70 YEARS ON Fallout of America’s bomb in the Pacific remains

WHEN Barrack Obama stood in the centre of Hiroshima, Japan, in May, the moment was hailed as a moment in history.

The global media extolled the event as recognition of how never again must the world reach a situation when mass destruction is brought to bear on the citizens of this planet. Commentators spoke of the need for acceptance and the absence of an apology from Obama to the people of what is now one of the United States greatest allies.

The New York Times quoted Japanese college student Rio Monzen whose grandfather was a bomb survivor. “He always kept saying, ‘I hate that the United States has done such an awful thing,’ ” Monzen told the New York Times. Monzen was disappointed the president did not offer an apology for the bombing but that he was still grateful for the visit. “I hope that sometime in the future, they will start to realise that this was not the right thing,” he said.

While the world focussed on Hiroshima and the great injustice inflicted on the people of that city, less than 4000 kilometres away, the people of the tiny Pacific atoll of Bikini continue to seek justice.

This was Ground Zero for United States nuclear testing from 1946 to 1958. Records show that the US detonated 23 nuclear devices at seven sites located on the reef, inside the atoll, in the air, or underwater in those 12 years. They had a combined fission yield of 42.2 Mega-tonnes as part of Operation Crossroads. 

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