Thursday, September 16, 2010
Hiroshima Hell and Historic Bikini
This morning I came across an article from In These Times posted on the blog Kith and Koko, about how the Bikini Atoll is going to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its complex historical significance in helping create the "nuclear age" we now live in. It discuss some of the ways in which people in the Marshall Islands live in their own never-ending war, and how the hell of radiation and nuclear weapons have been brought down upon their own lives, bodies and lands.
The drawings and paintings included in this post are some of the ones I've done recently while I've had mushroom clouds on my mind.
September 15, 2010
Bikini’s Tragic Heritage
The world’s most atomic atoll is recognized by the UN.
By Peter Cohen
In These Times
In dubious honor of its unique role in 20th century history, on August 1 UNESCO declared the Bikini Atoll Nuclear Test Site a “World Heritage” site. Both beautiful and historically significant, the atoll — part of the Marshall Islands archipelago in the North Pacific Ocean — was named a heritage cultural site “for the role that tests of atomic weapons at Bikini played in shaping global culture in the second half of the 20th Century.”
It was the first time the UN’s Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization has so honored the Marshall Islands. But Bikini’s new title is likely small comfort for Marshall islanders affected by the testing, including the small surviving Bikinian community, which voluntarily left its home in 1946 after being told by a U.S. military governor that nuclear testing there would contribute to world peace.
The UN declared the Marshall Islands a trust of the United States in 1947, a move “intended to promote the welfare of the native inhabitants and to advance them toward self government.” But even before trusteeship, the United States began to use the Marshall Islands as a proving ground for nuclear weapons. From June 1946 to August 1958, 67 nuclear tests were conducted there.
“The most common birth defects … have been ‘jellyfish’ babies. These babies are born with no bones in their bodies and with transparent skin,” she continued. “Many women die from abnormal pregnancies, and those who survive give birth to what looks like purple grapes, which we quickly hide away and bury.”