The closing of an island and nation

Local workers on the island of Diego Garcia 1971

Some have said the United States Pentagon is one of the largest land owners in the world. If this is true, how did the Pentagon get all that land? I’ll tell you how they got once such piece of land.

Diego Garcia, no it’s not a person it’s an island in the Indian Ocean. The extremely short story is that in 1971 the United Kingdom and the United States entered into an agreement to permanently evacuate the 2,000 native inhabitants of the island and turn it into a U.S. Military base. The Chagossians had been living there for six generations, aproximately 200 years.

In March 1971, a civil servant was sent to tell the Chagossians that they were to leave. A memorandum related that:

I told the inhabitants that we intended to close the island in July. A few of them asked whether they could receive some compensation for leaving ‘their own country.’ I kicked this into touch by saying that our intention was to cause as little disruption to their lives as possible.

They were not compensated immediately, and when they were finally paid for their property it was a measly sum. To receive the money, they had to sign away their rights to the island. They didn’t know this at the time because the paperwork was written in English, a language they did not know.

The Chagossians were left near homeless on the island of Mauritius where unemployment already stood at 20 percent. Moreover, the Chagossian trade was copra farming which did not translate well to the Mauritius economy. The Chagossians also spoke a patois unique to Diego Garcia, making it difficult to integrate with Mauritians.

They were putĀ  in some abandoned apartments ridden with trash, and had no windows or doors. No running water or electricity. They were allowed to bring only one suitcase per person. They received nothing when they got there. The future was dim. Some committed suicide. Some turned to prostitution to survive. Some died under the living conditions. Others died of “sadness” as they called it.

The U.S. won’t allow them to visit their home land to tend to the dilapidated graves of their ancestors. They say it’s too big of a security threat.

The Diego Garcian Society is to this day fighting to regain their property.

Dear Pentagon,

Please evacuate the island of Diego Garcia and urge the British Government to allow the rightful owners to return.



If interested there is more information you can find. A book has been written. A movie was made. There are many articles that can be read.

A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.
-Thomas Jefferson

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