I first saw the island of Diego Garcia when a damaged yacht I helped crew across the Indian Ocean landed there in monsoon season in 1975. Information in the pilot book stated that the Chagos Islands were a group of seven atolls with more than 60 tropical islands and that the US had leased it for 99 years in order to build a top-secret military base there. It was off limits for visitors but we urgently needed help and began our “Mayday-mayday-mayday!” calls for three long days until we were finally granted permission to dock there.
I didn’t learn the sordid history of Diego Garcia until we sailed on and docked in the Seychelles. While there I met natives from Diego Garcia who shared their sad story of being forcefully removed, their animals gassed, and being shipped to far away places by the UK with no concern for the welfare of the native people.
I am sad to learn that the Supreme Court in the UK has ruled that the Chagos native islanders cannot return to their homeland.
Shame on the US and UK for forcing the natives of Diego Garcia off their island homeland in order to build a top-secret military base in the Indian Ocean.