60th Anniversary of Bravo Hydrogen Bomb Test Commemorated by the People of Bikini Atoll
Remarks of Hinton Johnson, Clerk of the KBE Local Government Council, on March 1, 2014 during the commemoration ceremony of the 60th Anniversary of the March 1, 1954, 15 megaton Bravo hydrogen bomb blast on Bikini Atoll, the largest weapon ever tested by the United States:
Today marks the 60th Anniversary of the first testing of Bravo Hydrogen Bomb, which was detonated on Bikini Atoll on March 1, 1954. Bravo was a thousand times more powerful than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Today also marks 68 years since the people of Bikini Atoll went into exile from their homeland. The history of the testing program as well as Castle Bravo is a history that has been told many times. However, today I want to tell that story again for the generations to come, especially for today’s young Bikinians.
The nuclear legacy of the Bikinian people started on March 7, 1946, which was the time when the US Government moved the Bikinians from their homeland and told them that they would be using Bikini Atoll to test bombs for a short period of time, or temporarily… We can say today that “temporarily” is now 68 years long. King Juda said the Bikinians would be willing to go with the belief that “Everything is in God’s hands.” The US relocated the people of Bikini–167 of us–to Rongerik Atoll and then left us there and forgot about us for two long years. During that time of our exile we endured a devastating period of starvation.
I am sad to say that during that time the people of Bikini became malnourished and one of our elderly mothers of our community passed away as a direct result of lack of nutrition. After two long years of experiencing hardship on Rongerik Atoll, the people of Bikini were again relocated to Kwajalein Atoll. Six months passed as the Bikinians then remained confused as to where they were supposed to go. The US finally relocated them to a small island called Kili, a single, solitary island. Kili is an island where surf breaks on both sides, where life is hard. I am sad to say that many of our young sons have lost their lives as a result of drowning, unloading their goods from the ships, or while fishing to provide daily food for their families.
After their arrival on Kili Island this this was not the end of their struggle. Several years later, US President Lyndon B Johnson declared that it was safe for the people of Bikini to return to their homeland. But soon after some of the Bikinians returned, it was clear that the people of Bikini Atoll who returned had high levels of radiation in their bodies. Therefore, it was necessary to again move the people of Bikini away from their homeland.
From time to time, Bikinians have asked themselves, When will we return to our homeland? The previous generation answered themselves saying NEVER. The generation today is saying THEY DON’T KNOW and maybe the next generation will say MAYBE.
Under the first Compact of Free Association between the US Government and the RMI Government, they agreed under Section 177 that $75 million will go to the people of Bikini Atoll and that the money will be distributed in two parts every quarter. During these 15 years half of that money was put into a trust fund known as the Bikini Claims Trust Fund for the people of Bikini Atoll, while the other half of the money was equally distributed among the people of Bikini Atoll.
The people of Bikini and their leadership did not agree to this amount because they realized that it was not sufficient and not right. The amount given under the Compact was not based on scientific studies, so the people of Bikini knew that it was just a “political number.”
Today the money in the Trust Fund pays out to every Bikinian $46 for one month or $1.50 per day.
The USDA food Program distributes food every quarter to the people of Bikini Atoll: One bag of rice for every 2 people and one case of chicken quarter leg for every 8 people. Also under the first Compact we learned of a new term called the Espousal Clause. From from time to time we hear our leaders trying to explain what these words mean. Some say it washes the hands of the American people and their Government from all property damage and personal injuries as result of the nuclear testing program conducted in the Marshall Islands because it prevents the Marshallese people and their Government from suing the US Government in any US court.
At the end of the first Compact agreement it provided that the Government of the Marshall Islands may ask for more compensation based on any new findings arising as a result of the nuclear testing program conducted in the Marshalls and Bikini Atoll. This clause was known as the “CCP” or the “Changed Circumstances Petition.” The people of Bikini’s award from the Nuclear Claims Tribunal is over $560 million and should be paid as compensation to the people of Bikini Atoll.
Today we all understand that the money that given to the Nuclear Claims Tribunal is depleted and can no longer pay out any compensation. Regardless, the people of Bikini Atoll and their local government continue to ask the governments of RMI and the US to kindly make these funds available to the people of Bikini Atoll as it is just and right according to the immense level of hardship they have endured since they left their homeland. Until now they still remain in exile from their motherland.
