"Give us back our homeland" New Day Article on Chagos
Recently launched newspaper the New Day carried a sympathetic article on Chagossian return today (6th April), told mainly through first-generation islander Toto Bertrand, now 61 and living in Crawley. He was ten when he and his family were forcibly and suddenly evicted. They went first to Mauritius - as New Day puts is 'from peaceful paradise island to dire poverty - before he finally moved to Britain.
The article lays out the bare facts of when and why the deportations occurred. Harold Wilson’s Government are named as the original culprits, but it adds that there have been forty years 'of setbacks and political blocks' under Governments of all colours.
The article rightly notes though goes on to say that change may be in the air. World famous human rights lawyer Amal Clooney is representing their case in the Supreme Court. A Government-commissioned study, meanwhile, assessed that return was realistic and the Government have now accepted return is practically feasible.
Want to find out how you can do more to help Chagossians like Toto, Jenny and Nelson win their fight to return home? Find out on our Return Campaign page.
Jeremy Corbyn has also given it his backing as has a wide number of politicians from all parties. Jenny Betrand mentions in the article decisions from the Government are expected any day now and the family are waiting anxiously. In spite of causes for optimism, experience has even taught 11 year old Nelson to be cautious.
“I hope David Cameron will let us go back, but I think he won’t. He’ll be like the other Prime Minister who took our land," Nelson tells the newspaper.
The article concludes with Toto and his family imagining their alternative life in their homeland where you can swim in the sea every day - "You can't do that in Brighton" - and where they are free from all the consumerist trapping of the modern world. No laptops and mobile phones. "That's the sort of lifestyle I would love to give my son," says Toto.