My children will continue to fight and protect our islands says Pacific activist

My children will continue to fight and protect our islands says Pacific activist
From left, Bulou Alanieta Vereivalu Uluitavuki Wavu, a passionate climate justice advocate - Bedi Racule, former president of MISA4thePacific - Talei Mangioni, a Pacific Studies lecturer and PhD candidate at the School of Culture, History and Language at the Australian National University

From left, Bulou Alanieta Vereivalu Uluitavuki Wavu, a passionate climate justice advocate – Bedi Racule, former president of MISA4thePacific – Talei Mangioni, a Pacific Studies lecturer and PhD candidate at the School of Culture, History and Language at the Australian National University.
Photo: Supplied/Yuki Wada

Calls for a nuclear free and an independent Pacific have been made loud and clear at the ‘Nuclear Connections Across Oceania’ conference in Dunedin in New Zealand.

“Be unafraid, be powerful, we have everything to fight for and nothing to lose,” Sina Brown-Davis, commentator on Indigenous rights said.

Brown-Davis – who is of Ula Samoa and Vava’u Tongan descent – is one of the long-time activists who is speaking at the event, she said it gives her so much heart to see the next generation speaking up.

Bedi Racule is part of the next generation of activists continuing to raise awareness for nuclear issues.

“My children will continue to fight and protect our Islands. I want to see more young people rising up and continuing this fight,” Racule said.

She is the former president of MISA4thePacific, a youth-led grassroots movement to raise awareness for nuclear issues and the safeguarding of oceans.

From left, Sina Brown-Davis, a long-time activist and commentator on Indigenous rights at local, regional and international forums - Hinamoeura Cross, leukemia survivor and anti-nuclear advocate.

From left, Sina Brown-Davis, a long-time activist and commentator on Indigenous rights at local, regional and international forums – Hinamoeura Cross, leukemia survivor and anti-nuclear advocate.
Photo: Supplied/Yuki Wada

The impacts from the detonation of 67 known nuclear weapons by the United States in the Marshall Islands are ongoing, Racule said.

“There is evidence that people were being exposed to radiation on purpose on Rongelap Atoll.

“In the Marshall Islands, cancer and birth defects are still around and there are no facilities for people to get treatment,” she said.

‘I have poison in my blood’

A Mā’ohi anti-nuclear activist in Tahiti Nui has renewed calls for recognition of the intergenerational harm inflicted on Mā’ohi following nuclear testing in the Pacific by France between 1966 and 1996.

“We are asking for recognition for truth and help from the international community to condemn and to force France to pay for what they did and help us,” Hinamoeura Cross said.

Leukemia survivor and anti-nuclear advocate Hinamoeura Cross is speaking at the event. Her family has been affected by thyroid cancer following French nuclear testing.

“We have had sick children for many generations, I really feel that I have poison in my blood, I am afraid for the next generation,” Cross said.

‘Long way to go’

The speakers, from across the Pacific and Japan, are set to critically discuss the Japanese government’s plans to dump wastewater from Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific, beginning in early 2023.

At the two day event a statement of solidarity against TEPCO’s wastewater discharge at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is to be drafted.

Canberra-based Free West Papua activist and musician Ronny Kareni is at the event.

“The war, the conflicts, colonisation comes at the expense of indigenous people in the Pacific,” he said.

From left Eroni Donumaitoga Wavu, Ronny Ato Buai Kareni

From left Eroni Donumaitoga Wavu, Ronny Ato Buai Kareni
Photo: Supplied/Yuki Wada

Kareni stands firmly against the plannned moved by TEPCO.

“There is a strong movement through activist groups…there is that slogan, if it is not safe to dump in New York or Japan then why in this region?” he said.

Kareni believes it is now up to world leaders to stand up for the Pacific too.

“The call for Jacinda Ardern is to really hear the voice of the people that she represents… It is time to listen to those who have concerns around nuclear dumping. To stand up and say no, this is the time. Jacinda Ardern needs to say no. It requires a revolutionary strategy from the government itself to take a stance,” Kareni said.

“It is surreal to come and see some of the seniors, it is very heartening, motivating and grounding to hear from those who have gone before,” Kareni said.

It is also a reminder that “there is still a long way to go”, he said.

Distinguished guests and speakers at the conference include: Hilda Halkyard-Harawira, Sina Brown-Davis, Ronny Ato Buai Kareni, Reiko Tashiro, Revd Dr Wayne Te Kaawa, Ariana Tibon Kilma, Bedi Racule, Alayna Ynacay-Nye, Bulou Alanieta Vereivalu Uluitavuki Wavu, Eroni Donumaitoga Wavu, Steve Abel, Tomoki Fukui, Toshiko Tanaka, Yumi Chiba, Wayne Kijner, Sylvia Frain, Talei Mangioni, Duncan Currie, Edwina Hughes, Emily Simmonds, Futoshi Aizawa, Georgina Oroi, Joey Tau, Joy Lehuanani Enomoto, Karly Burch, Katherine Aigner, KDee Aimiti Ma’ia’i, Lisa Villamu Jameson, Marco de Jong, Matt Fuller, Sonja Mueller, Mere Tuilau, Miku Narisawa, Mino Cleverley, Olivia Shimasaki and Hinamoeura Cross.

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