I want to let each and every one of us who are here to know that from the 167 people of Bikini who left their homeland only a few are living among us today. The people of Bikini, along with the RMI Government, continue to ask the US Government to please “unlock the CCP door” so that fair compensation can be given to the people of Bikini Atoll and their local government as a result of the bomb tests conducted on Bikini Atoll on this the 60th Anniversary of the powerful Bravo bomb.
I want to end my brief remarks and humbly ask the pastors of each religious denomination here today to pray and ask Our Heavenly Father for His blessings and His protection for our community and the people of Bikini Atoll as they don’t know when the end of their road is. I will again quote the words of King Juda who said, “Everything is in God’s hands.”
Rainin ej mark a im kokaleik 60 iio ritto in Bravo Hydrogen Bomb eo jinoin tata im ear edeboklok ilo ailinin Bikini ilo March 1 ran eo ilo 1954 , eo im ej thousand alen an kajour lok jen Bomb ko rar wotlok ilo Hiroshima im Nagasaki. Rainin ej bar einwot mark a ak kokaleiki 68 iio in an armij in Bikini exile ak jojolar jen kabijuknen im lemoren eo aer, bwebwenato in test bomb ak kokemelmel bomb ko ilo Bikini ekoba bomb eo je na etan Castle Bravo, emaron in juon bwebwenato eo ekadik melij im melele ad woj jela kake. Ijowot ke rainin ikonan bar juon alen aliji ilo ien in nan ebeben ko tok ilal elab tata, nan ro rej diktakin armij in Bikini rainin. The Nuclear legacy of the bikinian ear ijino ilo March in 1946, ilo tore eo k kien eo an U.S. ear komkut armij in Bikini jen aelon eo aer, ilo aer kar jiron lok er ke rej kejerbal ailin in Bikini nan aer kokemelmel bomb ak test bomb ilo juon tore eo ekadu ak temporarily, jemaron in ba rainin ke temporarily in kio ej 68 iio aetokan, ijoke ilo tore eo King Juda ear ba, kin tomak in ke ” Men Otemjej Rej Ilo Bein Anij”, rar komakut armij in Bikini rein 167 em boklok er nan ailin in Rongrik im dor er em meloklok er iumin 2 iio ko, tore eo rar iion kole eo elap tata ilo bwebwenato in jojoler eo aer, ibiromoj in ba ke ilo tore eo ear kanuj in jabwe on ilo anbwiner, im bareinwot juon ian lelab ro jinen jukjuk im bad eo aer ilo tore eo ear emakut jen mour in itok wot jen wewein ear walok. Elkin 2 iio in entan ko ilo Rongrik, rar komakut er nan ailin in Kwajlein, elkin 6 allon ko ion Kwajlein Atoll, rar kanouj in tarbok kin ia eo rej jibadok lok, ilo aer kar kanouj in jab melele, ijoke kien eo an U.S. ear bar komakut er lok nan ijo rej bad ie rainin, juon aelon jidikdik eo jej na etan Kili Island, eo im ejelok aeto in ak ene ko redik, eo im jen ien nan ien ej rub no ko rej jebol, im ej bareinwot juon aelon eo ejelok lik im iar, mour eo ie ekanouj in ben, ibiromoj in ba bwe elon likao ro eman detaier nejij jukjuk im bad in an armij in Bikini ion Kili emoj aer emakut jen mour in ilo kilan malon ak drawn, ilo aer kajieon akuti men ko mwier jen Tima ko, im bareinwot ilo aer kajeon eonod ek nan aer maron najidik bamle ko aer ilo kajojo ran, ijoke ear jab jemlok in ial in ilo tore eo ke rar tokekak lok ilo Kili Island, jet iio tokelik juon ian President ro an America, President Lyndon B. Johnson ear kean ke Bikini eman ak a safe nan joke, im armij in Bikini romaron in bar rol im joke ie, ijoke iumin wot juon tore eo ekadu rar lo ke armij rein rar jeblak nan ailin in Bikini elab level in baijin eo ilo anbwinier, kin menin rar bar aikuj in bar komakut er jen kabijukinen im lemoren in aer, jen ien nan ien armij in Bikini rej kajitikini er