Many of you have written to us recently, specially after the haunting John Pilger film, STEALING A NATION. People who have seen the film want to know what they can do to help. Their questions often take three forms:
1. What can I do to help to get the USA-UK military base on Diego Garcia closed down?
2. What can I do to help the 2,000 people and their children who were forcibly removed 35 years ago and just abandoned on the dockside in Port Louis, on Mauritius main Island?
3. What can I do to help decolonize the Islands of Chagos, and put an end to this fiction of British Indian Ocean Territories?
The first answer is simple: In all things you do PLEASE KEEP ALL THESE THREE ISSUES UNITED INTO ONE ISSUE. Experience has taught us that victory lies in understanding how history has worked and how we can, if we understand the issues a little, work together with a future history to win.
What we must remember is that it was the very same historical forces (the USA and UK State) that created these apparently three different problems that can be dealt with separately. In fact, they did them all in one-and-the-same-thing. And then it led to these three different cruel legacies.
The USA and UK governments. (often behind the backs of elected representatives and of the people) wanted a joint military base to control Africa, the Middle East and Asia from. They needed no people there. They therefore needed to dismember the State of Mauritius, de-colonizing part (where they would deposit the displaced people) while keeping part for their base.
The enemy is weak when we hit all three issues at once.
Thanks for your help.
Below are some ideas of how you can help in the whole process around Diego Garcia, until the huge idea of a whole PEACE FLOTILLA to Diego Garcia gets to be a reality on the high seas.
1. You could write to your MP or Congressman or woman, asking them to bring up the issue with the Prime Minister of President, as the case may be, mentioning all the points:
o Decolonization of Diego Garcia and the Chagos, by re-unification of Mauritius.
o Immediate base closure! (Add that no new base should be built either!)
o The right to return, and full compensation to all Chagossians.
o To let the Red Cross and journalists come and investigate the allegations that there are prisoners on Diego Garcia.
o Demand an ecological clean-up of Diego
2. You could also write direct to your PM or President on these points, calling on them to change their policies.
3.Your letter can also become a petition from a group of people, or from an organization, club, association, union branch.
4. You can join and support the NO US BASES campaign whose aim is to Close down all military bases worldwide, and which has put Diego Garcia as one of its four priorities amongst the 702 U.S. bases in 140 countries outside the U.S.
5. You can put the Diego Garcia issue on to the agenda of the anti-war movement in your country. The General Assembly of the Global Anti-War Movement which met in Mumbai in January 2004 adopted the resolution to work on base-closures world-wide, including Diego Garcia as a priority. The Social Activists Assembly at Mumbai rejoiced in the closing down of the enormous US Navy base in Vieques, Puerto Rico, 63 years after the forcible removal of the inhabitants. REMIND PEOPLE THAT BASE CLOSURE IS POSSIBLE, just look at Vieques!
5.Support the idea of the PEACE FLOTILLA TO DIEGO GARCIA.
6. If you are lucky enough to have an MP like Jeremy Corbyn (who has kept the Diego Garcia issue on the table for years) or live near Prof. Stoddard (I think he is at UCLA), you could invite people like them to give a talk on what is happening around the issue (at your school, university, or in your neighbourhood).
7.You can write a short article for your local newspaper or for a newsletter, based on information on our site.
8.You can perhaps get a copy of the John Pilger film and organizing showings so that other people can join the campaign. Apparently you can write to Video Library, ITV1, Gas Street, Birmingham B1 2JT, UK for a copy.
9. You can also visit our website www.lalitmauritius.com . There is a whole book available if you double click on the picture of the book of Diego Garcia. Please feel free to invite other people who want peace and justice to visit our site too.
10. Let us know of anything you do organize (however small you might think it is), because when we put all these things together, they become big.