack of blogging recently! Disaster has struck - Charlie's laptop may be broken. I haven't been able to write any since and all the blogs I was working on are temporarily inaccessible! Eeek!
I've been working at Namaste for over 5 months now! I'm feeling like I need a change and something a little more challenging. So I went to a meeting in Pointe aux Sables yesterday to meet Olivier Bancoult - the leading man of the Chagossians! I'm going to be teaching at their education centre hopefully within the next couple of weeks! Exciting stuff!

I’m not sure if you know the story behind the Chagossians so here’s a little explanation. The Chagossians are a large community from the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean. They were exiled from their home in the 1960’s because Britain- who at the time ‘owned’ the islands sold them to the U.S. so they could set up a military base there. One day a ship came to take all of them away- shooting all of their dogs and leaving their homes behind. They arrived in Mauritius as foreigners without jobs, money or homes and were given very, very minimal compensation for it. Olivier Bancoult, the son of a man who was exiled, has taken on the cause and campaigns insanely hard to raise awareness of their struggle and also to try and get the government to allow them to return to their motherland. This is not seeming likely- especially as recently it has been suggested that a ‘nature reserve’ should be set up around the islands which would mean that it would become an impossibility for the Chagossians to return. Many are poor and live in slums, drug and alcohol misuse is a big problem too- but Bancoult believes that community and education can work together to try and solve this.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like the Highland Clearances! Aren't there lots of "bad moments" in our History?
    Great to hear from you again - your nuggets of knowledge are always so interesting and it is wonderful to hear how you are seeking and seizing opportunities to enhance your year! Take care, keep well,