Tag Archive: USA


Military coups and other political warfare are generally uncommon in the Eastern Caribbean, but thirty years ago when Bernard Cole and cohorts rebelled against the Maurice Bishop government  in October 1983, killing Prime Minister Maurice Bishop by firing squad, the whole Caribbean sat up with panic in their future expectations.

I was just a child back in 1983 but the event still stands out in my mind. One reason it stands out is that Grenada is my neighbouring country, so that uprising was like bad news coming home.

Another reason it stands out is that my mother had come home after spending the night by a friend, telling of the news footage she had seen on television of the American troops landing during their invasion of Grenada on October 25, 1983.

Thirty years ago few Vincentian families had television so anyone who related TV news or any related experiences were esteemed very highly. The phenomenon of viewing and hearing simultaneously was still a delightful hypnosis.

Maurice Bishop

 

From what I have been able to garner, Mr Bishop had sided with communist philosophies so his government was a good friend of Russia and China. However, even as his country was benefitting from the building of the international airport through communist financial assistance (via Cuba) it seems Maurice Bishop began to sense that looks were deceiving.

He began to have a change of heart and wanted to sever ties with his communist allies. But members of his government such as Bernard Cole and his wife would not entertain any back pedalling on political philosophies.

Effectively, then, Maurice Bishop was thinking of the future welfare of Grenadians rather than any immediate personal gains.

So things came to a head in October 1983. Reports are that Maurice Bishop was overseas when he heard of the planned rebellion against his leadership. He was told not to return to Grenada. One of the main reasons he was in the USA was to beef up support to avert any military upheaval in Grenada.

However, Maurice Bishop was determined to lead from the front and to be on the ground in his country to face whatever crisis was in the pipeline. He flew in unannounced.

He was subsequently arrested as he tried to go about his governing business.

On October 19, 1983, Maurice Bishop and a few members of his cabinet were taken to the colonial fort in the capital city of St Georges.

There he was put in front of a firing squad and shot to death.

His body was taken from the fort but to this day has never been found.

On October 25, 1983, United States President, Ronald Reagan, ordered US military forces to invade Grenada so as to restore democratic rule and governance.

Bernard Cole and his followers were subsequently arrested and prosecuted. They were sent to prison, but given no death penalty.

October 25th is now a public holiday in Grenada to commemorate the invasion for liberation by the US military on the island.

The international airport was renamed in Maurice Bishop’s honour.

You know, five years ago, I was in Grenada. On that particular visit I went to the fort and saw the place where Maurice Bishop last stood alive. It’s an eerie feeling standing in a spot where you know someone as important as a Prime Minister was killed in cold blood.

Some bullet holes and marks are still evident on those fort walls.

In the Caribbean we are washed in so much democratic freedom and civil liberties that we don’t have much connection to civil unrest or death from political struggles. Such things for Caribbean people are really only lived through the movies.

As far as I know, Maurice Bishop has been the only democratically elected leader (Prime Minister) who was killed in office.

And it happened so very near to my home country!

Maurice Bishop and the historical events of October 1983 in Grenada must never be forgotten whether 30 years or 300 years after.

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Iraq: A War that Fights the World

Anybody and everybody who was alive on that day and was conscious of time and space will forever remember where they were and what they were doing. Children, youths, young adults, the middle aged and the elderly all can tell you with clarity the details of their morning back on September 11, 2001.

Shortly after those tragic events that claimed in excess of two thousand lives in a matter of minutes, America became the giant that was awoken from its blissful sleep. It became clear that somebody was going to be held accountable. Somebody had to pay. By the next day the US President stood atop the rubble, being flanked by a wary fire-fighter and bellowed on a horn that the people who knocked down the builders would soon hear all of the American people.

Eventually, a report by a British researcher proved the basis of the motivation to invade Iraq in an attempt to  locate and eradicate its weapons of mass destruction. of course no WMD were ever found. What was made public was the identity of the British scientist whose findings propelled the invasion. That scientist committed suicide not too long after.

America’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 seemed to have reopened Pandora’s Box. The world watch with held breath as Saddam Hussein was dethrone, his sons executed and a people “liberated”. But the capture and subsequent hanging of the Iraqi president only green lighted sectarian violence.

Over the years since 2003 no one in Iraq it seems has been safe from suicide bombings and sniper attacks. Persons have also been kidnapped and killed. The influence of the Taliban and the hatred of invaders called “imbeciles” have led to more than four thousand deaths of US military personnel on Iraqi soil. Even areas codes as safe zones were not immune to the bombs of self sacrificing Arabs.

Of course the war in Iraq has had its impact on oil as well. The Middle East is the supplier of much of the world’s crude oil. Western civilization needs that product if it is to maintain any semblance of its original self.

This is a war that has also sharply divided the American people and its electorate. The current US president used he war to his electoral campaign in 2008. Now, on the eve of his second term presidential elections, President Obama has officially ended a war that started some eight or so years ago.

The ending of the Iraq war by the American military signifies the keeping of a promise made to the American people by their president while he was a candidate in the 2008 elections. Unfortunately, Republicans see the termination of the Iraqi war at this time as purely a political act designed to boost the incumbent president’s chances of re-election for a second term.

The world has been in a state of perpetual war mode since the terrorists attacks in 2001. This is particularly evident in the commercial airline sector. Boarding an airline has become one of the most scrutinized procedures in modern life. The continued attempts by off shoots of the Taliban to detonate on-board explosives in mid air has not made the attempt at forgetting the horrors of the past any easier.

The Iraqi war has revealed an enemy that is not just a particular ethnic group or geographic force to be reckon with. The Norway massacre a couple months ago also has some theoretical connection with the ideology of the Taliban and Al Qaeda network. In early May, master mind Osama Bin Laden was put to rest with a bullet from an American trooper. Sectarian violence in the rest of the Arab world, in particular Egypt and Syria is showing that confrontations, once started, are not easily stopped or controlled.

All persons across the globe are suffering in one way or another as a result of the Iraq war and the global assault on terrorism. Sadly, many of the innocent civilians in the territories which have been invaded by foreign troops are being pushed into a life of revenge for the innocent loss of lives of their family by NATO and its activities.

There is no easy end. Over 800, 000, 000, 000 have been spent on this war. A figure that is probably going to rise pending miscellaneous expenses. The threat of terrorist violence remains a real possibility anywhere there is freedom and a democracy that encourages open gathering as a direct means of standing up to suicide bombings and terrorist attacks.

 

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