Archive for November, 2011

Chagos footballers to play Swiss team in friendly match

Posted in Uncategorized on November 28th, 2011 by Robert Bain – Be the first to comment

The Chagos Federation football team is playing a friendly match against the Swiss team Raetia Federation on Sunday 4 December.

Federation president Herold Mandarin invites all to come and support the Chagossian footballers.

The game is at 1.30pm at Oakwood Football Club, 6 Windsor Close, Crawley, RH11 9PA. Refreshments will be served afterwards.

Philippa Gregory talks Chagos on US radio

Posted in Philippa Gregory on November 28th, 2011 by Robert Bain – 1 Comment

Philippa Gregory

Here’s a recording of Philippa Gregory talking on San Francisco radio station Now 99.7 about her historical novels and her work supporting the Chagos islanders (jump to 11:15 for the Chagos part).

When she tells people the story of Chagos, the usual reply is: “That’s terrible, I didn’t know about it,” Gregory says. She describes the Chagos scandal as “hidden in plain sight”.

Chagos sea-level predictions ‘wrong’ says new study

Posted in Uncategorized on November 27th, 2011 by Robert Bain – Be the first to comment
Lagoon, Egmont Island (Photo: Karin Sinniger)

Lagoon, Egmont Island (Photo: Karin Sinniger)

New research by the National Oceanography Centre throws doubt on predictions that sea-level rises will make the Chagos islands uninhabitable.

The New Scientist reports that the centre’s Philip Woodworth has conducted a fresh analysis of the data, and questioned the findings of biologist Charles Sheppard of the Chagos Conservation Trust on sea-level rises in Chagos.

Fluctuations in sea level make it difficult to pinpoint the “underlying rise”, and whatever the true measure of past rises, it should not be used to try to extrapolate future sea-level rises, Woodworth says.

That, of course, is exactly what the government has been doing, and one of its main reasons for claiming that a return to Chagos is unfeasible.

Read the New Scientist’s article here. Woodworth’s work is to be published in the journal Global and Planetary Change.

Young Chagossian drummers win music award

Posted in Crawley, events on November 13th, 2011 by Robert Bain – Be the first to comment

The Ifield Community College Chagossian drummers have won the music award at this year’s Crawley Youth Awards.

The drummers have played music from their community to a wide audience, performing for many local charities and at community and civic events. They have performed all over the UK, including in London, Manchester and Birmingham.

They performed at Chichester Cathedral with the Ifield Community College Choir, the BBC Singers and the West Sussex Youth Orchestra, and took part in the Let the Peoples Sing choral festival, which was broadcast on BBC radio.

The 2006 visit on film

Posted in CRG, FCO, video on November 13th, 2011 by Robert Bain – Be the first to comment

Videos from the 2006 visit to the Chagos islands can now be seen on YouTube:
- Part one
- Part two
- Part three

A hundred Chagossians took part in the ten-day trip, organised by the Foreign Office, to Diego Garcia and several of the outer islands. CRG leader Olivier Bancoult said at the time: “We maintain our objective of returning to live in our birthplace. We think justice must be done but this first visit was very successful.”

Benjamin Zephaniah hits out at abuse of royal powers

Posted in Uncategorized on November 4th, 2011 by Robert Bain – 1 Comment

It’s fair to say you don’t hear a huge amount about Chagos in the mainstream media. So it was great to see poet and author Benjamin Zephaniah bringing up the Diego Garcia story on the BBC’s Question Time last night (it’s on iPlayer here, the relevant bit starts at 43:30).

It was part of a discussion about the royals meddling in politics, prompted by the controversy around Prince Charles being offered a veto on certain new legislation.

Zephaniah said:

“We are told that we elect our politicians and the royal family stay out of it… There’s an island called Diego Garcia, and the British citizens were moved off that island for an American base to come on. In the British courts the people of [Diego Garcia] won the right to return and because of some kind of antiquated rule or whatever, some people went into a room with the Queen and they stood up and the Queen just overruled the decision of the court… We’re not being democratic if politicians make decisions and members of the royal family can veto them.”

He’s right, although it’s worth pointing out that what the monarch rubber stamped that day was drafted by the Foreign Office under the New Labour government. It wasn’t the Queen who was abusing her power – the government were abusing it for her. So the problem isn’t so much the royals being naughty, it’s that their antiquated powers are wide open to abuse.

The result, as we know, is that vulnerable people suffer.

The whole story is brilliantly told in John Pilger’s film Stealing a Nation, which you can watch online here.