Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Sign a petition to ask the US Government to honor its commitment to the people of the Marshall Islands
You seldom read about their plight because this news has indeed been disappeared.
The US has neglected its responsibilities to these people. Currently, there is an on-line petition asking that already legislated commitments be kept. Please consider signing the petition, which can be found here. A short video of three of the tests in Eniwetok, Marshall Islands is here (for some reason, the video clip is in ogg format, so best to right-click and download it, then open it with your video player (i.e., Windows Media Player), and tell the player to try and play the file) .
Part of the petition includes this background. After reading it, I know you will click on the above link and add your name to the growing list of signatories.
Each year in August, we acknowledge with regret the devastating impact of the atomic bombs that were dropped on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We know that thousands of lives were lost or changed forever. Generations of Japanese citizens have experienced the aftermath of the chemicals that entered people's bodies and affected their health and environment for the rest of their lives. Most of us know about this.
This year marks the 53rd anniversary of the Bravo H-bomb test, conducted on March 1, 1954 on Bikini Atoll. Sixty-seven nuclear tests were carried out in the Marshall Islands from June 30, 1946 to August 18, 1958. These were not bombs to end a war, the justification for the devastation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In the Marshall Islands, this was bomb testing! The bombs were intentionally dropped on the Marshall Islands by the U.S. Military. How many of us knew about this? If we did not know before, it is time that we know now.
The H-bombs tested were 1000 times more powerful than the Hiroshima atomic bomb. Dr. Neal Palafox of the University of Hawaii says that the radiation for this testing equaled 7,000 atomic bombs. The New York Times reported on April 30, 2001, "America's debt to this Country has its roots in the 66 nuclear tests conducted in the Marshall Islands. Their total yield was 128,000 kilotons, roughly the equivalent of 10 Hiroshima-sized weapons per week throughout the testing period (twelve years)." How many of us paid attention to that story?
The lives of thousands of residents of the Marshall Islands were changed forever. Survivors continue to suffer from the effects of radiation. Many of the survivors of the bomb testing have now passed away. Perhaps, the magnitude of the H-bomb testing was not known during those first tests in 1946. How could we not have known? We already knew the affects of the atomic disaster in Hiroshima and Nagasaki the year before.
Granted, the United States admitted its wrong doing and signed a Compact with the citizens of the Marshall Islands in 1986 agreeing to compensate the citizens for injuries and damages. As of August, 2000, some actual awards had been made for personal injuries. However, 712 of the awardees (42%) died without receiving their full compensation. The long-term health impact on the Marshallese people is still being discovered. Those who were down wind of the tests continue to suffer serious health consequences. The waters and lands are poisoned and the food supplies remain contaminated. Today, little attention is being given to this atrocity. Did you know?
Because of the resulting illnesses and environmental crisis, the Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands submitted a Changed Circumstances Petition to the U.S. Congress on September 11, 2000. They are still waiting for a response almost seven years later. In fact, the Petition has not moved at all. How many of us know this?
It is time to tell everyone we know about this well kept secret. It is time for Congress to quit ignoring the appeals for help from survivors of the H-bomb testing. It is time to challenge Congress to respond to the Changed Circumstances Petition submitted by the Government of the Marshall Islands. Contact your Congressperson - tell him or her that you know about this and they need to do something about it, now.
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