Resettling Diego Garcia?

UK announces new feasibility study into resettlement of the British Indian Ocean Territory

MercoPress, 9 July 2013.
The British government announced to Parliament that it will commission a new feasibility study into the resettlement of the British Indian Ocean Territory, BIOT, whose indigenous population the Chagossian was removed in the sixties and early seventies for defense reasons and is an issue that remains highly controversial and sensitive.

Read the rest of the article at

Wow! I thought reading the headlines from MercoPress. Resettlement of the remote coral atolls in the Indian Ocean? After all these years? Why now?

A flashback in time… 1975, when I first viewed the bay of the largest Chagos Island—Diego Garcia.

A private yacht, I helped crew, got stuck on a coral reef and capsized. Our crew was reluctantly rescued by the British and American navies. Although civilians and women in the military weren’t officially allowed on the island, the British governor invited all of the crew to dine with him at his home. We women went first, showered and later dined, wondering all evening why the male members of the crew didn’t arrive for dinner. The governor said he didn’t know what happened to them. He assured us they would come later. Much later, we returned to the yacht. The men were furious. Seems the governor wanted to have only women guests that evening.

Several days later, after repairs, we sailed on to the Seychelles and spent several weeks enjoying a real paradise.

What I didn’t know, at the time, was the brutal history of the Chagos Island. After landing in the Seychelles, I started hearing stories from natives about how NATO had forcibly removed the entire population. Descendants of African slaves, the original Chagos Islanders, were expelled and relocated to other islands in the area, so the British and Americans could have a secret military base in the remote center of the Indian Ocean—a listening site for NATO, a place to refuel bombers, and later reportedly used for the infamous American ‘renditions.’ This military base has been crucial to U.S. military strategy for the past 25 years, and has functioned as a launch pad for bombing raids in Iraq and Afghanistan. A great location to wreak havoc on people most British and Americans don’t know, or care, exist.

This ignorance serves the needs of multinational (i.e., extra-national) corporations to extract resources for profit, regardless of the human costs among humans who apparently don’t count.
So why now, would the British government care about restoring the island to its original inhabitants?

In 2016 America’s 50-year lease on the island of Diego Garcia expires. The option to extend the leasing rights must be agreed upon by December 2014. At issue is the question of sovereignty.

To me, it smells. And not good.

Abandoned places around the world

I lived in Kyrenia, Cyprus in 1974 when the Greek Coup and subsequent invasion by Turkey rained harm on my idyllic life and that of all people who considered Cyprus their home. I have written a memoir (The Lullaby Illusion— ) about this period of my life and what I have learned from this experience—a journey of awakening, of realizing how the world works or doesn’t, and why these tragedies occur again and again leaving graveyards of civilizations.

See photos of abandoned places around the world

These stark and stunning photos of abandoned places tell amazing stories of human lives and livelihoods lost, and civilizations in chaos. All speak of life interrupted—by wars, disasters, the collapse of commerce. Most occurred when governments and industries made decisions that rained harm. Only one of these abandoned places—the picturesque Italian village of San Pietro die Monti—was caused by a natural disaster, when a series of earthquakes struck the area. People, governments, corporations, and their decisions have caused the tragedies that struck the others.

My hope is that these photos will educate people on the injustices that occur on our planet—on our watch—inflicting great injury to all for decades to come.

Susan Joyce

“Life Happens Live it!

Inspirational speaker, author, and family friend, Jake French, coined this phrase after a devastating accident and spinal cord injury in 2008 left him a quadriplegic. From one instant to the next—turn, turn—his life drastically changed and in the first few days both he and his family felt hopeless. Then Jake chose to get out of the “pity-pit” and live his life to its fullest by focusing on the positive.

And so when our carefully planned schedule recently came to a screeching halt—when our son Jesse fell down steep stairs and broke his left ankle exactly one week before a trip to the States where he had hoped to start a new life on his own—I reminded him of Jake’s horrific accident.

