Tony de Brum 1945-2017
... He was a giant of history, a legend in every meaning of the word ...
AT the age of nine, Tony de Brum was fishing at sea with his grandfather when he witnessed an explosion which was the evidence of the Bravo Shot – a thermonuclear test by the United States in the Bikini Atoll.
He would later see first-hand the devastation, grief and human suffering caused by that test and man-made destruction on the environment and to human life. Born in the Ellis Islands – what is now the independent nation of Tuvalu – de Brum would later move home to the Marshall Islands and witness the destruction caused by nature through climate change.
But even climate change, he came to realise, was in essence a manifestation of human greed, lack of responsibility and absence of justice. Perhaps these two key events propelled de Brum to become a fierce advocate for the rights of Pacific islanders from the smaller states and a clarion for the region at international fora.
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