Chagos includes Diego Garcia

“First, they tried to shoot the dogs. Next, they tried to poison them with strychnine. When both failed as efficient killing methods, British government agents and U.S. Navy personnel used raw meat to lure the pets into a sealed shed. Locking them inside, they gassed the howling animals with exhaust piped in from U.S. military vehicles. Then, setting coconut husks ablaze, they burned the dogs’ carcasses as their owners were left to watch and ponder their own fate.

The truth about the U.S. military base on the British-controlled Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia is often hard to believe. It would be easy enough to confuse the real story with fictional accounts of the island found in the Transformersmovies, on the television series 24, and in Internet conspiracy theories about the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

While the grim saga of Diego Garcia frequently reads like fiction, it has proven all too real for the people involved. It’s the story of a U.S. military base built on a series of real-life fictions told by U.S. and British officials over more than half a century.”

Suzelle, interviewed by Mauritian TV yesterday, said something I didn’t know I’m sure: USians took care of their murdered dogs’ cemetery but left their ancestors’ cemetery in an abandoned state. Translation mine, from memory.

All other quotes from this article.

“Aurélie Lisette Talate was one of the last to go. “I came to Mauritius with six children and my mother,” she told me. “We got our house… but the house didn’t have a door, didn’t have running water, didn’t have electricity. And then my children and I began to suffer. All my children started getting sick.”

Within two months, two of her children were dead. The second was buried in an unmarked grave because she lacked money for a proper burial. Aurélie experienced fainting spells herself and couldn’t eat. “We were living like animals. Land? We had none… Work? We had none. Our children weren’t going to school.”

Today, most Chagossians, who now number more than 5,000, remain impoverished. In their language, their lives are ones of lamizer(impoverished misery) and sagren (profound sorrow and heartbreak over being exiled from their native lands). Many of the islanders attribute sickness and even death to sagren. “I had something that had been affecting me for a long time, since we were uprooted,” was the way Aurélie explained it to me. “This sagren, this shock, it was this same problem that killed my child. We weren’t living free like we did in our natal land.”

“Before the European Court could rule, the British government announced the creation of the world’s largest Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the Chagos Archipelago. The date of the announcement, April Fool’s Day 2010, should have been a clue that there was more than environmentalism behind the move. The MPA banned commercial fishing and limited other human activity in the archipelago, endangering the viability of any resettlement efforts.

And then came WikiLeaks. In December 2010, it released a State Department cable from the U.S. Embassy in London quoting a senior Foreign and Commonwealth Office official saying that the “former inhabitants would find it difficult, if not impossible, to pursue their claim for resettlement on the islands if the entire Chagos Archipelago were a marine reserve.” U.S. officials agreed. According to the Embassy, Political Counselor Richard Mills wrote, “Establishing a marine reserve might, indeed… be the most effective long-term way to prevent any of the Chagos Islands’ former inhabitants or their descendants from resettling.”

Not surprisingly, the main State Department concern was whether the MPA would affect base operations. “We are concerned,” the London Embassy noted, that some “would come to see the existence of a marine reserve as inherently inconsistent with the military use of Diego Garcia.” British officials assured the Americans there would be “no constraints on military operations.””


Something wrong with Dangal?

I haven’t had free time (as usual), I haven’t been able to carve out any time to blog. I have been sharing things mostly on the facebook page, as posts and issues come up. I don’t recall having explained the change of name/term here. I have yet to change username and description over here that I’m decidedly moving away from the letter v/ the word ‘vegan’ in favour of ‘Al-ma’arrist’ – which I coined many months back. Why is he the only philosopher with no ists or ites. I thought to myself someone please call me out if need be, but the page is getting many MENA/SWANA likes. I guess no harm honouring Al-ma’arri.

A Syrian stamp of Al-Ma'arri
A Syrian stamp of Al-Ma’arri

Syrian blind poet Aboululaa El-Maʿarri (in French) was the first recorded vegan – strict vegan and advocate for animal rights, and for social justice.

