Africa Now November 2, 2016
Topics: Forced from Their Homeland for A U.S. Military Base: The Plight of Chagossians; and Burkina Faso Two Years After Popular Uprising
Topics and Guests: Recently we have seen reports of the secret expansion of military drone bases in Africa by the United States. The use of the African soil for the U.S. military is unfortunately not a new phenomenon. During the height of the Cold War in the 1960s and 1970s, people on the Chagos Archipelago (or Chagos Islands) in the Indian Ocean were forcibly removed to make way for a U.S. military base on Diego Garcia. The publisher’s description of David Vine’s book Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia notes that “…the little-known base has been instrumental in American military operations from the Cold War to the war on terror and may house a top-secret CIA prison where terror suspects are interrogated and tortured….” (From Publisher’s description http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9441.html) The Chagos Archipelago was administered as a British colony together with Mauritius from 1814 to 1965, prior to that it was a French colony. From 1965 the Chagos Islands were administered separately from Mauritius as British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). In 1968 Mauritius became independent and the Chagos Islands remained as overseas territories of the United Kingdom. Chagossians as noted earlier were forcibly expelled from their homeland by the U.K. and U.S. to poor living conditions in Mauritius and the Seychelles. In exile, Chagossians have consistently struggled to return to their native land and sought after proper compensation for destruction their lives have faced. The Chagossian community this year marks November 5 as Chagos Day: a day to remember their homeland, the Chagos Islands, and the unyielding endurance of Chagossians in exile. Chagossian leader Ms. Sabrina Jean joins Africa Now! to discuss the plight of her community in Mauritius, the Seychelles, and the U.K.: the history of its journey, the daily struggles it confronts, and possible actions of solidarity with the Chagossian people. Ms. Sabrina Jean is Chair of Chagos Refugees Group UK.
It has been two years since mass protests by a broad-based movement with strong youth presence at the helm (youth groups such as Balai Citoyen-- Citizens’ Broom), led to the ouster of former President Blaise Compaore. Compaore had been in power for 27 years after organizing the overthrow and killing of popular Pan-Africanist leader Thomas Sankara on October 15, 1987. On the eve of 2nd anniversary of October 2014 uprising, one-year old government of President Marc Christian Kaboré reported that it had squashed a coup attempt by suspected former members of the Presidential Guards loyal to Blaise Compaore. It is these same elements who attempted another coup last year in September prior to the elections which ushered in the current government. Joining Africa Now! today to dissect the situation in Burkina Faso today; and the legacy of Thomas Sankara is Mr. Paul Sankara. Mr. Paul Sankara, is a Member of the Committee against Impunity in Burkina Faso, is a brother of Burkina Faso’s late revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara.
Originally broadcast on WPFW 89.3FM, Washington, DC. Tune into Africa Now! live on WPFW 89.3 FM in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area or visit www.wpfwfm.org on Wednesdays from 1:00 to 2:00PM (Eastern).
(Image of cover of book Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia courtesy of the author David Vine)