marshall islands

A photo montage captured during a solar eclipse over the Marshall Islands in July 2009. The beautiful image shows the solar corona that makes up the sun’s ‘atmosphere’ in amazing detail as the sun passes behind the Moon. (Source)


The Flag of Bakini Atoll

After World War II, the United States found themselves in possession of Bakini Atoll, a South Pacific atoll of islands which was wrenched from the hands of the Japanese.  The islands were home to 167 native Micronesian inhabitants. Unfortunately, the US military decided to use the islands as the primary testing grounds for America’s early Cold War nuclear testing program.  The residents were asked to leave, believing that they could return once testing was completed.  23 nuclear devices were detonated on the atoll, causing radioactive fallout that made the islands uninhabitable.  In the meantime, the residents were forced to settle on Kili Island 400 miles away, a small island 1/6th the size of their old home with barely enough food and water to sustain their way of life. Often, the islanders faced starvation and dehydration.

In the 1970’s, the US Government attempted to resettle the islanders, but then they were forced to return to Kili Island when it was determined that Bakini Atoll was polluted with radioactive isotopes. The US Government never offered compensation for their loses. Frustrated and angry, the islanders decided to create a new flag not only to represent their people and nation, but as a protest against their unfair treatment. Based on the US Flag, it features 13 stripes for the 13 American colonies, and 23 white stars for the 23 islands of Bakini Atoll.  The three black stars in the upper right represent the three islands that were disfigured in March 1954 during 15-megaton Bravo test by the United States. The two black stars in the lower right corner represent where the Bikinians live now, Kili and Ejit Island. These two stars are symbolically far away from Bikini’s stars on the flag as the islands are in real life (both in distance and quality of life). Finally the flag features the quote “MEN OTEMJEJ REJ ILO BEIN ANIJ”, supposedly the words spoken by King Juda to Commodore Ben Wyatt meaning “Everything is in the hands of God.”

In 1987 the Nuclear Claims Tribunal was founded, and the islanders were granted $75 million dollars for damages which were paid out over a span of 15 years.  In addition, a $150 million dollar trust fund was set up in 2001, of which Bakini Atoll residents can draw 5% per year in perpetuity. 

Hilda Heine (b. 1951) is currently the President of the Pacific nation of Marshall Islands. She is the first woman to hold this position not only in her country, but in any Micronesian nation. She was also the first citizen of Marshall Islands to earn a doctorate degree.

In 2000 she founded a women’s rights group called Women United Together Marshall Islands. She was elected as president of the country in January 2016.


A ground zero forgotten

The Marshall Islands, once a U.S. nuclear test site, face oblivion again

In 2001, an independent nuclear-claims tribunal awarded the RMI $2.3 billion in health and property damages, but there was no mechanism to force the United States to pay it. Washington does not consider itself liable beyond the original settlement and points to the additional tens of millions of dollars it grants every year to environmental, food and health-care programs.

The problem? These sector grants are decreasing yearly until 2023, when they expire. Plenty of treasure has already been lost in the clumsy merger between a Western economy of cold hard cash and a feudalistic society in which traditional chiefs and landowners hold sway.

What Americans consider welfare, the Marshallese consider normal historical function: Fish, coconuts and other perishables were given to the chief to distribute promptly and fairly, to avoid waste and to keep the peace. Then America, with its deep pockets, became the de facto high chief.

Now, a new trust fund is being capitalized by the United States at a rate of $12 million to $16 million a year to provide a life jacket for the RMI economy after 2023. But this fund would be just as vulnerable to hasty distribution as existing trusts, which have been siphoned at times by the Marshallese.

“I think the U.S. acquitted itself reasonably,” says a U.S. policy adviser on the Marshall Islands who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak for the federal government. “We did a horrible thing, but we provided compensation, and then a lot more.”

The Marshallese culture is rooted in a history of resource sharing, ecological balance, of an intimate knowledge of how the winds blow, how the waves break, how the stars slip across the sky. Over the past 70 years, though, victimhood, corruption and dependency have produced a different kind of fallout.

“We have basically destroyed a culture,” says Glenn Alcalay, an anthropology professor at New Jersey’s Montclair State University who took part in Greenpeace’s second evacuation of Rongelap in 1985. “We’ve stolen their future. When you take the future from a people, you’ve destroyed them.”


Rest in peace, Kit Carson.  After a tumultuous (and, let’s be frank, adventurous!) life in the Wild Wild West as the ultimate Mountain Man (a reputation, earned or otherwise, greatly enhanced by his exciting and exaggerated appearance in the popular dime novels of the time), Christopher Houston Carson died on this date in 1868 at the age of 58.

