11. THE UNKNOWN STRUGGLE FOR A NUCLEAR FREE PACIFIC
Many Pacific islanders might wonder why it took the West so long to
catch on to the nuclear issue.
Since the birth of the Atomic Age, the Pacific Ocean, its islands,
and its people have endured nuclear experiences unlike those experienced
anywhere else on earth.
The ocean itself has become a dumpsite for nuclear waste.
Polynesia is France's tropical paradise for nuclear testing -- 41 nuclear
bombs exploded in the atmosphere between 1966 and 1975.
The Philippine Islands has its own Karen Silkwood -- Ernesto Nazareno,
a construction worker at the Westinghouse nuclear reactor being built
at Morong, Mataan, who disappeared in 1979.
The world's largest and most sustained nuclear disarmament movement
started in Japan in 1954.
Micronesia, among the last regions in the world to be directly administered
by an outside power (the United States), is an essential link in post-Vietnam
U.S. military strategy in the Pacific.
To this day, Marshall Islanders suffer from radiation health problems
because of exposure to many of the 66 atomic and hydrogen bombs tested
at Bikini and Enewetak Atolls by the United States.
And, of course, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the first and only populated
targets of atomic bombs.
Now, Tinian, a small island in Micronesia from which the U.S. launched
its atomic bomb attacks on Japan, may be turned into a major U.S. Air
Force base with nuclear weapons, ammunition storage, and marine amphibian
There is a "Stop the Tinian Base" protest movement but not
many of us have heard about it. The news media have yet to discover
the Nuclear Free Pacific Movement, a movement whose members know nuclear
terror first hand.
WIN, 8/1/82, "Nuclear Free Pacific," Special Issue.