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#1 Nov 20, 2018 2:39 pm

New Historian
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Grenada, 19 Oct, 1983.....

I saw his body explode before I heard the roar of the cannon. He was standing about twenty feet from the Armoured Personnel Carrier when it opened fire. He just seemed to burst apart, splattering blood, bones and flesh over his horrified neighbours.  The cannon then turned its fire on the stunned crowd, who in the narrow confines of Fort Rupert had no means of escape. The casualties were horrific as the APC cut a murderous swathe through the panicking crowd. I tried to scream but nothing came out. People were falling all around the vehicle; its wheels ground into the bodies of the dead and dying. I was rooted, not believing the carnage unfolding before my eyes. The APC stopped firing.  About four or five soldiers got out and calmly began raking the fleeing crowd with AK-47's. It was then that I came to my senses and clambered off the roof, almost knocked over by people streaming up from the square. Many were spattered with blood, barely able to walk. Faces of terror.

Built as a defensive fortification Fort George has only one point of entry or exit, which was being murderously controlled by the soldiers. The rest of the Fort is surrounded by steep hills and cliffs. The soldiers began to fan out, firing indiscriminately. People were screaming everywhere as the sounds of gunfire came nearer and nearer. I was petrified, I remember trying to move but my knees were shaking too much to hold me up. I was half-carried by the mob to the edge of a wall where we could clamber onto a low roof and safety. The crowd began to surge forward in panic. Just then a soldier came around a corner and opened fire; about ten people fell immediately as the rest fled, blindly seeking cover.

I hid for a while behind a water tank, heart pumping. I tried to collect my thoughts and figure out what was going on. I could still hear the sound of gunfire, more sporadic and organized now, and the muffled sound of a voice, giving orders. The voice had a foreign accent, I couldn’t tell from where. It was obvious that the soldiers were intent on killing everyone at the Fort that day, they obviously had their orders: take no prisoners. I ran along the outer wall until I came upon a group of about fifty people, mostly schoolkids in uniform.

To jump over the wall meant certain death. Some people had already jumped and we could see them laying where they fell, writhing in agony.  We huddled there, afraid to jump and afraid to stay.  The decision was taken for us. Two soldiers appeared and opened fire. Those near the edge were shielded by the bodies of others, but we were being pushed over the escarpment by the retreating crowd. The firing intensified, and the crush of bodies became a human wall pressing down. I couldn't hold on.

I fell...

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#2 Nov 20, 2018 7:45 pm

houston
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Re: Grenada, 19 Oct, 1983.....

Tune in for next weeks episode!!
Come on, don't leave us dangling with anticipation of what became of the author.
Did he have a safe landing and live on to share his story or was that the end of em and now speaking as a spirit from the grave?

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#3 Nov 21, 2018 8:05 am

gripe
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Re: Grenada, 19 Oct, 1983.....

NH, there are serious concerns regarding what those events say about those responsible for what happened and whether any helpful lessons were learned that would prevent a similar tragedy from being repeated.

Last edited by gripe (Nov 21, 2018 8:14 am)

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#4 Nov 21, 2018 8:24 am

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Re: Grenada, 19 Oct, 1983.....

When you look at Grenada now, so few years after, you can't believe this is the same country, these are the same people.  So-and-so over there, the electrician, he was a major in the army.  And so-and-so, the hotelier, he was a Minister of government.  But where did it all go?  Where have all the revolutionaries gone?  Where’s the residual threat?  You can't see it.  It’s as though Grenadians have closed the door on that whole episode and don't want it reopened. It’s not a subject people talk readily about, but everyone has their story. It’s the best kept secret in town.

And what about the guns? At the height of the Revo, Grenada was the most militarized country in the world on a per capita basis. Yet after the invasion only a fraction of the guns were accounted for. What happened to the rest? Some people say they've been sold to the Trinidadians. Some say they’re still buried in the hills. No one knows.

But that's all in the past.  Grenada at long last is starting to show signs of real economic growth and is catching up with its Caribbean neighbours. Tourists are back, things are upbeat. If nothing else the events of 1983 taught Grenadians to cherish their freedom and not to follow false gods. So that sort of thing couldn't happen again.

Could it?

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#5 Nov 21, 2018 10:24 am

Real Distwalker
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Re: Grenada, 19 Oct, 1983.....

New Historian wrote:

And what about the guns? At the height of the Revo, Grenada was the most militarized country in the world on a per capita basis. Yet after the invasion only a fraction of the guns were accounted for. What happened to the rest?

We hauled thousands of them away.  Loaded them up and flew them out.  I don't know what became of them.

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#6 Nov 21, 2018 10:28 am

Real Distwalker
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Re: Grenada, 19 Oct, 1983.....

gripe wrote:

NH, there are serious concerns regarding what those events say about those responsible for what happened and whether any helpful lessons were learned that would prevent a similar tragedy from being repeated.

It seems that humanity, like Sisyphus, is bound to pain and destined relive the same horrors over and over.

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#7 Nov 21, 2018 10:37 am

New Historian
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Re: Grenada, 19 Oct, 1983.....

Real Distwalker wrote:
gripe wrote:

NH, there are serious concerns regarding what those events say about those responsible for what happened and whether any helpful lessons were learned that would prevent a similar tragedy from being repeated.

It seems that humanity, like Sisyphus, is bound to pain and destined relive the same horrors over and over.

A pessimistic assessment, not warranted in my view. Look at life 500 years ago compared to now, wars every summer, feudal lords working peasants to death, illiteracy and ignorance the poor man's lot. Life these days is a breeze by comparison.

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#8 Nov 21, 2018 11:04 am

Real Distwalker
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Re: Grenada, 19 Oct, 1983.....

Yeah, that was probably darker than it need be.  Times have improved.  Still, it seems that humanity repeats the same mistakes regularly.

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#9 Nov 21, 2018 11:15 am

New Historian
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Re: Grenada, 19 Oct, 1983.....

Yup, you'd think that "humanity" would have learned not to place their faith in despots and dictators, and now we've got three of them leading the three most powerful countries in the world....

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#10 Nov 21, 2018 11:43 am

Real Distwalker
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Re: Grenada, 19 Oct, 1983.....

Well, Trump would like to be a dictator but the system prevents that.

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