Reason forbade me many things which,
Instinctively, my nature was attracted to;
And a perpetual loss I feel if, knowing,
I believe a falsehood or deny the truth. — Al-Maʿarri

Maybe veganism is also what Aleppo gave to the world, who knows. 2-4 centuries later, the Cathars did not eat meat, dairy and honey but they ate fish. This made nutritional sense if one doesn’t have seaweed or if one doesn’t know seaweed have all we need for a balanced mind. Kind of odd to have access to fish but not seaweed before ice became man-made (now, not so odd because of the fishing industry). Basically, Cathar Parfait and Parfaites didn’t eat whoever and whatever resulted from sex, and they thought fish was amoeba. I expect modern-day Cathars to know better.

2-4 centuries from now, the so-called vegan movement may have regressed. There are so many reasons for me to quit using ‘vegan’, what comes up with the word ‘vegan’ (besides the misunderstanding and hate (righteous hate towards white veganism), then again it is not misunderstanding, there is a major problem with most of those representing the “movement”), racism is a given in South Africa where there is a white majority… and in Mauritius where some claim not to be racist bc they’re Asian; fatshaming and ableism as well as sexism etc. are a given. Exchange between the two or some intersectional groups popping up are only creating more ally theater. More on that another time.

Let’s go to a POC country, and look at a vegan POC critique of a recent POC film, Dangal (no real spoilers).

Brought to you by Disney. A Dangal poster. Mahavir Singh and his daughters. [From it, I can’t translate anything but Bapu, like everyone else.]

I haven’t watched it. 20 years ago perhaps I would have agreed with her. I don’t know details of his family. I don’t know if ‘affordable protein’ could include Ragi, moringa, etc. I guess it makes the story accessible to the majority – I’ve known Indian vegetarians who have eaten meat for sports, or in hostels. It’s extremely common. The critiqued line is something worth scoffing at. There is no moral difference between vegetarians and pollotarians (chicken-eaters, it seems that is all they eat), none. The vegetarianism is usually about caste and purity. In my case, my dad is allergic to meat and fish, this means we ate massive amounts of dairy and this is bad, especially for female humans.

I leaned that the hard way, ok. This critique is also useless bc Khan has his show, the latest BJP scandal airtime, and many platforms to say that he is vegan yada yada. It doesn’t matter if veganism is neither accessible nor desirable for the peoples. For vegetarians, Ishita Raman Bhalla (veggie character in a the 2nd most popular series in this country, Yeh Hai Mohabbatein) is extremely popular and has always aced sports without having practised before or trained much. Every once in a while, she yells at a doorman or security guard, who remains calm and subservient. There are Indians (Adi) whose practices are much like African Americans, in that their tradition is centered around the waste of the meat industry in India. Similar dynamics has produced this in a POC country and I’m not talking about Siddhis – Afro-Indians. We should thus not claim the moral high ground, just like we don’t with indigenous peoples (Adivasi, in India)

After all this digression, here is the critique that we should all be making or boosting about Dangal: this Hindustan Times article by Dhrubo Jyoti.

World Farm Animals Day Must Fall

A late post after the event.

“The Ghanaian protesters against Gandhi understand this at some fundamental level. Indeed the equation of Gandhi with power is the subtext of their protest: the petition calling for the removal of the statue insists that it is ‘better to stand up for our dignity than to kowtow to the wishes of a burgeoning Eurasian superpower’. Whatever India once meant as a leading postcolonial state speaking truth to geopolitical power, it weighs increasingly heavily on the African continent through its investment, infrastructure-building and hunger for resources, notably land. And in a striking parallel with the grouse against Gandhi, India increasingly features in African public consciousness via alarmingly frequent reports of racist hate crimes against Africans, especially students, in India. Prompted by the murder of a Congolese man in New Delhi, African Heads of Mission threatened to boycott the Africa Day celebrations organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations in June 2016, the very month in which the Indian President unveiled the Gandhi statue in Accra. At least one of the Ghanaian protesters has noted that the best way to deepen relations between Africa and India might be to protect African students who are repeatedly under attack in India.”

