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#1 Oct 26, 2018 11:12 am

New Historian
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Even in London the invasion messed me up

This is going to be my standard preface now: "Not sure if I've posted this before but...."

In October 1983 I was in the middle of relocating from London to Kingston, to go and work with the Jamaican government. When it came time for me to leave, there was the inevitable work piss-up at the pub on Friday evening, to be followed by the real going-away party at my brother’s place on Saturday night. We figured we’d party until dawn, then he’d drop me at the airport, to sleep all the way to Jamaica. But it didn’t quite turn out like that.

In the middle of the party, the phone started ringing, and wouldn’t stop. Who the hell is calling in the middle of a party? I found the phone. “Hello?” I shouted over the din, finger jammed in one ear. Comes a distant crackly voice:

“Hello? Hello? This is the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, calling from Kingston Jamaica!”

The PS Security? Oh shit! I told them to shut off the music and everybody to shush. He continued:

“You cannot come to Jamaica tomorrow. Repeat: you can NOT come to Jamaica tomorrow. You … have … been … banned!”

What? Banned from Jamaica? Why?

Because I was a Grenadian! This was Saturday, 29th October, 1983. Four days earlier, Grenada had been invaded by the United States in the biggest military invasion since D-Day. Jamaica had participated in the invasion, which meant they did the mopping-up operations after the Americans had finished all the real fighting. The Grenadian Revolutionary Armed Forces and their Cuban comrades put up surprisingly spirited resistance but it was always doomed. After the dust had settled, Jamaica imposed a ban on all Grenadians, fearful of an influx of revolutionary refugees. This ban took effect the day before I was due to catch a flight to Jamaica, paid for by the Jamaican government, to take up a job with the Jamaican government.

So, at the stroke of a pen I’d become a pariah, in a country I’d hitherto called home. No matter how I tried to persuade the Permanent Secretary that I hadn’t set foot in Grenada in over a decade, a ban is a ban. And that’s what I was: banned. So we carried on with the party, except this time it was a NOT going away party! After ten days of sleeping on my brother’s couch, no less than the prime minister of Jamaica Edward Seaga eventually signed the precious release form, allowing the dangerous Grenadian into Jamaica.

Would you believe that three years later, that stupid travel ban as still in effect? When my brother and his toddler twins came to visit Jamaica in 1986, the immigration officer was about to send all three of them back to London on the BA flight, because he carried a Grenadian passport! A friend of mine who worked at Air Jamaica, just happened to pass by and saw my brother remonstrating with the stern-faced immigration man.

“Is alight man, you can let him in, him cool.”

So they let them in!

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#2 Oct 26, 2018 11:43 am

Real Distwalker
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Re: Even in London the invasion messed me up

It sure seems like there are collateral effects to everything that happens in the world.  It's the Butterfly Effect.

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#3 Oct 26, 2018 11:51 am

New Historian
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Re: Even in London the invasion messed me up

Um.... right:

In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state

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#4 Oct 26, 2018 11:57 am

Real Distwalker
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Re: Even in London the invasion messed me up

The effect increases with time. Thirty five years later, a counter-factual world where Maurice Bishop decided to go to Market Square rather than Fort George might look radically different in surprising ways.

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#5 Oct 26, 2018 3:30 pm

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Re: Even in London the invasion messed me up

Real Distwalker wrote:

The effect increases with time. Thirty five years later, a counter-factual world where Maurice Bishop decided to go to Market Square rather than Fort George might look radically different in surprising ways.

Indeed, can you imagine? Had they lived:

Maurice Bishop would be ....   74
Bob Marley would ..............   73
And John Lennon would be ..  78!!

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#6 Oct 26, 2018 4:49 pm

Real Distwalker
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Re: Even in London the invasion messed me up

MB goes to Market Square as planned rather than, Fort George.
Without threat that he was being armed, RMC coup organizers don't all participate.
Coup attempt fails.
MB supporters prevail, RMC is jailed.
MB rises to Maximum Leader in the model of Fidel.
Invasion never occurs.
Revo spreads in Caribbean.
Emboldened Sandinista's invade Costa Rica.
Reagan responds with force. 
Insurgency grows in Central America.
Reagan loses popularity at home.
Gorbachev emboldened. Refuses Reykjavik summit.
Soviet Union backs off on Perestroika and Glasnost.
USSR holds together.
Michael Dukakis wins in 1988.
When Iraq invades Kuwait, Dukakis doesn't respond.
Saddam Hussein emboldened.
Oil prices hit $350 per barrel.
Saddam, enriched, tests nuclear weapon.
Israel, feeling an existential threat, nukes Iraq.
The Soviet Union threatens Israel.
Syria and Iran invite Soviet troops in.
The US deploys armored forces and intermediate range ballistic missiles to West Germany.
Soviets in East Germany and Czechoslovakia go on high alert.
Turkey shoots down Soviet aircraft near Syria.
Soviets attack Turk airfield activating NATO alliance.
NATO countries declare war.
Soviets nuke strike into Western Europe.
Dukakis orders ICBM retaliatory strikes against Soviet bases in Europe.
Oh shit.


I know, far fetched.  I just pulled it out of thin air.  Still that's the idea.

Last edited by Real Distwalker (Oct 26, 2018 5:05 pm)

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#7 Oct 26, 2018 4:54 pm

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Re: Even in London the invasion messed me up

The weak link: "Revo spreads in Caribbean." That was never on, Jamaica and Guyana went the furthest left, but even that was only "so-so socialism". Caribbean people love our freedoms too much to swallow all that - Grenada was an aberration.

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#8 Oct 26, 2018 4:55 pm

Real Distwalker
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Re: Even in London the invasion messed me up

True.  My scenario was not to be taken seriously.  Just a fantastic example of the butterfly effect.

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#9 Oct 26, 2018 4:58 pm

New Historian
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Re: Even in London the invasion messed me up

A bit like "for the want of a nail..."

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#10 Oct 26, 2018 4:58 pm

Real Distwalker
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Re: Even in London the invasion messed me up

Exactly like that.

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