Nuclear Remembrance Day 2023 and World Futures Day

March 3rd, 2023 - by UnFold Zero

Nuclear Remembrance Day and
World Futures Day: March 1

UnFold Zero

March 1 is Nuclear Remembrance Day, the anniversary of the Bravo–Castle nuclear weapons test — the most destructive nuclear test explosion ever carried out in the Pacific. The nuclear explosion, conducted at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands on 1 March 1954, was nearly 1,000 times more powerful than the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The radioactive fallout caused — and continues to cause — high level of cancers, miscarriages, birth deformities and other related illnesses throughout the surrounding islands.

Testimony from the Marshall Islands to the International Court of Justice in 1995 about the catastrophic, widespread and trans-generational impact of the nuclear tests conducted in their territories was instrumental in moving the Court to conclude that “The destructive power of nuclear weapons cannot be contained in either space or time” and to affirm that “The threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, and in particular the principles and rules of humanitarian law.

Lijon Eknilang

Miscarriages, Stillbirths, Deformaties:
From the Testimony of Lijon Eknilang
To the International Court of Justice in 1995

“Not long after the light from Bravo, it began to ‘snow’ in Rongelap. We had heard about snow from the missionaries and other westerners who had come to our islands, but this was the first time we saw white particles fall from the sky and cover our village. Of course, in 1954, Marshallese children and their parents did not know that the snow was radioactive fall-out from the Bravo shot.”

“My own health has suffered very much, as a result of radiation poisoning. I cannot have children. I have had miscarriages on seven occasions. On one of those occasions, I miscarried after four months. The child I miscarried was severely deformed; it had only one eye.”

“Women have experienced many reproductive cancers and abnormal births. They give birth, not to children as we like to think of them, but to things we could only describe as “octopuses”, “apples”, “turtles”, and other things in our experience. We do not have Marshallese words for these kinds of babies because they were never born before the radiation came...”

UN Court rejects Marshall Islands nuclear case in 1995

Some Remembrance Day Actions/Events

The event will provide a short update on the process and possible outcomes of UN Summit of the Future plus opportunities for civil society engagement, followed by a roundtable discussion on issues of particular interest and relevance for the Pacific region including the climate crisis, protecting the oceans, nuclear abolition and advancing the principles of trusteeship to protect the global commons for future generations.

March 1: Nuclear Victims Remembrance Day

Piango / Pacific Islands Association of Nongovernmental Organizations

March 1 is Nuclear Victims Remembrance Day in the Marshall Islands, which is a national holiday there. This day commemorates the victims and survivors of nuclear testing done in the area in the 1950s.

PIANGO stands in solidarity with its member the Marshall Islands Council of NGOs and the people of the Republic of Marshall Islands to remind the world that the Marshall Islands were the ground for the U.S. nuclear testing for over a decade. From 1946 to 1958 the USA tested 67 nuclear weapons there.

It was considered, that the Marshall Islands were one of the most contaminated places in the world, that is why the islanders suffered the testing.

Also known as ‘Bikini Day’ the most destructive nuclear testing was held on Bikini Atolls. Early in the morning on March 1, 1954, the hydrogen bomb, code named Bravo, was detonated on the surface of the reef in the northwestern corner of Bikini Atoll. The area was illuminated by a huge and expanding flash of blinding light.A raging fireball of intense heat that measured into the millions of degrees shot skyward at a rate of 300 miles an hour.

Within minutes. the monstrous cloud, filled with nuclear debris, shot up more than 20 miles and generated winds hundreds of miles per hour. These fiery gusts blasted the surrounding islands and stripped the branches and coconuts from the trees.

It is reported that Bravo was a thousand times more powerful than the atomic bombs that were dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima during the end of World War II. Its “success” was beyond the wildest dreams of the American scientists who were involved in the detonation–they thought that the blast would only carry a payload of approximately 3 megatons.

A fallout of the bomb fell on the residents of Utirik and Rongelap atolls and spread around the world. The islanders were evacuated only three days later after the testing, that is why many of them suffered radiation sickness.

Today the claims between the USA and the Islands are ongoing. Thyroid cancer was a primary outcome of fallout exposure and many other types of cancer and ill health believed to be caused by the radiation exposure.

In 1983, the U.S. provided $150 million as a financial settlement for the damages caused by the nuclear testing program. That money was used to create a fund intended to generate $270 million for distribution over a 15-year period. These funds were distributed among the peoples of Bikini, Enewetak, Rongelap, Utrik, for medical and radiological monitoring, and for the payment of individual claims.

Twenty-three years later (in 2006), the Claims Tribunal wrote: “…it has become clear that the original terms of the settlement agreement are…inadequate.”

PIANGO Executive Director said, “Monetary compensation programs are sometimes used to offset displacements, lifestyle changes and individual burdens, and the occurrence of specific diseases.   The Marshall Islands experience has indicated that financial compensation is not a panacea and as time goes by, the original financial awards are often judged to be inadequate by those who received it.  “

The Marshall Islands Council of NGOs (MICNGOs) are at the forefront of the campaign to not let the world forget the suffering that is still felt. MICNGOs President, Alson Kelen said “60 years since nuclear testing ended has not resulted in resolution of all problems associated with exposures of the public. Our people are still suffering and the full societal impact is still unfolding. “

March 1 is also World Futures Day

Join the 10th anniversary of the 24-Hour Round-the-World Conversation to Celebrate World Futures Day, hosted by the Millennium Project!

Beginning March 1 in New Zealand at 12 noon, the open conversation on how to build a better future will move west each hour. Anyone can join in at 12 noon their time or any other time that is convenient, and join futurists and others to explore possibilities for our common future.

“Anybody can pull up a cyber-chair at this global table and join the discussion on ZOOM at WorldFuturesDay2023 says Jerome Glenn, CEO of The Millennium Project. “Whatever time-zone you are in, you are invited at 12:00 noon in your time zone. People drop in and out as they like. If people can’t come online at 12 noon, they are welcome to come online before or after that time as well.
For more information, see World Futures Day round-the-world conversation.