But it’s the displaced people who have the greatest complaint and it’s the injustice they have suffered that ought to be seen, heard and protested by us citizens of the empire. Think of the Greenland Inuit people removed to make way for Thule Air Base, of the South Korean farmers who have been ousted from precious and productive rice paddies, think of the Chamoru natives of Guam, the Marshall Islanders who have been bounced around from one radioactive atoll to another.
Or the Chagos of Diego Garcia. It’s a story that should shake us to the very core of our American exceptionalism. These people had lived for generations on Diego Garcia and other islands of the Chagos archipelago in the middle of the Indian Ocean and were removed by the United Kingdom and the United States in the 1960s and ’70s to make way for what has become the largest U.S. military installation outside the continental U.S. As they were being deported to Mauritius, 1,200 miles distant, some islanders threw themselves into the sea in grief.