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‘NPR’ does two-parter honoring right of return for Chagos islanders expelled 40 years ago

US Politics
on 5 Comments

Yesterday National Public Radio did a piece honoring the right of return of the Chagossian people, who were expelled from the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean (notable for Diego Garcia island) in the 1960s-70s to make way for a US military base. Throughout his report, Ari Shapiro validated the islanders’ aim to return:

SHAPIRO: The Chagossian people were then shipped more than a thousand miles away to Mauritius, where they lived in abject poverty. This was all to make way for an American military base. Jeremy Corbyn is a member of British Parliament who’s worked on the issue for decades.

JEREMY CORBYN: It was a secret deal done between two governments which resulted in islanders being hoodwinked out of their homes and from their islands. And they’ve sought, ever since, their right of return.

SABRINA JEAN: When I been on the island, we said, we are on our motherland.

SHAPIRO: Sabrina Jean chairs the U.K. Chagos Refugees Group in London.

JEAN: Especially when you wake up in the morning, when the elderly told to you about the singing of the bird, about the sea – the blue sea – everything. It was – for me, it a paradise island.

SHAPIRO: Today, it’s difficult to find anyone who will defend the decision to expel the islanders. Many people who represented the British government over the last 40 years now side with the Chaggosians…

After 40 years, it now seems that the walls to resettlement are beginning to fall. A U.N. tribunal just issued a ruling that may help the Chaggosians return. And an independent study commissioned by the British government suggests specific ways that resettlement could happen.

That wasn’t enough. Last night on All Things Considered, they did part two of the story:

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

We’re going to pick up now on a story we began on Morning Edition today. It’s about an incident that’s been called one of the most shameful chapters in British postwar history, and it directly involves the United States.

One islander, allowed to return for a brief visit, saw people from many other countries working on the soil that was dear to him:

[Bernard] NOURRICE: It’s heartbreaking. Also, I feel so ashamed to see there were no Chagossians gaining their living from the land of their birth on which foreigners are living happily.

Ari Shapiro

Ari Shapiro

Ari Shapiro seemed to endorse the aim of the refugees to return, and Nourrice described it as a human rights issue.

SHAPIRO: Last month, a U.N. tribunal said the U.K. does not have the right to make unilateral decisions about a marine preserve on the Islands. That gives hope to people like Bernard Nourrice, who left the Islands when he was 5.

Do you expect that you will live on the Chagos Islands again?

NOURRICE: That’s my hope. Chagos Island – it’s a paradise.

Imagine if NPR did anything like this for Palestinian refugees, who also have loving memories of their homeland and whose right to return is enshrined in international law. Siegel and Shapiro surely know about that human rights situation; but Palestinians remain dehumanized in the US discourse, and the right of return is understood inside the Jewish community only as, A nightmare for Israel. Even if creative minds have come up with resettlement programs there too.

Thanks to Austin Branion.

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5 Responses

  1. Boomer
    Boomer
    April 17, 2015, 2:06 pm

    Good catch. Messrs. Shapiro, Siegel, and their bosses at NPR have a strange world view, which has come to seem normal because it is the normal fare on MSM.

    Slightly edited:

    Mr. SHAPIRO:

    “Today, it’s difficult to find anyone who will defend the decision to expel the [inhabitants.]

    Mr. SIEGEL:

    “We’re going to pick up now on a story we began on Morning Edition today. It’s about an incident that’s been called one of the most shameful chapters in British postwar history, and it directly involves the United States.”

    Mr. NOURRICE: “It’s heartbreaking. Also, I feel so ashamed to see there were no [native inhabitants] gaining their living from the land of their birth on which foreigners are living happily.”

  2. just
    just
    April 17, 2015, 5:49 pm

    This is really good news for the displaced and mistreated Chagossians!

    But, NPR and all those that are so concerned are obviously PEP.

    Where’s their conscience? My guess is that the US military base is not growing by leaps and bounds, and that the Chagossian people will be allowed to return and hopefully (at least partially) compensated for their forced exile.

    On the other hand, Israel keeps soliciting Jewish folks to come and displace more Palestinians. Hey Mr. Siegel, I’ve got another “most shameful chapter” for you to consider on your next edition of “All Things Considered”! It’s actually more than a “chapter”, it’s an ongoing and serial nightmare.

    PEP.

  3. Bumblebye
    Bumblebye
    April 17, 2015, 6:34 pm

    1776. The year French colonists were given permission to set up plantations and bring in slaves, from whom the Chagossians are descended. So, since they were evicted in the 1960’s and 70’s how did they have time to become Chagossian? Less than 200 yers! 2000 years seems not to count for Palestinians!

    http://www.chagossupport.org.uk/background/history

  4. RoHa
    RoHa
    April 18, 2015, 12:46 am

    The Chagossians were expelled by the wrong people for the wrong purpose, so they get sympathy.

  5. Scandipope
    Scandipope
    April 18, 2015, 7:55 am

    Aside from the fact, that it’s been over 70 years, and most of the people who would “have loving memories of their homeland” are long gone, the two situations are completely different.

    You don’t have to be Israeli or Jewish to realize that the right of return is a non-starter. Everyone outside the narrow circles of the far left in the ‘Viva Palestina’ crowd understand this.

    Heck, even plenty of Palestinians I’ve talked to know that the right of return will never happen, and that its for the best.

    For political reasons Abbas must pretend that the right of return is non negotiable, blah blah, but you think he’s really eager to see an influx of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people, into an economy that’s challeneged enough as it is?

    Many of the Palestinian refugees are fed and have their schooling paid for by the UNRWA. You seriously think, that he’s in any way or shape eager to take over that responsibility?

    In that case I have a wonderful property on Diego Garcia you might be interested in.

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