“A bad fracture,” the doctor told Jesse. “Surgery was successful because the operation was done in a timely fashion, restoring normal anatomy and assuring normal function of the leg.” The doctor went on to explain that Jesse was lucky because it could have been a much worse accident. He told Jesse that he’d need to stay off the leg for several months and wear a cast for at lest four. The first few days in the hospital were the worst for Jesse as he sorted through the whole inconvenient ordeal of not being able to walk. He also worked through a range of emotions as he questioned why this was happening to him.

Being a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and to everything there is a season—turn, turn—I tried to console Jesse by sharing my philosophy and belief that every cloud has a silver lining. He’s heard this one from me before. We talked about how inconvenient mishaps, that stop us in our tracks, can  move us forward or backward in life—depending on our attitude. Problems and difficult times can lead us to better days if we learn from the mishap. To which he replied, “I guess I wasn’t meant to leave Uruguay now, for whatever reason.” By the time Jesse arrived home, he seemed accepting of his fate and changed by the ordeal.

Jake’s tragic mishap made him realize the importance of turning “excuses into expectations” through positive attitude, focus, and choice. Jake’s living his best life—and sharing with others what’s possible when one refuses to accept limitations and instead focuses on the challenges and choices life presents. Thanks Jake!
Susan Joyce

Link to Jake’s site

Tribute to Stuart Wilde

Stuart Wilde, the great metaphysical teacher and writer has passed on. May he rest in peace knowing his steady light brightened the way to my awakening.  His philosophy and writings have greatly influenced my life and my works. Thank you Stuart Wilde for sharing your thoughts with others. Link to Stuart Wilde site


Money – Cyprus, and beyond?

I am not an economist, but I do know that in today’s world one cannot live without money.

As I follow the Cyprus Banking story Bail-in , Bail-out (also known as theft of customer’s funds) — front and center on news around the world, I flash back to when I lived in Cyprus from 1971 to July 1974, before the coup and the war.

I lived in Kyrenia, a northern coastal village where colorful fishing boats bobbed in the azure blue Mediterranean bay. Known as the jewel in the crown of the island of Cyprus, it seemed the perfect paradise as I walked most days down the cobblestone roads to a local bakery, a market, the beach, or to meet friends for lunch in the old harbor.

Image of boats in semicircular harbour, low buildings of the village, turquise waters, mountains in the background.
Kyrenia Harbour, Cyprus. Image from Wikimedia Commons. 2006-07-15. Released by owner into Public Domain.

On 15 July 1974 my life in paradise was shattered by a military coup d’état to overthrow the sitting president, Archbishop Makarios. Stuck in Nicosia, near the airport, in the middle of the chaos with tanks firing around me, I sought shelter with friends in their apartment. A curfew was in place, so I couldn’t return to my home in Kyrenia until the curfew was lifted on the 17th for a few hours, so that people could shop for food and supplies. Escorted by a friend with the UN, I drove back to my home in Kyrenia.

Banks were still closed. And in 1974, ATMs didn’t exist for people to rush to and form long queues to drain the machine dry. No way for anyone to take money out, until the government allowed the banks to reopen. I listened along with other shocked people as the radio reported that the Ministry of Finance announced that Cyprus’ banks would remain shut to give regulators time to guard against a run on deposits. Deposits? Surely they meant to say a run on withdrawals.

Long line of customers crowding the bank entrance.
Bank run at a Bank of Cyprus branch in Nicosia, Thursday 28 March 2013, after 12-day closure of banks and withdrawal limits at ATMs. Photo courtesy of The Guardian at the linked story. ©2013 The Guardian News and Media Ltd, All Rights Reserved..

When banks finally opened their doors for business on the 18th, I joined others in a long line outside the bank to get my money out. I drained my account knowing my paradise was coming to an end. I filled the car tank with gas, paid a neighbor to look after my cat, indefinitely, gave her money to purchase cat food for six months, and helped friends financially who didn’t get their cash out.