A Gandhi statue ruining what would be a beautiful built landscape in Ghana. A pied crow flies by under a cloudy sky judging those who placed it there. Photo and quotes from
A Gandhi statue ruining what would be a beautiful built landscape in Ghana. A pied crow flies by under a cloudy sky judging those who placed it there. Photo and quotes from


The misconception that satyagraha is Gandhian when it is, in fact, Buddhist and Ambedkar held a Mahad satyagraha 3 years before Gandhi did. Both sources I linked are problematic and misinformed, in ways but very valuable.

Statute books describe the Indians as belonging to the “aboriginal or semi-barbarous race of Asia” while as a matter of fact there is hardly one Indian in South Africa belonging to the aboriginal stock. Santhals of Assam will be as useless in South Africa as the natives of that country…” Racist and Anti-Adivasi Statements by Gandhi. Mumbai Sept 26, 1896.

World Farm Animals Day is a Gandhi memorial, it needs to be abolished (as do animal exploitation farms). Why, white people, why are there so many more things to abolish in the world, only thanks to you? Why are you hating on human animals and worshipping a dead immoral guy, just to hide the fact that you hate oppressed Indians, Indigenous and Black folks (sexually assaulted or exploited survivors and women)? It’s not fine just because other Gandhians hate them too, along with some known leaders. In this day and age, there is no misconception possible, like there was before, at least for some deceased movement leaders outside India. Dumping Gandhi does not mean appreciating Godse. White vegans probably don’t even know who Godse is.

Readers, if you’ve seen it yesterday or elsewhere, you may have already signed this petition. Otherwise, please consider signing and sharing!

Footnotes if you don’t want to click certain links:

The facebook photo linked has the text and context in comment, it is as follows: 

I believe that caste has saved Hinduism from disintegration. But
like every other institution it has suffered from excrescences. I consider
the four divisions alone to be fundamental, natural and essential.
The innumerable subcastesare sometimes a convenience, often a
hindrance. The sooner there is fusion, the better….

One of my correspondents suggests that we should
abolish the caste [system] but adopt the class system of Europe –
meaning thereby, I suppose, that the idea of heredity in caste
should be rejected. I am inclined to think that the law of heredity
is an eternal law and any attempt to alter that law must lead us, as
it has before led [others], to utter confusion….

If Hindus believe, as they must believe, in reincarnation [and]
transmigration, they must know that Nature will, without any
possibility of mistake, adjust the balance by degrading a Brahmin, if
he misbehaves himself, by reincarnating him in a lower division,and
translating one who lives the life of a Brahmin in his present incarnation
to Brahminhood in his next.

-Young India, Vol. III, by M. K. Gandhi

Another quote h/t Thenmozhi Soundararajan

“The ideal bhangi of my conception would be a Brahmin par-excellence, possibly even excel him. It is possible to envisage-the existence of a bhangi without a
Brahmin. But without the former the latter could not be, It is the bhangi who enables society to live. A bhangi does for society what a mother does for her baby. A mother washes her baby of the dirt and insures his health. Even so the bhangi protects and safeguards the health of that entire community by maintaining sanitation for it. The Brahmin’s duty is to look after the sanitation of the soul, the bhangi’s that of the body of society. But there is a difference in practice ; the Brahmin generally does not live up to his duty, the bhangi does willy-nilly no doubt.

