The Terran year was 2309.
- The exact year the Occupation began is somewhat debatable.
- In "Waltz" (DS9), Dukat tells Sisko: "By the time I became Prefect, the Occupation had been going on for almost forty years, but the planet was still not ready for full-scale colonization." The episode "Wrongs Darker than Death or Night" has Kira going back to the year 2346 and meeting Gul Dukat, who is identified as Bajor’s prefect. Putting that together with Dukat’s statement in "Waltz" would seem to indicate that the Cardassia had occupied Bajor at least somce 2310. That appears to fit statements in "Emissary"(DS9) in which Sisko says, "The Federation is only here to help you," to which Kira responds, "Yes, I know. The Cardassians said the same thing sixty years ago," which would make the date around 2309.
- "In the Hands of the Prophets" (DS9), Benjamin Sisko tells his son: "For over fifty years, the one thing that allowed Bajorans to survive the Cardassian occupation was their faith." Also, "The Darkness and the Light" has Kira telling a Cardassian: "None of you should've been on Bajor! It wasn't your world. For fifty years you raped our planet and killed our people." The Occupation ended in 2369, shortly before the first episode of Deep Space Nine, so Sisko’s statement seems to indicate that the Occupation began around the year 2318.
- The discrepancy between the dates specifying the beginning of the Occupation could be explained as simply a difference in opinion regarding the word "occupied." Some, such as Gul Dukat, may like to think that the Occupation started the day that the first Cardassian set foot on Bajor. Others, such as Sisko, may consider the beginning of the Occupation as beginning at another time, such as after the overthrow of Bajor’s government (which was never specifically dated in any episode of either The Next Generation or Deep Space Nine). Either way, it seems clear that Cardassia first made moves toward acquiring Bajor sometime near the dawn of the 24th century.
Cardassia was at the center of its own expanding but resource-deficient confederation of worlds. Its Central Command, seeking a way to continue fueling its imperialistic fires, cast its eyes with greed toward a planet of artisans and scientists who for centuries had shared the sector peacefully as neighbors.
- "Chain of Command Part II" (TNG) Gul Madred discusses the previously impoverished state of Cardassia. His comments are discussed in more detail in the "Reasons for the Occupation."
The discovery of a stable wormhole about 50 years later would bring Bajor to the attention of almost every major power throughout the Alpha, Beta and Gamma Quadrants.
- The Wormhole was discovered in "Emissary" (DS9), which took place in 2369.
Relatively few of them, however, appear to have noticed when the first Cardassian troop ships and battle cruisers dropped out of warp into the Bajor-B’Hava’el star system and entered orbit around the serene planet.
Few appeared to care when the Cardassians annexed Bajor in the Terran year 2328.
- Ensign Ro" (TNG), which took place in 2368, has Admiral Kennelly telling Capt. Picard, "It's an old story for the Cardassians. They've had terrorist problems since they annexed the Bajoran home world forty years ago."
And few, if any, non-Bajoran voices cried in alarm when the invading force enacted their conquest, enslaved the inhabitants and began to systematically decimate the planet’s rich culture and delicate natural environment.
- "Ensign Ro" (TNG): Conversations between Picard and Keeve Falor, a leader of a Bajoran refugee camp, imply that the treatment of Bajorans has been largely ignored by other species. Keeve told Picard, "You were innocent bystanders for decades as the Cardassians took our homes, as they violated and tortured our people in the most hideous ways imaginable, as we were forced to flee."
It was likely the most destructive, tragic era to occur in the 500,000-year history of Bajoran society.
- "Ensign Ro" (TNG): Picard, who is a distinguished archaeologist, states in his log, "I read about the achievements of the ancient Bajoran civilization in my fifth grade reader. They were architects and artists and builders and philosophers when humans were not yet standing erect." The "500,000-year history" is an estimate taken from Picard’s statement.
But it was also possibly also the most heroic. With no help from anyone but themselves, the Bajoran people managed to not only survive, but to eventually rise together and force the technologically-advanced oppressors off the planet.
The victory came at a great cost. When the Cardassians withdrew from Bajor (in the Terran year 2369),
- In "Emissary" (DS9), which took place in 2369, it was noted the Withdrawal had occurred only months earlier.
they left behind a world raped of its former glory. Strip mines and poisoned water covered sterile fields where once was fertile farmland and thick forests.
- "Shakaar" (DS9) has Kai Winn telling Kira about the Rakantha Province: "And it used to be one of the most productive agricultural regions on Bajor. But as you know, the Cardassians poisoned much of our farmlands before they left, and Rakantha has been mostly barren wasteland ever since."
Thousands of treasured cultural and spiritual artifacts, including eight of the nine sacred Orbs of the Prophets, had been destroyed or stolen by Cardassian officials.
- "Emissary" (DS9): Kai Opaka tells Sisko that the Cardassians took the eight of nine orbs. In "Tears of the Prophets" (DS9), Dukat produces an antique Bajoran box containing an ancient figurine of a Vedek before telling Damar and Weyoun, "Over the last few months, I've immersed myself in the study of the Bajoran Ancient Texts." It’s highly unlikely Dukat could have had access to these items if they were safely stored on Bajor.
And 15 million Bajorans were dead.
