The author of Mission Isaya, George Macpherson farmed in Launceston for some time. He worked as a producer with the BBC World Service, then as Programme Organiser for the Swahili Service. After several years working in rural development in Tanzania, Malawi and Botswana he joined the United Nations’ International Labour Organisation as a Technical Advisor to the Government of Tanzania before returning to Britain. He also presented and produced music, medical, farming and wildlife programmes for BBC Five Live and BBC Radio Four before moving with his wife Jane to France to write novels. His eighth Mission Isaya – the Migrants Return, describes world leaders taking unprecedented action after heeding warnings that “something’s got to be done if global chaos is to be avoided”. They authorise the deployment of Blue Beret troops to stem the mass exodus and enable investment, training and economic development to take place. Edited extracts from the book, with added information, illustrations and links may be read here.


The ‘Global South’ is invading us in large numbers and it is plain that Northerners can’t win in the long run. Most modern migrants are not made welcome, because of their looks, language, religion and ‘foreign ways’, although everyone enjoys their low prices and willingness to drive vans, scrub office floors or wipe old folks’ bottoms.

With everyone connected digitally, down in the Global South even a Grandma on her donkey can see us on her phone as she makes her way to market in Bukoba, Tanzania, where she has to spend the whole day to sell a few tomatoes.

Some want to come here to share the way of life they see on TV, smart phones to escape from poverty, sickness, starving children, bombs and fanatics – and border controls and fences don’t keep them out.

Thousands of them dump everything to head north. But migrating families drown in the Mediterranean and Gulf of Mexico and border protestors are beaten and shot. Europe collects and cremates thousands of bodies of men, women and children washed up on the beaches of the Med.

As the world watches, the richest nations construct walls between themselves and humble neighbours that supply the cheap labour they demand and our lives go on as usual living as long as possible, doing exactly what we want all the time and supporting at great expense the football team of our choice.

We impose quotas, have tougher passport controls, build detention camps, recruit more coast guards and increase deportations but the desperate fleeing wars, drought and famine risk their lives in rubber dinghies or stowing away in cars, lorries, ships and aircraft to seek a better life in richer nations around the globe.

Meanwhile the defence industry urges government to ‘tackle the sources of the problem’ by regime change – as long as it’s out of range of anything that could hit back.

Above: snapshot from video setting the Somalian scene – UNDP-Somalia – (1-2.40 minutes)

The book tells the story of how world leaders finally came together in the UN Security Council to institute a massive programme of investment in those deprived areas from where the poor were migrating, creating a solar community where the Somali desert met the Indian Ocean. It created the means of making a living in the migrants’ country of origin, to alleviate the pressures that were making them emigrate.

World leaders had been prompted to take action to prevent the mass migration of populations towards Europe and other industrialised areas around the world. They were being warned by their security and defence forces that closing borders simply was not working. ‘Conscience groups’ -religious and secular – had been putting pressure on these leaders who eventually got together with the Security Council and Isaya – named after Isaiah who wrote about beating swords into ploughshares – was born.

Peacekeeping was top of the list because development can’t take place when bullets and bombs are flying about. As Christian Aid has emphasised for at least 27 years, there can be no development without peace – see their scathing December 2018 report (right).

Economists welcomed the idea because it promised to open up new markets and once people had an income above survival level they would want to spend it.

Politicians saw the benefits and financiers foresaw future profits so the UN – for once – received prompt political and financial support.

Right wingers were ready to support measures to stop ‘the invasion’ by refugees and economic migrants, realising that it would be cheaper to help them to stay at home than to build walls, fences and employ border guards.

The major benefits to potential investors were the low cost of land on which to build factories and storage facilities and to set up irrigated farming and forestry. They also found that ethical investment in renewable energy shares were now bringing higher returns than those in fossil fuels, armaments, tobacco and alcohol.

World leaders, advised by their security services and major insurance companies, could see that unless something was done to halt the mass migration of desperate populations, conflict and chaos was inevitable.

There were delays due to the bureaucracy of national governments and heavy pressure from commercial lobbyists and poisonous propaganda from press magnates – but despite this, presidents, prime ministers, dictators and diplomats, facing the prospect of being overwhelmed by migrating masses, agreed at the UKGA to allocate adequate funds for the project.

Sheik Hussein bin Mahmoud, whose life had been saved by one of Isaya’s prime movers, had been an important local ally. He had offered land for the project and arranged a three-day tribal gathering of the few who had not left for the refugee camps in Kenya because of climate change related drought, deprivation and terrorism. The chief explained to those setting up the project that the economy had deteriorated because of foreign industrial fishing boats scouring their traditional fishing grounds, followed by illegal dumping of toxic waste by crooked European transporters.

The project, located near the Somali coast, was described and endless questions answered about who would have grazing rights, draw fresh water, hunt and carry out other traditional routines. The chief reassured the people that there would be peace and their families could return safely. There would be food, water and work provided – even schools within a year. Many similar sessions were filmed and shown in the refugee camps in Europe to start preparing the families to return home. As time went on the people who appeared in the first filmed discussions took part in later films to show where they were living and how they were working.

