Sitting here in Hawaii in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, I’m appalled and aghast with the way the Imperialist Western media has covered the Earthquakes, Tsunami and Nuclear Devastation in Japan. CNN, ABC, MSNBC and FOX news and the “talking head experts” all reported that it was ok for the winds to blow off shore and the nuclear contaminated debris’ to move toward the Ocean never giving one thought to the people who live downwind.
Dotting the Pacific, spanning 1/3rd of the world’s surface are places unknown to most people in America and Europe. No nations are more isolated geographically than those in the Pacific Ocean, making them among the least known and least understood parts of the globe.
Thousands of different indigenous people inhabit these Islands. They have families, voices, languages, customs and cultures. Google states that there are 20,000 to 30,000 Islands in the Pacific Ocean.
These islands include Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia as well as the Galápagos Islands of Ecuador; the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, the Russian islands of Sakhalin and Kuril Islands; Taiwan and other islands of the Republic of China; the Philippines; islands in the South China Sea, the islands of Indonesia; plus the Ryukyu Islands in the Japanese Archipelago.
I am convinced after an extended period of observation that there is very little television programming that addresses these people and their way of life, the effects of the downwinds and ocean currents. In 1954 fallout from the Bravo H-bomb Blast was estimated to cover 7,000 sq miles. However particles of radioactive materials were found as far north as Lake Ontario. The fish were “hot” in Japan, as well as radioactive horses in New Zealand and radioactive rain in Sydney.
Due to winds, rains and other weather patterns, particles of radiation contamination have been located in all parts of the planet making all of us “downwinders”
One of our problems today is that we are not well acquainted with the literature and the geography of the world. We’re interested in the news of the day and the problems of the hour and its immediate affects on us. When the concerns of the day have all been attended to, we turn to American Idol.
For decades, children have been taught American and European myths and legends, believing that all history springs forth from Europe. They have no concept of the wealth of contributions made by the peoples of Asia, Africa, North and South America, as well as the thousands of Island nations.
If you know the story of other places and people, then you see its relevance to something happening in your own life. It gives you perspective on what’ s happening to you. With the loss of that knowledge, we’ve really lost something because we don’t have a comparable to take its place. The quality of a society’s life improves as its sense of connection with history and a future improves. Some have called this sense of connection, a continuity of consciousness.
The Marshall Islands, 3,000 miles west of Honolulu, in the Central Pacific, consists of two archipelagic island chains of 1,152 islands and 30 atolls, including Majuro Atoll, the capital; Ebeye Island in Kwajalein Atoll; and Bikini and Enewetak Atolls, which were targets of U.S. nuclear testing programs.
More than 4,500 years ago the archipelago of Belau was settled. Today it is officially the Republic of Palau, an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, some 500 miles (800 km) east of the Philippines and 2,000 miles (3,200 km) south of Tokyo.
In 1981, Palau voted for the world’s first nuclear-free constitution. This constitution banned the use, storage, and disposal of nuclear, toxic chemical, gas, and biological weapons without first being approved by a 3/4 majority in a referendum. This ban held up Palau’s transition to independence because while negotiating a Compact of Free Association with the United States the U.S. insisted on the option to operate nuclear propelled vessels and store nuclear weapons within the territory. After several referendums that failed to achieve a 3/4 majority, the people of Palau finally approved the compact with the U.S. in 1994.
About the fish in the ocean! Once the nuclear contaminates wash ashore, the plankton eat from the debris laden shore. They provide a crucial source of food to larger, more familiar aquatic organisms such as fish and cetacea. The little fish eat the plankton, the medium size fish eat the little fish and the big fish that swim the length and breadth of the Pacific Ocean eat the medium fish. And People eat the big fish. The major fishing industry is in the Pacific Ocean. Even pet foods are made from fish by-products.
The atomic/nuclear age has wrought worldwide havoc beyond belief. It has had such an impact on our lives, that we should not ignore the history but study it and learn from it.
MarshaRose Joyner, is a resident of, and an activist in many civil rights and other causes in, the Hawaiian Islands.