On 20 July 1974, Turkey invaded and all hell broke loose as we dodged bullets and bombs to survive the war (avoiding becoming what is now called ‘collateral damage’ — in other words, dead.)

On 23 July, we were rescued and airlifted off the island.

Cyprus was an awakening for me on many levels. I lost everything I owned, escaped with the clothes on my back, and felt grateful to be alive. Others weren’t so lucky.

Cyprus also taught me that doomsday can happen anywhere, at any time — a natural disaster, a financial disaster, the loss of a home. The important thing is to be aware and plan, so that your assets don’t all sit in one basket under one government.

No wonder the people of Cyprus are frustrated, furious. Governments no longer work for the people, they work for the banks.

Why I Wrote “The Lullaby Illusion”

Why I wrote the book. Full post exclusively, this week, on the new Google+ Page for The Lullaby Illusion.

A sampler…

It originated as I struggled in my search for answers, my attempt to fit together pieces of a life shattered by the coup in Cyprus on 15 July 1974, followed five days later by the Turkish invasion on 20 July 1974. Thousands of lives were drastically changed forever by the atrocities, including foreigners who happened to live there.

Of which I was one.

For years following the war, I marveled, bewildered, at how a tranquil place – which seemed like paradise – could simply go away, rendered a living hell in the space of a few days…

Also please visit my Profile and Public post Stream for all my other interests and posts, and to share with me personally!

An Idyllic Childhood

Sepia-toned photo of young Susan with long curly hair.
Susan in 4th grade.

I had an idyllic childhood, but as a kid, I didn’t know it. As the matter of fact I was convinced that the spaceship had left me in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong family.

Only now, years later, do I realize how fortunate I was to be born into a family who loved and nurtured me to the best of their ability during my formative years. My father was a preacher and passed on his strict religious beliefs in sermons and around the kitchen table. So there were many things we weren’t allowed to do. No television. No cussing, no dancing (unless it was in the spirit), to name a few.

But we were encouraged to read, to write, to sing, to play a musical instrument (my mother played piano), and to spend play time in the big outdoors. Cowboys and Indians with my brothers and sisters, along the slopes of a wash located near our house was a favorite pastime. Our elaborate forts were built to last forever, or until the next flash flood suddenly washed them away.

My dog, Brownie, a brown-and-white-spotted dalmatian with bad breath, was my constant companion. He’d follow me deep into the desert, exploring nooks and crannies, as we made our way to the top of a large, flat, always hot rock—our secret spot. We would sit for hours watching magic happen. From our high perch, we surveyed the groves of barrel cacti and watched cars wind their way up the road past Sabina Canyon, to Mount Lemon. We watched rocks grow and cactus flowers bloom and die. Communicating with nature, I felt at one with everything around me. I watched, listened, and dreamed, as I patiently waited on the spaceship to return. My imagination went wild and a voice within encouraged me to dream on.

That was my childhood. Idyllic for a creative soul. My first short story, about my dog Brownie and his bad liver breath was imagined and developed on that hot rock. It won first place in a school competition when I was in the fourth grade. And a voice within encouraged me to write on. So I do.

Looking back, was your childhood idyllic to get you where you are today? I’d love to hear from you. Please leave your thoughts right here in my comment section.

The Lullaby Illusion, coming May 2013!

Excited to let you know we are almost there! The ebook versions and available print book of The Lullaby Illusion, a memoir of life and love in wartime, cold war in continental Europe and hot shooting war in Cyprus, will be released in early May.  Available at your favorite online bookstore as an ebook or for order as a trade paperback. Your local bookstore will be able to get it through their regular distributors if they aren’t stocking it.

Pre-orders should be available soon, and we’ll have the links right here on the site. Plus the cover photo, and more, as soon as we have that ready.

Love to get your feedback and questions after, or during, reading it. Meanwhile, please explore the information about Cyprus and the other lands that are the backdrop of my journey.

Susan with a minature pony
Susan & Cloud