Stamp details:
Top left:
Issued on: October 18, 1994
From: Laramie, WY; Tucson, AZ; Lawton, OK
SC #2869n

Top right:
Issued on: August 14, 2008
From: Majuro, Marshall Islands
SW #2328

Stamp on bottom:
Issued on: September 18, 1997
From: San Marino, San Marino
MC #1734

guys this post has almost every country in the world on it i think i died while making it but i’m not too sure

[for this list i decided to use the mainland versions of the country names unless i could not find it (in those rare cases i used the taiwanese versions). also, this post is long so if i made any mistakes please tell me]

非洲 Africa

阿尔及利亚 ā'ěrjílìyǎ Algeria

安哥拉 āngēlā Angola

贝宁 bèi níng Benin

博茨瓦纳 bócíwǎnà Botswana

布基纳法索 bù jī nà fǎ suǒ Burkina Faso

布隆迪 bùlóngdí Burundi

佛得角 fú de jiǎo Cabo Verde/Cape Verde

喀麦隆 kāmàilóng Cameroon

中非共和国 zhōng fēi gònghéguó Central African Republic (CAR)

乍得 zhàde Chad

科摩罗 kē mó luó Comoros

刚果民主共和国 gāngguǒ mínzhǔ gònghéguó Democratic Republic of the Congo

科特迪瓦 kētèdíwǎ Cote d’Ivoire

吉布提 jíbùtí Djibouti

埃及 āijí Egypt

赤道几内亚 chìdào jǐnèiyǎ Equatorial Guinea

厄立特里亚 èlìtèlǐyǎ Eritrea

埃塞俄比亚 āisāi'ébǐyǎ Ethiopia

加蓬 jiāpéng Gabon

冈比亚 gāngbǐyǎ Gambia

加纳 jiānà Ghana

几内亚 jǐnèiyǎ Guinea 

几内亚比绍 jǐnèiyǎ bǐ shào Guinea-Bissau

肯尼亚 kěnníyǎ Kenya

莱索托 láisuǒtuō Lesotho

利比里亚 lìbǐlǐyǎ Liberia

利比亚 lìbǐyǎ Libya

马达加斯加 mǎdájiāsījiā Madascar

马拉维 mǎ lā wéi Malawi

马里 mǎlǐ Mali

毛里塔尼亚 máolǐtǎníyǎ Mauritania

毛里求斯 máolǐqiúsī Mauritius

摩洛哥 móluògē Morocco

莫桑比克 mòsāngbǐkè Mozambique

纳米比亚 nàmǐbǐyǎ Namibia

尼日尔 nírì'ěr Niger

尼日利亚 nírìlìyǎ Nigeria

卢旺达 lúwàngdá Rwanda

圣多美和普林西比 shèng duō měihé pǔ lín xī bǐ Sao Tome and Pricipe

塞内加尔 sàinèijiā'ěr Senegal

塞舌尔 sāi shé ěr Seychelles

塞拉利昂 sèlālì'áng Sierra Leone

索马里 suǒmǎlǐ Somalia

南非 nánfēi South Africa

南苏丹 nán sūdān South Sudan

苏丹 sūdān Sudan

斯威士兰 sī wēi shì lán Swaziland

坦桑尼亚 tǎnsāngníyǎ Tanzania

多哥 duō gē Togo

突尼斯 túnísī Tunisia

乌干达 wūgāndá Uganda

赞比亚 zànbǐyǎ Zambia

津巴布韦 jīnbābùwéi Zimbabwe

phew. the rest of the continents are under the cut

Keep reading


“if you can write a cheery postcard about it, clearly you are not worried about the deadly destruction your enemies can muster.”

Atomic Postcards - John O’Brian and Jeremy Borsos, 2011

A collection of postcards celebrating nuclear energy and atomic weaponry, dating from the end of WWII up to the 1970s

US restates it owes no more compo to Marshalls test victims

The United States ambassador to the Marshall Islands, Tom Armbruster, says the US considers it has paid enough compensation to the victims of the nuclear tests it conducted in the country from 1946 to 1958.

This comes after Pacific Islands leaders at their summit in Majuro endorsed a UN Special Rapporteur’s report on the tests, calling on the US government to pay more than two billion US dollars in outstanding payments due to the test victims.

In its communique, the Forum says the US and the UN have ongoing obligations to encourage a final and just resolution for the Marshallese.

While no money is immediately forthcoming, Mr Armbruster says the US will continue to engage with the Marshall Islands on the issue.

“We do consider that the United States has paid full and final compensation for the nuclear tests, however we engage with them in a number of areas. The Department of Energy is here full time and the people who were affected by the 67 tests in the 1950s have access to life time health care that the United States provides.”


So proud to be a Pacific Islander today, as Marshallese poet and teacher, Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner braves the UN Climate Summit and gave the keynote speech to these UN Leaders. To give the keynote at this event, as a Pacific Islander is so huge and inspiring. For the world to know that Oceania exists and that we are on the frontlines of Climate Change is so important. Thank you for doing this work, thank you for your inspiring speech and poem, thank you for showing the world who Oceania is and that we need to make changes.

Watch Kathy share her speech and poem at the UN Climate Summit and see her cute little Peinam and Mak as they come out to support her towards the end. So wonderful