Moral factors in Grenada's liberation

By , Patricia White resides in Grenada.

From the footage of film and miles of newsprint, one would think there was nothing more to be said or written about the Grenada experience. But Grenadians disagree. And before the event has come to rest in the history books, they would hope that a more balanced appraisal be considered.

There are two moral principles which should have been given more attention: the right of a people to be free, and the recognition of that right and determination by neighboring countries to aid their brother man.

These principles were cited by President Reagan and Eugenia Charles, prime minister of Dominica and chairman of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), as some of the reasons for the action taken, Mr. Reagan's first concern being the protection of the American medical students and nationals during an explosive situation, and Miss Charles's, the OECS's, Barbados's, and Jamaica's, the restoration to the island of the democratic principles upon which it gained its independence. But governments and journalists alike dismissed the moral issues as feeble attempts to justify an unwarranted act. In their view only one reason for the invasion seemed paramount - an opportunity to stamp out a growing revolutionary Marxist threat in the hemisphere.

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To Grenadians, the most unkind cut of all came from Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Her reaction was marked by not one bit of solace for the suffering of a people who still considered themselves loyal British subjects.

Many knew that over the past three years she had been apprised of the growing Marxist buildup. Grenadians were further irritated by her suggestion that perhaps economic sanctions should be tried first. They argue that economic sanctions hurt the people more than they do a government and that no sanctions have ever forced a Marxist-oriented regime to lay down its arms. Grenadians also feel that the phrase from the UN Charter ''nonintervention into the internal affairs of a sovereign and independent state'' is being manipulated by Marxist countries to conceal their subversive tactics, and democratic governments, not alert to this deception, are agreeing with this, perhaps from fear of starting a third world war or as an excuse for not aiding fellow human beings.

Grenadians are quick to remind others that the word ''sovereign'' means freedom from external control and ''independent,'' the right or power of self-government. They argue that at the time of the American liberation, Grenada was not a sovereign state - its freedom from external control was lost when Prime Minister Bishop signed treaties with Cuba and Russia. Neither was the island nor its people independent - it was being ruled by self-appointed leaders with loaded AK-47 rifles.

In fairness to other countries that know little about the eastern Caribbean islands and their close ties with one another, Grenadians explain that the people making up the OECS, Barbados, and Jamaica are literally brothers and sisters or have spent some of their lifetimes on more than one island. Prime Minister Charles is an example. Many Grenadians knew her personally when as a young girl she attended the St. Joseph Convent in Grenada.

Another man in the Dominican civil service is a Grenadian who a few years ago was given the option of leaving his homeland or being incarcerated by Bishop's government. He and others were aware of the stockpiling of arms since the takeover in 1979. It was true that Grenada was becoming a security threat to their islands.

Grenadians realize it took courage for the leaders of the US, OECS, Barbados, and Jamaica to join in freeing them. They ask whether, if a people in subjection have no right of redress in the United Nations, and if in fact provisions of that Charter are used to subvert freedoms of nations and condemn others who help , isn't it standing as a mockery to it's original purpose?

They know their approach may seem simplistic to world leaders whose problems appear monumental, but moral issues are simple and if ignored will bring about the dissolution of the world. To them the Grenada action reaffirms hope in man's humanity to man.

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