by Roland Oldham, Moruroa e Tatou, Tahiti
The nuclear bomb is a weapon of crime and mass destruction.
We should all be well aware of the examples of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where the consequences still today have effects across generations.
Like those in other places, nuclear tests in the Pacific by France, America and Britain were a crime towards indigenous people, and the defenceless people of the Pacific. It is a racist crime—nuclear racism. This destroyed and contaminated their environment, the natural resources that they depend on to live. The damages are irreversible.
Look at Moruroa for example—137 nuclear blasts underneath the coral atoll have severely fractured the atoll which is sinking down into the rising ocean, leaking radioactive gases and plutonium into the sea, risking disastrous damage for marine life. French authorities have assessed that there is a danger of a landslide of 670 million cubic meters of rock at Moruroa, creating a 15-20 meter tsunami.
The responsible governments used the Pacific as a dumping ground for nuclear waste—in the Marshall Islands, Moruroa, Fangataufa, Christmas Island, and elsewhere. Plutonium is in the lagoon of Moruroa and leaking from the 147 underground test explosion holes in Moruroa and Fangataufa. Not to mention the widespread radioactive fallout from atmospheric nuclear explosions.
There are thousands, millions of victims out there around the world—former test and weapons production site workers, military staff, civilians; women and children. They are invisible. They are voiceless. They have cancers: leukemia, thyroid, others…. Women in French Polynesia now have the highest rates of thyroid cancer and myeloid leukemia in the world. Their children through many generations will be affected by genetic mutations and damage.
It is a poisonous heritage that is left to humanity and future generations.
It is a crime against humanity.
I don’t see much of the word “crime” in the ban treaty: crime against our planet, crime against our environment, crime against humanity. The aim of the treaty is to stop all these crimes.
Why is there no word about these crimes.
Is there pressure from somewhere? Is there censorship?
Have we lost our morality?
But as victims we are not begging for favour, we are just standing up for our rights and our dignity.
There exists an obligation for the nuclear-armed states to compensate their victims, and to make reparation for the damage done to the environment.
There must be no more mushroom clouds producing untold numbers of new victims.
Roland Oldham, the head of the nuclear test veterans organization Mururoa e tatou, addressed the UN conference to negotiate the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on 21 June. The above piece is based upon his remarks, which he delivered in French on behalf of IPPNW and ICAN Australia.