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)

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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. 

theguardian.com
'Quite odd': coral and fish thrive on Bikini Atoll 70 years after nuclear tests
Scientists say marine life has proved ‘remarkably resilient’ despite the Pacific island being declared a wasteland in the 1950s
By Eleanor Ainge Roy

I found this article EXTREMELY interesting, about how years of nuclear bomb testing affected marine life in the area. It turns out, everything is thriving without mutations even though radiation levels remain high.

It gives me hope that even if humans destroy each other, the ocean will live on!

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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.”

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MARSHALL ISLANDS. Kili. July 2016. A number of men on Kili go spear fishing, preferably at night as there is more fish near the coast at night, about 6 months out of the year. This sea life supplements the food they receive every few months from the U.S. Government. During the other 6 months of the year, as there is no lagoon, the ocean is too rough, with strong currents and large swells, to allow for fishing. © Michael Christopher Brown/Magnum Photos

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.

An atomic bomb test off Bikini Atoll, July 1946. Test weapons were detonated on the reef itself, on the sea, in the air and underwater. Bikini Atoll is one of 23 islands that comprises the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Dubbed “Operation Crossroads”, the nuclear testing rendered the island and surrounding area uninhabitable due to radioactivity, stemming mostly from caesium-137.

The Paris Climate Accord: A Summary

Afghanistan: Hoe, don’t do it.
Albania: Hoe, don’t do it.
Algeria: Hoe, don’t do it.
Andorra: Hoe, don’t do it.
Angola: Hoe, don’t do it.
Antigua and Barbuda: Hoe, don’t do it.
Argentina: Hoe, don’t do it.
Australia: Hoe, don’t do it.
Austria: Hoe, don’t do it.
Azerbaijan: Hoe, don’t do it.
Bahamas: Hoe, don’t do it.
Bahrain: Hoe, don’t do it.
Bangladesh: Hoe, don’t do it.
Barbados: Hoe, don’t do it.
Belarus: Hoe, don’t do it.
Belgium: Hoe, don’t do it.
Belize: Hoe, don’t do it.
Benin: Hoe, don’t do it.
Bhutan: Hoe, don’t do it.
Bolivia: Hoe, don’t do it.
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Hoe, don’t do it.
Botswana: Hoe, don’t do it.
Brazil: Hoe, don’t do it.
Darussalam: Hoe, don’t do it.
Bulgaria: Hoe, don’t do it.
Burkina Faso: Hoe, don’t do it.
Burundi: Hoe, don’t do it.
Cabo Verde: Hoe, don’t do it.
Cambodia: Hoe, don’t do it.
Cameroon: Hoe, don’t do it.
Canada: Hoe, don’t do it.
Central African Republic: Hoe, don’t do it.
Chad: Hoe, don’t do it.
China: Hoe, don’t do it.
Colombia: Hoe, don’t do it.
Comoros: Hoe, don’t do it.
Congo: Hoe, don’t do it.
Costa Rica: Hoe, don’t do it.
Côte d'Ivoire: Hoe, don’t do it.
Croatia: Hoe, don’t do it.
Cuba: Hoe, don’t do it.
Cyprus: Hoe, don’t do it.
Czech Republic: Hoe, don’t do it.
North Korea: Hoe, don’t do it.
Congo: Hoe, don’t do it.
Denmark: Hoe, don’t do it.
Djibouti: Hoe, don’t do it.
Dominica: Hoe, don’t do it.
Dominican Republic: Hoe, don’t do it.
Egypt: Hoe, don’t do it.
El Salvador: Hoe, don’t do it.
Equatorial Guinea: Hoe, don’t do it.
Eritrea: Hoe, don’t do it.
Estonia: Hoe, don’t do it.
Ethiopia: Hoe, don’t do it.
