by Grosset, Florian | Mauritius
Published 17/06/2021 by Myriad Editions in the United Kingdom
Paperback | 112 pages, Black and white illustrations throughout
A shocking graphic novel account of poverty and discrimination suffered by the Chagos Islanders when their eviction by the British enforced US military control of their Indian Ocean home.
During the cold war, the US government sought to establish an overseas military presence in the Indian Ocean. This graphic novel is a shocking account of British complicity in the forced exodus of the Chagos Islanders from their homeland to make that plan possible.
Between 1965 and 1973 the inhabitants of the Chagos archipelago were forcibly removed from their homeland and dumped in Mauritius and Seychelles. Diego Garcia, the largest island in the group, was leased to the USA by the United Kingdom to accommodate the largest US military air base outside the US mainland. The agreement continues until 2036.
Florian Grosset’s searing account of the eviction, and the harsh life faced by the Chagossians after their displacement, looks back to the first generation of slaves who arrived on the archipelago and the lives of their descendants. It charts the present-day diaspora of Chagossians, their fight for the right to return through protests and court cases, and the different strategies still being used to keep them away from their land. Although, in 2016, the British government denied the right of the Chagossians to return to the islands, the islanders continue to fight for the right to return, many of them now to a homeland they never knew. In February 2019, the International Court of Justice ruled that the UK decolonisation process of the Chagos islands was unlawful, and that the UK should end its control of the Indian Ocean archipelago, which includes a US military base.