- In "Covenant" (DS9), Dukat says, "It made me realize that I still had a role to play in Bajor's destiny," to which Kira replied, "You mean besides overseeing an occupation that killed tens of millions?" In "The Darkness and the Light," Kira tells a Cardassian, "It was a war, Silaran. Fifteen million Bajorans died during the Occupation and you want me to feel sorry for you?"
Many died of starvation and malnutrition.
- In "Wrongs Darker than Death or Night" (DS9), in a scene that takes place at the Singha Refugee Camp on Bajor in 2346, Kira Meru says, "I can't remember the last time I met a Bajoran that wasn't hungry..." Later, when woefully thinking about her new career as a concubine for Cardassian officers, she says, "I suppose if I can survive starvation, I can survive this..."
Others were worked to death in Cardassian mines.
- In "Duet," Kira describes to Sisko the atrocities of the Cardassian-run Gallitep mining labor camp, which she helped liberate: "Commander, if you had been there twelve years ago when we liberated the camp... If you had seen the things I saw... All those Bajoran bodies... starved, brutalized. D'you know what Cardassian policy was? I don't mean just the murder. Murder was only the end of the fun for them. First came the humiliation... the rape of mothers in front of their children... Husbands beaten till their wives couldn't recognize them... Old people buried alive because they couldn't work anymore..."
Some were murdered during random interrogations or in retaliation for actions by Resistance fighters.
- In "The Collaborator", Bareil tells Kira, "The Cardassians were determined to eliminate all resistance in the Kendra Valley. If someone hadn't told them the location of the base, they would've wiped out every village in the area. That would've meant the deaths of twelve hundred innocent Bajorans."
The reasons for their deaths were many, but they were all directly killed by the hands of the Occupation force.
It is to them that I dedicate this short history of that turbulent time.
As I grew to maturity on Bajor – as a child on my family’s Moba fruit farm and later within monastery walls – I experienced much of the Occupation firsthand.
- The following life history of Jabara Eris was created by the author of this document and is non-canon, although a Bajoran nurse named "Jabara" was a recurring minor character on Deep Space Nine.
The bricks and mortar of the temple I called home often did little to shelter those who lived within from witnessing the actions of the Cardassian invasion force. And what I did not see with my own eyes I still would experience whenever I attempted to comfort or assist those who had lost their homes, their families, their limbs and, in some cases, their sanity to the gray-skinned conquerors.
In an attempt to use my training and limited wisdom to aid the many Bajorans who fled offworld during the planet’s turbulent years, and to help spread the teachings of the Prophets throughout the galaxy, I requested and was granted the opportunity to enlist in Starfleet after the Cardassian retreat from Bajor. This decision has allowed me the opportunity to serve alongside other Bajorans, Terrans and a host of other races during the last few years as an officer, a counselor and an unofficial cleric aboard both a starship and a space station.
Untold millions of Bajorans still live the horrors today every time they close their eyes for sleep or gaze at an image of a lost loved one. I have learned, however, that the tragedy of the Occupation is often little more than a depressing historical topic for most members of other species. This is also too often true for many of the thousands of Bajorans who were born and raised never having set foot on their homeworld’s soil.
- "Ensign Ro" (TNG): Judging from the size of the refugee camp and the knowledge that others existed elsewhere, it’s a safe bet that at least several thousand Bajorans fled their world because of the Occupation.
Libraries of volumes have been written about the Occupation by Bajorans for Bajorans, but few works have been scribed specifically for other races.
- That statement is pure speculation, although it stands to reason that numerous books were written by Bajorans about the subject.
I feel this is a neglected need because memories of the long night that fell over Bajor during the Cardassian Occupation should serve as a bitter lesson for all sentient species.
After spending six years in daily contact with Terrans, I was asked by an acquaintance at Starfleet Academy if I would be willing to come speak to his students on my experiences. The opportunity prompted me to create a short overview of the Occupation slanted specifically toward the knowledge and backgrounds of Starfleet cadets.
To make the material as relevant as possible, I have focused my work on the strongest connection Starfleet has to Bajor – the space station known as Deep Space Nine. Because the station’s current commander, Kira Nerys, is possibly the one Bajoran most recognized by Starfleet officers, I interviewed her extensively and have attempted to present her recollections as accurately as possible. Similarly, because Gul Dukat is possibly the most recognized Cardassian, I used him as an example of the mind and soul of the Occupation force.
Whatever gaps a student may find in my work, I can only hope it will encourage them on to further research – and to seek the path of truly understanding what Cardassian rule meant to the Bajoran culture.
A Terran is quoted as saying, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
-Attributed to George Santayana, (1863-1952) Spanish-born United States philosopher and critic. In the first decade of the twentieth century, he came to be regarded as one of the nation's foremost philosophers, and wrote surpassingly in many fields.
My prayer is that my brief history of some of facts surrounding the Bajoran Occupation will help prevent such a dark time from ever descending over any planet anywhere ever again.
Voka a Bentel.
- From a semi-canon Bajoran Language Dictionary created by Kel Dasha, Dyshal Entara and Kahlen A'tria. Translated into English, the phrase generally means "Walk with the Prophets."
Lt. Jabara Eris
Prylar and Counselor
Deep Space 18
- The name of a Star Trek fan club (based in Boulder, Colorado) to which the author belongs. (http://www.integral.org/~ds18)
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