Friday, June 01, 2007

"Just one thing ... "

A British Court has ruled that the Chagos people must be returned to Diego Garcia, from which they were removed by Britain forty years ago. Now that America has leased Diego Garcia, the court has decided to return them. "After that crushing legal rebuke to the government, the Chagossians probably would have gone home in due course -- except for 9/11."

Despite the stream of reports describing how peace-loving European nations are, the legacy of their Colonial past keeps jumping up to bite nations in the present. Whether we are talking about Iraq (formerly Mesopotamia), Africa or Diego Garcia, some skeleton always seems to be popping out of the cupboard. And when it does, the press seems read to conclude that America put it there.

And in a way, shame on America for imagining that when Europe handed it the keys to system administration on its long retreat to the Peaceful Continent, that the facilities it was turning over weren't full of buried bodies, unpaid bills and cursed secret passages. The horror! The horror!


Blogger ADE said...


I'll go first.

shame on America for imagining that when Europe handed it the keys to system administration on its long retreat to the Peaceful Continent

You've got to be joking. Europe will hand the keys to the soviets before they will hand the keys to US.

Americans don't realise what an afront to noblisse oblige they are since the Irish paddies were to to the English.

It's not easy being in front.


6/02/2007 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

I'll go second:

Maybe emoticons are necessary to express irony blogospherically?

Just sayin'

6/02/2007 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

“The White Man’s Burden”: Kipling’s Hymn to U.S. Imperialism

In February 1899, British novelist and poet Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem entitled “The White Man’s Burden: The United States and The Philippine Islands.” In this poem, Kipling urged the U.S. to take up the “burden” of empire, as had Britain and other European nations. Published in the February, 1899 issue of McClure’s Magazine, the poem coincided with the beginning of the Philippine-American War and U.S. Senate ratification of the treaty that placed Puerto Rico, Guam, Cuba, and the Philippines under American control. Theodore Roosevelt, soon to become vice-president and then president, copied the poem and sent it to his friend, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, commenting that it was “rather poor poetry, but good sense from the expansion point of view.” Not everyone was as favorably impressed as Roosevelt. The racialized notion of the “White Man’s burden” became a euphemism for imperialism, and many anti-imperialists couched their opposition in reaction to the phrase.

Take up the White Man’s burden—

Send forth the best ye breed—

Go send your sons to exile

To serve your captives' need

To wait in heavy harness

On fluttered folk and wild—

Your new-caught, sullen peoples,

Half devil and half child

Take up the White Man’s burden

In patience to abide

To veil the threat of terror

And check the show of pride;

By open speech and simple

An hundred times made plain

To seek another’s profit

And work another’s gain

Take up the White Man’s burden—

And reap his old reward:

The blame of those ye better

The hate of those ye guard—

The cry of hosts ye humour

(Ah slowly) to the light:

"Why brought ye us from bondage,

“Our loved Egyptian night?”

Take up the White Man’s burden-

Have done with childish days-

The lightly proffered laurel,

The easy, ungrudged praise.

Comes now, to search your manhood

Through all the thankless years,

Cold-edged with dear-bought wisdom,

The judgment of your peers!

6/02/2007 08:20:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

I spent some time on Diego Garcia back in my Navy days. Beautiful island with white sand beaches and lush palm trees. It was, oddly enough, also covered with wild cats and chickens.

How far back in history must one go to right past wrongs? Why aren't African-Americans demanding reparations from Arab slavers and the other African tribes that sold their bretheren into slavery? Why don't they demand the right of return that Palestinians insist on?

How can Brits maintain that Jews have no rights to Israel when the Jews were there BEFORE the Arabs? Maybe the Israellis could borrow the liberal British judges who made the Diego Garcia ruling and sue the Palestinians in court...

6/03/2007 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

Talk about a bad case of Eminent Domain.

6/03/2007 10:47:00 PM  

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