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Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Day 2002
1 March 2002
Today is Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Day.
It is the 48th anniversary of the US 'Bravo' nuclear bomb detonation close to the surface of Bikini Atoll. The explosion gouged out a crater 240 feet deep and 6000 feet across, it melted huge quantities of coral, sucked them up and distributed them far and wide across the Pacific.
The island of Rongelap (100 miles away) was buried in powdery particles of radioactive fallout to a depth of one and a half inches, and Utirik (300 miles away) was swathed in radioactive mist. Also in the path of the fallout was a Japanese fishing boat, Lucky Dragon No 5, and all 23 crew rapidly developed radiation sickness.
The US navy sent ships to evacuate the people of Rongelap and Utirik three days after the explosion. These, and other, Pacific peoples were used as human guinea pigs in an obscene racist experiment.
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 - the Pacific is still neither nuclear free nor independent.
It is a day to think about the many faces of colonisation (physical, cultural, spiritual, economic, nuclear ... ) past and present, the blockages to independence and sovereignty here in Aotearoa and the other colonised countries of the Pacific, and the ability of Pacific peoples to stop further nuclearisation and militarisation of our region.
It is a day to acknowledge and remember those who have suffered and died in the struggle for independence around the Pacific; those who have opposed colonialism 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.
It is the day to pledge your support to continue the struggle for a nuclear free and independent Pacific, as the theme of the most recent NFIP conference says - No te parau tia, no te parau mau, no te tiamaraa, e tu, e tu - For justice, for truth and for independence, wake up, stand up !
Kia manawanui, kia ü, kia kaha to all who are working for a nuclear free and independent Pacific, Peace Movement Aotearoa.
Following is a copy of the Indigenous People in Colonised Countries of the Pacific Peace Statement, re-circulated for NFIP Day 2002:
Indigenous People in Colonised Countries of the Pacific Peace Statement
We, Indigenous people from the lands known as Aotearoa, Japan and Australia, all bound by the Pacific, met at the Forum For Pacific Peace and Human Security, held on the Peace Boat from 21-26 September 2000. We identified and considered issues that we believe require urgent attention and action to attain lasting Peace in the Pacific.
As a result:
We endorse and support: the Peace Vision from the Forum for Pacific Peace and Human Security 2000; the Manifesto 2000 for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence; the Kareoka Document signed in Rio de Janeiro 1992; and, initiatives such as those taken by the Peace Boat and NFIP as a means of forging networks and partnerships for Peace in the Pacific and the rest of the world.
We call on all Peoples of the Pacific to support each other in attaining lasting Peace.