But that is not all. My ideal bhangi would know the quality of night-soil and urine. He would keep a close watch on these and give a timely warning to the individual concerned. Thus, he will give a timely notice of the results of his examination of the excreta. That presuppposes a
scientific knowledge of the requirements of his profession. He would likewise be an authority on the subject of disposal of night-soil in small villages as well as big cities and his advice and guidance in the matter would be sought for and freely given to society. It goes without saying that he would have the usual learning necessary for reaching the
standard here laid down for his profession. Such an ideal bhangi while deriving his livelihood from his occupation, would approach it only as a sacred duty. In other words he would not dream of amassing wealth out of it. He would consider himself responsible for the proper removal and
disposal of all the dirt and night-soil within the area which he serves and regard the maintenance of healthy and sanitary condition within the same as the summum bonum of his existence.”
Harijan : Nov. 28, 1936.

On the celibate sexual predator and other misogyny, excluding the fat-shaming of his wife (no sources at hand):

“During his years in South Africa, he once responded to a young man’s sexual harassment of two of Gandhi’s female followers by forcibly cutting the girls’ hair short to make sure they didn’t invite any sexual attention. He operated under the assumption that men couldn’t control their basic predatory impulses while simultaneously asserting that women were responsible for—and completely at the mercy of—these impulses. His views on female sexuality were similarly deplorable; according to Rita Banerji, writing in Sex and Power, Gandhi viewed menstruation as the “manifestation of the distortion of a woman’s soul by her sexuality.” He also believed the use of contraceptives was the sign of whoredom.

He confronted this inability to control male libido head-on when he vowed celibacy (without discussing it with his wife) back in India, and using women—including some underage girls, like his grand-niece—to test his sexual patience. He’d sleep naked next to them [naked] in bed without touching them, making sure he didn’t get aroused; these women were props to coax him into celibacy.”

Vegan-washing and the manipulation of morality

Edit: Kristofer Aberg commented to link to his response article. I was kind to mention his response that misses the point and furthermore spells the author’s name wrong. NB I did not bring up his article but since it has been mentioned:

How can one respond to an author, use their surname many times and get it wrong in the first word of a paragraph?! I won’t link to it/ approve his linkspam comments. I haven’t read the entirety, it seems careless and it’s long (with random anecdotes instead of facts or analysis). Aberg argues against pinkwashing as real with a vague Swedish joke or quote of a gay comedian, so I can only conclude he has never researched pinkwashing. Folks, please don’t write about intersectionality when you are not intersectional then come here trying to publish your link in some comments, force me to read your crap, then whine that you’re a leftie so you can cry wolf.

It seems Aberg covered vegan places in Israel and did not hear of anti-occupation Israelis. One doesn’t have to even go there or listen to the Palestinian side to learn about the Israeli apartheid and its atrocities.

I’m not even going to mention radical groups, a famous Israeli architect travelled to my very white & Jewish university to give a presentation on the occupation to us architecture students. Perhaps I was lucky to have been exposed to such people – anti-zionist Jews. I want to recommend a documentary, again nothing radical, mainstream journalists were present at a peaceful protest and documented the attacks by Israeli army (with complete knowledge that Caucasian film-makers are with the protesters) on civilians, including wheelchair users. I’m searching for the title. I don’t even recall the year I saw it, I recall only some faces and scenes but it was shown at the cinemas.

And I don’t know what conspiracy theories he’s talking about, everyone knows Judaism is not Zionism, right?

Presumably it’s this Aberg with a similar history to Yourofsky. We would expect these guys to be against the prison industrial complex perhaps but they’re applauding military IDF for providing pleather options in a violent occupation. If we notice cognitive dissonance, why not here? We’re all uninformed about something or the other, I googled critics of Yourofsky’s glorification of rape as punishment and found sensible-seeming people quoting Gandhi, who was worse than Yourofsky and anti-semitic. I will never quote either of them, I will criticise anyone for praising Gandhi.

Dairy: white lies

Dairy: white lies by Pax Ahimsa Gethen is such an important read. Recently I also read an article in Le Nouvel Obs similar to the NY times article.

This paper was mentioned, it’s free to download.