make, nat in jenaj rol nan kabijukinen im lemoren eo ad?, ebeben ko lok iman rar uak a er make em ba NEVER, ebeben eo rainin ej uak im ba DON’T KNOW im ebeben ko tokelik remaron in naj uak im ba MAYBE, ilo Compact in Free Associations eo kein kajuon ikotan kien eo an U.S. im Republic eo an Marshall Islands, rar erra iumin Section 177 eo bwe, tarin in $75 million tala en etal nan armij in Bikini,im bwe money in en ajej ilo juon formula eo me ej ajej ilo ruo motan ko ilo kajojo quarter, elkin 15 iio ko, jimetanin money in ear etal nan juon Trust Fund eo im na etan Claim Trust Fund for the people of Bikini, im jimetan eo juon ear wotbar nan kajojo armij , mekarta ilo tore eo armij in Bikini im ri tel ro aer rar jab erra ilo detan in, einwot aer kar make kile ke detan in ej juon detan eo ejabwe ak ejab jimwe, konke detan in rar jab bedbede ion jet ekatak ko, ak rej watok detan in bwe ear juon Political nemba,rainin money in iloTrust Fund in, aorok in kio nan kajojo armej ej $46 tala juon armej ilo juon alon, ak $1.50 cent ilo juon ran. USDA Food Program eo ej bareinwot ajej kajojo quarter nan armij in Bikini, ej etal ilo detan in 2 armij 1 bag in rice, Im 8 armij 1 case in qtr leg. Eja ilo Compact 1 wot ebar itok juon naan eo jej ba Espousal Clause, eo im jen ien nan ien jej ronjake an ri tol ro ad kajieon komeleleiki ta melelein, jet rej ba nan kojemlok im kol lok bein armij in America im kien eo aer jen aolep joran ko rar walok ilo aelon kein ikijen Nuclear bomb ko rar test ilo aelen kein, ak jet rej ba nan bobrae an armij in Marshall im kien eo aer lieakelok kien eo an U.S. ilo jabdewot Court ko ilo U.S. im ilo Marshall in bareinwot. Eja ilo Compact 1 wot ilo an bar kalok bwe, elane enaj jemlok, eokwe inem kien eo an Marshall emaron in bar rol lok kin jabdewot likijab im wewen ko rekel ikijen kar kokmelme in bomb ko ilo Marshall in ekoba Bikini Atoll. Wewen in ej wewen eo jej na etan CCP ak Change Circumstances Petition. Iumi Award ko an armij in Bikini ilo Nuclear Claim tribunal eo ear alikar ke eor tarinin $560 jima million rej aikuj in kar kolla iki nan armij in Bikini,bedbed ion jet ekatak ko romol, elkin an kar jet scientise ro katatk kaki im kamoli, rainin joj kanouj in melele ke Nuclear Claim Tribunal eo emoj an ejjelok koban, mekar ta wewe in ak armij in Bikini im kien eo aer rej kajitok iban kien eo an Marshall Islands im Kien eo an U.S. bwe komin joij im na mejlan money kein im litok nan armij in Bikini bwe ejmwe im jejet im ekar nan jonan joran ko rar iioni jen tore eo rar diwojlok jen aelon eo aer nan tore in rej bad wot im jojolar jen kabijukiinen im lemoren eo aer, ikonan kalok nan koj woj kajojo ilo ien in ke ibwilijin 167 armij in Bikini ro rar diwoj tok jen aelon eo aer, eiet lok jen 10 iaer ro rej bad im mour raninin, Armij in bikini rej bar einwot kajitok ilo aer koba lok iban kien eo an Marshall Islands, im kajitok lok iban kien eo an U.S. bwe en joij im unlock the CCP door, bwe onen ko rejejjet im jimwe ren etal nan armij im Bikini im kien eo aer ikijen Kokomelel in bomb ko Kein eo an America ear komani ilo ailon in Bikini 60 iio ko rej motlok, einwot ad ba rainin, 60th annivresery in bomb eo ekajur tata na etan Bravo. Ikonan kojemlok naan jidik in ao ilo ien in im kajitok iban ri kaki ro kajojo an Eklisha ko kajojo ekoba koj woj jimor bwe, jen jar im kajitok iban Anij lablab jemed woj ilan kin kojerman im kojbarok eo an nan jukjuk im bad eo an armij in Bikini ilo aer jaje jemlok in ial in. inaj bar code e nan eo an King Juda ke ear ba,” Men Otmejej Rej Ilo Bein Anij.”