Eviction from the Chagos Islands

Displacement and Struggle for Identity Against Two World Powers

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Editors: Sandra Evers and Marry Kooy
This book examines the history and contemporary living conditions of Chagossians who were evicted from the Chagos archipelago in the Indian Ocean to make way for a strategic U.S. military base. Initially part of colonial Mauritius, Chagos was integrated into a new colony named the British Indian Ocean Territory in 1965. In 1966, Great Britain transferred control of Diego Garcia, the largest Chagos island, to the Americans under a fifty year lease. The expulsions which followed were designed to satisfy the U.S. demand for an unpopulated territory. The Chagossians were thus forced to resettle in Mauritius and the Seychelles, where livelihoods are poor and marginalized. The Chagossians are currently engaged in a campaign seeking right of return to the archipelago and recognition as a people forced to live in diaspora.
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Biographical Note

Sandra J.T.M. Evers, Ph.D., is associate professor and senior researcher at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, VU University Amsterdam. She acts as convener of an international working group on the anthropology of children: www.anthropologyofchildren.net and directs a research project on foreign large-scale land acquisitions in Africa and Madagascar.

Marry Kooy is a freelance journalist who holds a Masters degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology from VU University Amsterdam. She is reading for her second Masters degree, in Christian Studies of Science and Society, at the Department of Philosophy, VU University Amsterdam.

Review Quote

'This collection is a comprehensive compendium of texts on the Chagossians and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Not only is it of value to those familiar with the islands and their inhabitants, but it provides a thorough overview of the islands’ history, culture, traumas and imaginaries for those for whom the story is little known'.

Iain Walker, COMPAS, University of Oxford


'Evers and Kooy showcase some original contributions to the historical, anthropological, and legal literatures on
the Indian Ocean, demonstrating that edited volumes are most effective when they go beyond simply summarizing the existing literature. The book is well written and accessible, and will be of benefit to students (undergraduate and advanced) and researchers alike.

Peter Harris, University of Texas at Austin

In: African Affairs (2012) 111(444): 503-506

Table of contents

CONTENTS

List of Illustrations ......................................................................................vii
Timeline .........................................................................................................ix
Acknowledgements ..................................................................................... xv

Redundancy on the Instalment Plan: Chagossians and the Right to be Called a People ........................1
Sandra J.T.M. Evers & Marry Kooy

From the Birth of the Ilois to the “Footprint of Freedom”: A History of Chagos and the Chagossians ............11
David Vine

Clement Siatous: Chagossian Artist in Exile ............................................37

“Native Ilois of Chagos”: Excerpts from the Narratives of Dussercle (1933–36) .............41
Vinesh Y. Hookoomsing

Atman Ramchalaon: Seeking the Facts .....................................................59

The Making of the Chagos Affair: Myths and Reality ............................61
Jocelyn Chan Low

Charlesia Alexis: The Struggle of the Chagossian Women .....................81

Sorrow, Sadness, and Impoverishment: The Lives of Chagossians in Mauritius .............83
Laura Jeffery and David Vine

Bernadette Dugasse: Born in Diego Garcia December 1956 ...............................................103

Chagossians Twice Forgotten: Exile in the Seychelles ..........................105
David Vine

Allen Vincatassin: Negotiating Life in Mauritius and the UK..............125

Responsibility and Redress: Th e Chagossian Litigation in the English Courts ..............127
Stephen Allen

Olivier Bancoult: Leading the Way Back to Chagos ..............................153

Self-Determination in the Post-Colonial Era: Prospects for the Chagossians ...................157
Maureen Tong

Aurélie Marie-Lisette Talate: Young Again in Diego .............................181

Cleaning for the Dead: The Chagossian Pilgrimage to their Homeland ........................183
Steffen F. Johannessen

Perspectives of a UK Member of Parliament: “Chagos, Just Plain Injustice” ...............217

‘A Lost People’? Chagossian onward Migration and Echoes of Marginalisation in Crawley
Laura Jeffery ........................................................................................ 219

Reverend Mario Li Hing: Committed to the Chagossian Cause .............................239

Longing and Belonging in Real Time: How Chagossian Children in Mauritius Imagine the Chagos Islands ....241
Sandra J.T.M. Evers

About the Authors .....................................................................................273
Bibliography ...............................................................................................277
Index ...........................................................................................................289

Readership

This book is of interest to readers interested in (forced) migration, displacement, diaspora, refugee studies, geopolitics, slavery, colonialism, post-colonialism, memory and retrieval, indigenous peoples, Mauritius, Seychelles and Indian Ocean Studies.

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