Australian news, and some related international items

Anniversary of nuclear bomb test on Mururoa Atoll

ACE Nuclear-Free Collective   No Nuclear Waste Dump Anywhere in South Australia, 2 July 20

This day on July 2nd 1966, the first French nuclear test took place at Mururoa Atoll. [Image description: slides with blue and orange text on black background with text that reads, On this day in history, an orange radioactive mushroom cloud ruptured Pacific skies, seas and engulfed the atoll of Mururoa. It was the beginning of a toxic reign of radioactive negligence by the French in the Pacific region. The French President who upon witnessing the July 2nd detonation remarked, “It’s beautiful”.

The colonial power had been testing in Algeria, but as their independence became more evident, the French moved into the atolls of Polynesia. From 1966 to 1996, the French conducted 193 tests on the atoll; some of the explosions 200 times the strength of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Information on safety, and the lasting impacts for environment and human health, was scarce if not, misleading. The sovereign peoples were led to believe testing was not only safe but would benefit their communities through military-based economic opportunity. People who worked only 15kilometres away from test sites often had no more protection than the shorts and t-shirts on their backs.

French testing, was a theatrical power display, an assertion of their priority to grasp tight to global dominance rather than world peace. Resistance to testing was prominent from the outset. Pouvanaa a Oopa, a fierce and enduring anti colonial leader, led the first protection action in 1950, collecting signatures for the Stockholm Peace Appeal. He remained an important leader and agitator, even throughout his political imprisonment and exile to France.

During the thirty years of French testing, condemnation swelled internally and across Pacific nations including Aotearoa and so called Australia. Mass protests, demonstrations, flotilla solidarity, trade union bans and boycotts on French products took place. “If it is safe to test, test it in Paris” was a phrase used by key collective, The Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific.

The radioactive fall out has had devastating impacts on both environment and human health. Tahiti the most populated island was exposed to 500 times the maximum accepted levels of radiation. Tahitian socialist, Richard Tuheiava outlines the continuing struggle for justice, ”The fact is since the nuclear testing most of the diseases were cancer, leukaemia. Most of the diseases were as a result of the nuclear testing, so we collectively also put a request for the state of France, the colonial power to not only compensate directly the veterans, but also compensate this fund, this public health care fund.”

Today, July 2nd 2020, we honour the ongoing impacts of nuclear colonialism in the Polynesia, and the enduring fight for justice, truth and accountability.]

July 11, 2020 - Posted by | General News

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