A thought crossed my mind just now while reading a vegan blog: we criticise fast food culture out of privilege. When I was forced to eat dairy in spite of my lactose intolerance (I did not know I had), growing up as vegetarian (:. fed LOTS of dairy), I’d throw away my lunch or rather give it to a stray dog and bought chips or dholl puri, the only thing I could afford with a coin when I was given any pocket money was that, Mauritian fast food (incidentally vegan). Other days I’d starve just because I felt grossed out by what I was given for lunch. Even that was probably better than dairy.

Oppression against women

So it’s International Women’s Day; as many surely realise apathy towards sexism and sexism itself are still winning, everywhere and here. A petition to Google. Relatedly I’d be keen to know how many women of colour feature in these 17% women total we see in films, currently I only have TV and sporadic internet here (multiracial country with a POC majority) and even in adverts I see few women of colour (counting South African ads, otherwise I recall 2 local ads with WOC and can’t help but notice 1 hair type). That will be for another day.

I’ll write about yesterday’s obvious oppressiveness towards women by national TV director on the occasion of Women’s Day, and the oppression by a vegan group to celebrate Women’s History Month 2012 for the sake of ‘sexist white imperialist gurus’ PeTA or who knows what. Among the consequences of which are this blog but also the fact that there are among local followers, only 2 veg*n women perhaps. This article about sexism and its reinforcement in the Indian context is worth a read if you’re not familiar enough with Gandhi, who was racist and casteist too.

[…]the issue goes way beyond Gandhi. What really matters now, and it matters deeply, is how we respond to what Gandhi did!
Today we like to believe that we are far more progressive in terms of recognizing and condemning the abuse of power by men for sexual exploitation and abuse. And yet, I repeatedly find every time I bring this up [for eg. in this article Gandhi to Asharam: Who Empowers the Sex-Crimes of Gurus?] most people’s responses are defensive and regressive!

Why did MBC director Dhanjay Callikan have to speak at the launch of the Art Exhibition of women artists, for Women’s Day hosted by their corporation, when the vice director of the national TV channels is a woman? On the news, I saw one woman, the organiser of the exhibition, speaking after several men. Then Callikan was quoting Gandhi at the end of his speech.

The second case is about this advert (description included) which promotes sexism and glorification of domestic violence as well as misrepresentation of a part of Indian culture by PeTA. Merely saying the first part of this about the advert got me insulted, then character-bashed and banned from the Vegan Society-Mauritius (VSM) whose image I had boosted as an administrator. I got unfairly banned from the group by sexists who support violence against women. My posts and comments in response got repeatedly deleted (my guess by Harry Pillay) and all this seemed widely tolerated. Last year my fake facebook profile that almost no one knew of and who only participated once, with a different tone and absolutely not knowledgeably, long before, got banned too.

The VSM are not endorsed by Vegan Society UK, if they were, do they have the liberty of giving false and dangerous information on B12 (alleging aloe has B12) in a country where a blood test needs to warrant the need for a B12 injection. If you’ve been vegan a while, you would know about B12 analogues in spirulina etc. and know that a blood test may be misleading. A non-vegan friend of mine just died from some sort anemia, pernicious anemia (from b12 deficiency) can be serious and give rise to irreversible and grave physical effects. Everyone on a bad or sanitized diet is at risk of B12 deficiency, modern agriculture (manure needs to be washed off veggies to avoid E-Coli etc.) and medicine makes us all conducive to it. Another post.

CN for photos linked: Ableist/disablist slurs, I’m lame myself and yet I didn’t know better than to use the term to mean ‘pathetic’ 2 years back.

Snapshot 1 where I’m being defended by someone I later came to know is a Men’s Rights Advocate or a variant, but she was allegedly defending my right to free speech.

Snapshot 2 of my post about the unfairness of getting my comments deleted repetedly by an admin who didn’t even come forward to admit to doing this. Nor did other admins try to figure it out.

Can non-facebook users see these? Let me know.