12 May 2015

I am asking for quite a stretch in imagination and compassion, but isn't that what being alive is all about?

This morning I was sitting in my kitchen with my head under a towel, breathing in the supposedly healing vapours of thyme and sage, listening to online radio. As my luck would have it I had tuned into one of my favourite Irish stations just as the news came on. Or rather: nuacht, that is news as gaeilge/in Irish. One of the charming little rituals that probably mean very little to most and an awful lot so some people in Ireland. Like the Angelus at six pm, still live on radio every evening.

I can understand three words in Irish: agus (and), buíochas (thank you) and grá (love). When I listen to someone speaking in Irish it's all mystery to me, like an ancient chant.
And then suddenly I heard the word Kathmandu. Another massive earthquake. Oh dear, oh saints in heavens and people on this planet.
Of course, we will all and everyone try and do what we can. Surely. It will involve money. The media will supply us with enough horrific evidence to imagine a fraction of what is happening.

And here comes the stretching because I am now jumping from Nepal to the Indian Ocean. To a place hardly anybody knows. A most beautiful place, paradise. I can honestly call it that because I have lived in a very similar place for a couple of years not too far from there. It has been the best of times for me and for my man and our child. The very best of times. And although we have all had many more best of times since, 25 years later we are all three still homesick for it. 
Which is why I can feel some of the sadness (sagren in Chagossian Creole) you can see in these faces if you please take the short time to watch:

Let Us Return - The Story of the Chagos Islanders - 2015 from Evoque on Vimeo.

And while I have been working too long for human rights organisations to believe that online petitions have any meaningful effect at all, I nevertheless ask you to sign here anyway and hope for a miracle. There is no doubt in my mind that these people need to return and that they can have a happy life there. Not a single doubt.
If you have a bit more time, also watch this video.



  1. Oh Nepal - it's almost too painful to think about, another earthquake just as they were beginning to pick up the bits after the last one.

  2. That is the first petition I have signed in a long time, having lost all faith in the petition process until this moment. Today I know that nothing is impossible. There are miracles.

    Did watch both videos and am moved. At the end of "Stealing A Nation," Rita Bancoult speaks the word "God" in a startling way that reminded me of how I once heard it spoken by a Lummi Indian woman who was ten years younger than I was at that time. My friend was not speaking of a theoretical God, a God that she was told to believe in, or any concept of God I had ever been exposed to. She was speaking of a lived experience of trust and of miracles in her life that she attributed to something she chose to call God, something much older than religion, something that she could trust with her life and the lives of those she loved. She had grown up in poverty and experienced sexual trauma as a child on the Indian reservation that is side by side with Bellingham. She did not learn to read until she was in her 30s, and that was in 1987.

    There is a striking parallel between the intergenerational trauma of her people and the exiled people of Chagos. So many die of sadness and continue to die of sadness in our world today.

    Quoted from "Stealing A Nation":

    "The doctors cannot treat sadness."

    Perhaps it is a miracle that there are those all over the world who survive all these traumas and remain in touch with the memories before the sadness (intergenerational memory of paradise) and do not lose hope.

    Thank you, Sabine, for passing on this message of hope today.

  3. Am, have a look here also: http://newatlantisproject.com/

  4. I get so many on-line petitions now that I don't sign them all, even though I know most of them are worthy. But if one seems especially important, either to me or to someone who draws my attention to it, as this one, then I do. I try not to question too much how effective they are, sometimes it just seems important to keep drawing attention to things.