UN Blue Berets – peacekeepers and engineers – assist

Military resources were allocated to the UN for ‘proper soldiering’ – communications, transport and engineering and blue berets issued to those acting as an international police force. The first essential was the airstrip and the next, a temporary port facility. The Blue Berets put up temporary accommodation, food banks, medical systems, radio stations in local languages, telephones, roads, pontoon bridges, tented villages and retail areas. Whole tribes gathered round these oases of survival.

The British contingent, with help from the UN Food Programme and FAO specialised in the supply of food and energy and the establishment of land-based bioproduction, collecting waste and setting up composting and digestion plants so that nothing was wasted. On-going training facilities were provided, step by step as required.

Startup companies connected with the project were owned fifty-fifty by the government or local companies on the advice of UN economists. Somalis were represented on the board of every company operating within the country and land rights were respected. Local people, with whom every aspect of the project had been discussed from the start, staffed and governed the city. They worked with people recruited from many countries who had found retirement tedious and knew how to make productive use of land, water, sunshine and technology.

The Somali government recruited many of their nationals who had emigrated years ago and who came back with the right qualifications when homes and professional posts became available. ‘Remainers’, most of them emaciated and tired, had drifted in to work, gradually regaining their health and strength.

Isaya used resources that don’t depend on weather affected by climate change

The industrial city was located far enough inland to have the necessary height above rising sea levels, allowing seawater to flow inland for desalination. It was powered by solar and wind energy, supplied with potable water from desalination, and fed by horticulture watered by irrigation.

A large array of solar panels, wind turbines and wave-powered generators, installed at the outset, powered pumps for irrigated horticulture and fruit trees, and a king-sized desalination plant produced huge quantities of pure water which was pumped inland for domestic use, irrigating more land in order to grow tomatoes, onions, peppers, sweet potato, bananas and papaya.

Solar thermal towers, which use very little land unlike solar panel arrays, were built. They have a series of magnifying mirrors and whenever the sun is shining its rays strike at least some of the concave mirrors which reflect them towards a vessel in which molten salt is heated, collecting the energy from those rays and stores them. It acts as a battery but does not require rare metals like lithium. They go on producing electricity long after sunset, storing the heat for up to 15 hours for use when needed, to produce steam to drive turbines in generators. Working night and day, they produced electricity for hand-tools, lighting, WIFI, broadband and cell phone and, most importantly, desalination of seawater – the sea salt accumulating being an eminently saleable product.

In the settlements around the city people had set up vegetable plots and plantations. The architects had included a large market square which was surrounded by small shops selling locally grown vegetables and fruit. Dhows from Muscat and Oman in the Arabian Gulf had resumed their traditional trade, bringing household goods from India and China down the coast, as people had money to spend and it was worth their while to brave the pirates with high-speed motor boats who were eventually discouraged after a few skirmishes and arrests by international naval patrols.

New communities now able to make a living in their homeland had moved inland

Along the Mediterranean coast of North Africa, the Blue Berets patrolled ports and beaches to show migrants films of the new situation back at home with Arabic and Swahili commentary. Charities, churches and mosques in the North used the films to show illegal immigrants and refugees that they could safely return to their motherlands. Relatives also sent word that people could return with confidence to

their homes and this news spread further afield to the ‘Jungle’ in Calais and similar settlements.

The UN provided flights from Europe to repatriate all those wishing to return home after being reassured that there would be accommodation, food, work and safety there.

On each flight every effort was made to ensure the comfort of the returnees and the aircraft would circle the new city twice before landing so that everyone could see the solar tower, desalination plant, the outline of the streets and the huge market marquee before being greeted by a welcoming party,

On the first occasion, the welcoming party included representatives of the Somali government and filmed by television teams from across the world, ready to relate the whole story, national leaders tuned in to witness this historic event and the Kenyans who had given so much support to migrants and the Isaya project. At the UN Security Council staff celebrated.

Sheikh Hussein made a short speech asking for patience until everyone had been found a home and a role such as tending children, training for horticulture, engineering, building, health work or using their physical strength in these sectors.

Most were able to walk to their temporary accommodation, having very little luggage, and lorries and buses carried the others.

Politicians who needed to justify the project’s high cost had seized on news of this successful project and reports of positive progress were broadcast worldwide, good news brightening bulletins which had been increasingly pessimistic about xenophobia and protectionism

The UNSC’s scheme halted and reversed the mass migration of refugees and the poor by bringing jobs and services to the poverty-stricken villages – and extremist groups such as Al Shabaab, the Taliban, Boko Haram and Kula Kula, dwindled as their fighters deserted and returned to their villages to resume their lives with their families.

“We want to go home,” said Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, the Taliban’s political chief and lead negotiator, in his first sit-down interview. “The Americans can go back to their homes and we will go to ours. “There should be no more fighting,” he added (Times 18.8.19). 





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