Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Day (‘Bikini’ Day), 1 March, marks the anniversary of the US ‘Bravo’ nuclear bomb detonation at Bikini Atoll in 1954. The explosion gouged out a crater more than 200 feet deep and a mile across, melting huge quantities of coral which were sucked up into the atmosphere together with vast volumes of seawater. The resulting fallout caused widespread contamination in the Pacific.
The people in the Marshall Islands, and elsewhere in the Pacific, were used as human guinea pigs in an obscene racist experiment to ‘progress’ the insane pursuit of nuclear weapons supremacy.
Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Day is a day to remember that the arrogant colonialist mindset which allowed, indeed encouraged, the horror mentioned above continues today and that the Pacific remains neither nuclear free nor independent. Today we acknowledge and remember those who have suffered and died in the struggle for independence around the Pacific; those who have opposed colonisation in its many forms and paid for their opposition with their health and life; and those who have suffered and died as a result of the nuclear weapons states’ use of the Pacific for nuclear experimentation, uranium mining, nuclear weapons testing and nuclear waste dumping.
We remember France as a brutal coloniser of Te Ao Maohi (Tahiti) carried out a total of 193 nuclear tests from 1966 to 1996. On Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Day we remember that the arrogant colonialist mindset which allowed and, indeed encouraged, the horror mentioned above . Today the Pacific remains neither nuclear free nor independent.
Earlier this month the Pacific governments of Tuvalu, Nauru and the Solomon Islands supported moves to re-inscribe Maohi Nui into the United Nations’ decolonization list.This followed a resolution of the Melanesian Spearhead group in Nadi last year to support self-determination in the French territory.
France, Australia and New Zealand are opposed to the move. Today we ask the government of New Zealand why did they endorse the Declaration of the rights of Indigenous Peoples when they are opposed to the Self determination of the Indigenous peoples of Tahiti ? The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples clearly states and affirms that Indigenous Peoples have the to self-determination, to their lands and territories, to their cultural identities, to self-representation and to their unique values and beliefs ‘
For too long Maohi Nui ( Tahiti) has been fighting for her freedom and it’s time we, as a Pacific family, stand up with a united voice to offer our support.”It is critical that we see the connections so that we as Indigenous Peoples of the Pacific can continue to support each other across Te Moana nui a Kiwa, the Great Sea of Kiwa, and know that we are not alone in these struggles.
(Te Wharepora Hou wahine collective.)