European Union: Hoe, don’t do it.
Fiji: Hoe, don’t do it.
Finland: Hoe, don’t do it.
France: Hoe, don’t do it.
Gabon: Hoe, don’t do it.
Georgia: Hoe, don’t do it.
Germany: Hoe, don’t do it.
Ghana: Hoe, don’t do it.
Greece: Hoe, don’t do it.
Grenada: Hoe, don’t do it.
Guatemala: Hoe, don’t do it.
Guinea: Hoe, don’t do it.
Guinea Bissau: Hoe, don’t do it.
Guyana: Hoe, don’t do it.
Haiti: Hoe, don’t do it.
Honduras: Hoe, don’t do it.
Hungary: Hoe, don’t do it.
Iceland: Hoe, don’t do it.
India: Hoe, don’t do it.
Indonesia: Hoe, don’t do it.
Iran: Hoe, don’t do it.
Ireland: Hoe, don’t do it.
Israel: Hoe, don’t do it.
Italy: Hoe, don’t do it.
Jamaica: Hoe, don’t do it.
Japan: Hoe, don’t do it.
Jordan: Hoe, don’t do it.
Kenya: Hoe, don’t do it.
Kiribati: Hoe, don’t do it.
Kuwait: Hoe, don’t do it.
Lao’s Democratic Republic: Hoe, don’t do it.
Latvia: Hoe, don’t do it.
Lebanon: Hoe, don’t do it.
Lesotho: Hoe, don’t do it.
Liberia: Hoe, don’t do it.
Libya: Hoe, don’t do it.
Liechtenstein: Hoe, don’t do it.
Lithuania: Hoe, don’t do it.
Luxembourg: Hoe, don’t do it.
Madagascar: Hoe, don’t do it.
Malaysia: Hoe, don’t do it.
Maldives: Hoe, don’t do it.
Mali: Hoe, don’t do it.
Malta: Hoe, don’t do it.
Marshall Islands: Hoe, don’t do it.
Mauritius: Hoe, don’t do it.
Mauritania: Hoe, don’t do it.
Mexico: Hoe, don’t do it.
Micronesia: Hoe, don’t do it.
Monaco: Hoe, don’t do it.
Mongolia: Hoe, don’t do it.
Montenegro: Hoe, don’t do it.
Morocco: Hoe, don’t do it.
Mozambique: Hoe, don’t do it.
Myanmar: Hoe, don’t do it.
Namibia: Hoe, don’t do it.
Nauru: Hoe, don’t do it.
Nepal: Hoe, don’t do it.
Netherlands: Hoe, don’t do it.
New Zealand: Hoe, don’t do it.
Niger: Hoe, don’t do it.
Norway: Hoe, don’t do it.
Oman: Hoe, don’t do it.
Pakistan: Hoe, don’t do it.
Palau: Hoe, don’t do it.
Panama: Hoe, don’t do it.
Papua New Guinea: Hoe, don’t do it.
Paraguay: Hoe, don’t do it.
Peru: Hoe, don’t do it.
Philippines: Hoe, don’t do it.
Poland: Hoe, don’t do it.
Portugal: Hoe, don’t do it.
Qatar: Hoe, don’t do it.
Republic of Korea: Hoe, don’t do it.
Romania: Hoe, don’t do it.
Russian Federation: Hoe, don’t do it.
Rwanda: Hoe, don’t do it.
Saint Kitts and Nevis: Hoe, don’t do it.
Saint Lucia: Hoe, don’t do it.
Saint Vincent and Grenadines: Hoe, don’t do it.
Samoa: Hoe, don’t do it.
San Marino: Hoe, don’t do it.
Principe: Hoe, don’t do it.
Senegal: Hoe, don’t do it.
Serbia: Hoe, don’t do it.
Singapore: Hoe, don’t do it.
Slovakia: Hoe, don’t do it.
Slovenia: Hoe, don’t do it.
Solomon Islands: Hoe, don’t do it.
Somalia: Hoe, don’t do it.
South Africa: Hoe, don’t do it.
South Sudan: Hoe, don’t do it.
Spain: Hoe, don’t do it.
Sri Lanka: Hoe, don’t do it.
State of Palestine: Hoe, don’t do it.
Sudan: Hoe, don’t do it.
Suriname: Hoe, don’t do it.
Swaziland: Hoe, don’t do it.
Sweden: Hoe, don’t do it.
Switzerland: Hoe, don’t do it.
Tajikistan: Hoe, don’t do it.
Thailand: Hoe, don’t do it.
Macedonia: Hoe, don’t do it.
Timor-Leste: Hoe, don’t do it.
Tonga: Hoe, don’t do it.
Trinidad and Tobago: Hoe, don’t do it.
Tunisia: Hoe, don’t do it.
Turkey: Hoe, don’t do it.
Tuvalu: Hoe, don’t do it.
Uganda: Hoe, don’t do it.
Ukraine: Hoe, don’t do it.
United Arab Emirates: Hoe, don’t do it.
United Kingdom: Hoe, don’t do it.
United Republic of Tanzania: Hoe, don’t do it.
Uruguay: Hoe, don’t do it.
Vanuatu: Hoe, don’t do it.
Venezuela: Hoe, don’t do it.
Viet Nam: Hoe, don’t do it.
Zimbabwe: Hoe, don’t do it.

United States: …Imma do it.