2002 World Conference against A & H Bombs
Assistant Director - Demilitarization
Pacific Concerns Resource Centre (PCRC)
SOLIDARITY FOR A PEACEFUL WORLD WITHOUT WAR & NUCLEAR WEAPONS
Greetings Nagasaki from the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Movement. I stand in humility before all Hibakushas and their families, and from my heart, share with you the unspeakable horror and pain that humanity inflicted upon itself on this date, 57 years ago. I come from Fiji in the Pacific- so-named by Captain Cook because of its tranquility and calm waters. The last century and the turn of the new century has been turbulent. I am reminded of Dr Martin Luther Kingfs words, eOur scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We now have guided missiles and misguided menf.
During the war our islands, oceans and airspace were used as a battleground by the allied forces. These same powers have used our islands, waters and air as a nuclear playground. France tested its nuclear bombs on French Polynesia, Britain on Christmas, Malden Islands and the Australian deserts, while the US tested its most powerful bomb on Bikini atoll, dumped surplus nuclear weapons & wasters from the cold war on Johnston Island, retained its missile range site from Kwajalein atoll. Pacific islanders who took part as guinea pigs in these operations are now crying out for compensation for diseases they now suffer as a result of exposure to radiation fall-out. A current threat is the use of our waters as a nuclear superhighway to transport plutonium MOX for Japanfs nuclear reactors from Europe.
My organization has been struggling for a Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific for over 25 years now. We realize that we can not be nuclear-free as long as we are not free from political interference, economic bribery, hunger, fear, and military bases.
I wish to end by sharing a very personal experience that I have not had the courage to share publicly before. I was a former Member of Parliament in Fiji. On the morning of May 19th 2000,as we were debating the Social Justice bill, six gunmen entered the Parliament and took the Government hostage. We remained on the brink of death, with guns pointed at us throughout the ordeal. I was released after 10 days. The experience left me very angry but I now realize that my ordeal was very minor compared to the lesson of the Hibakushas. There is no time to be bitter or angry- only to rechannel our energy towards a peaceful tomorrow, so we can leave the world a better place for our children.