Nuclear Victim’s Day 2018

What looks like a regular lagoon in the photo above is actually a crater created by the Bravo bomb. And the tiny speck of a canoe is where our crew was seated, looking out at a brilliant blue that was once the site of the largest nuclear blast ever detonated in the world.

This was the last stop of our journey before we returned home to Majuro. It must seem counterintuitive, to start this journey of the #domepoem with our last stop. But I find it fitting on this day, March 1, a day known as Nuclear Victim’s Remembrance Day in the Marshall Islands, to reflect on this visit. Our government chose this date specifically because it coincided with the detonation of Bravo, the largest of 67 nuclear weapons detonated in our islands.

Initially, we weren’t sure we could fit in the visit…we’d heard of the Bravo bomb site but knew it was 3 hours away from the main island of Bikini, where we’d spent the previous night. We weren’t sure there’d be time...we needed to get back to Majuro by the 25th. We debated it as a team. “It’ll just look like regular open water. We won’t be able to see anything without a drone,” one of our team members said.

In the end we decided to go anyways. We sailed from the main atoll of Bikini past the various islets…a smooth ride since we were still in the lagoon - no large waves like on our way to Enewetak. We talked about what we’d do once we got there. Should there be a ceremony? A prayer perhaps? A poem? I had nothing prepared for the moment…I didn’t know we would be stopping there, hadn’t given myself any time to reflect on what it would mean to visit this site that was the source of so much pain and legacies of trauma.

We ended up not performing any ritual because of a decision made by our ri-Bikini team member Edward Maddison. As our elder, and as the only ri-Bikini on the canoe, we listened and respected his wishes.

After taking a wrong turn, we finally ended up at the site. In front of us was a burned out bunker, and to the side was an islet that looked as if it was missing a limb – it had been partially vaporized by the blast. There was greenery, but the island looked stunted with only shrubs and no coconut trees, or any other large trees. We were told there used to be another island next to it. But it had been completely vaporized.

Edward told me later that these two islands were once the “pantry” of a ri-Bikini Irooj or chief. This meant that they were islands reserved for food for the community. There was more rainfall there so it was lush and plentiful with food. Whenever supplies ran low on the main island that housed most of the ancient Bikinian community, they would sail to these islands for further provisions. These were also the sites of massive breadfruit trees that supplied most of the materials to build their walaps – their large canoes that ri-Bikini and ri-Enewetak were known for.

I haven’t quite grasped what it means to have sat in a canoe 64 years after a bomb blast that incinerated a once existing, thriving island that would have provided materials for ancient canoes.

We sat quietly and waited while the drone took the photo, each lost in our own thought. I had no words to say, nothing poetic came. What I had was a headache. I climbed down into the hull where my bed was and immediately fell asleep.

When we finally reached Majuro, one of the first things I learned was the Limeyo Abon had passed away. Limeyo was 14 years old, and living on Rongelap Atoll the day that the Bravo bomb exploded in Bikini, and radioactive ash was picked up by a tradewind and rained down on her island of Rongelap, onto her family and community. She spent the rest of her life speaking out on the nuclear legacy, traveling the world to tell her story – reliving the day of her trauma, over and over. She did all this as a school teacher, while raising 9 children, 40 grandchildren, and 39 great grandchildren. “What’s important is a place to call home, a place to live freely,” she said in December to Japan Times. “The identity of a Marshallese is gone when you’re moved to another place. In a way, it took away our identity, and that’s what bothers me most.” I had only met her twice…I deeply regret not making time to get know her better.

After I flew out of the Marshalls, on March 1st, only four days after we’d arrived on the canoe, I learned through fb that Bill Graham had passed away, the former Marshall Islands Nuclear Claims Tribunal Advocate. Limeyo's family buried her on March 1, and the same day Bill Graham passed away. The fact that he and Limeyo passed away within the week of Nuclear Victim’s Remembrance Day is almost too poetic. Bill was kind and generous with his time, and always sharp and fierce when it came to nuclear issues. He was a walking encyclopedia of nuclear legacy knowledge. I had just skyped with him in January, before leaving to Enewetak, to get his thoughts on our project for the dome poem. I had just sent him an email 2 days before he passed, asking if we could meet and share the results of our project with him. I hadn’t heard from him – assumed he was busy.

As I’m sitting here now, I’m wondering how this is all connected – Nuclear Victim’s Day, the Bravo blast, sitting in that canoe in an empty lagoon, the obliterated island, the stunted island, the burnt trees that once fed our ancestors and built canoes, and the deaths of two legacies of nuclear activism. And as usual, I write to understand.

Of Islands and Elders

What happens when islands

that nourished us with the wisdom of their bodies

become barren

amputated -

do they mourn the unfurling greenery

of canoes never birthed?

What happens when islands

are massacred

murdered

and no one remembers

their names?

Do we trick ourselves into believing

they never

existed at all?

And how do we mourn elders

who were islands

lush with knowledge and story?

How do we move forward

without their guidance and wisdom

when we feel barren

amputated?

From inside the hulls

I hear this canoe moan

with sorrow

while waves wail all around me

in fury

Up above

the sails

beating against the wind

whisper

But look –

right there

There exists

still

some

green

Even after

a nuclear blast

life

continues to unfurl

its leaves

Share Post:

Tour phượng hoàng cổ trấn

10:36pm, 11/09/2018

Hi to all, as I am in fact keen of reading this weblog’s post to be updated daily.
It carries nice data.

nba jerseys

09:27am, 02/11/2019

I simply wanted to jot down a message to appreciate you for the fabulous tips and hints you are giving here. My particularly long internet search has at the end been paid with high-quality strategies to go over with my close friends. I would point out that most of us visitors actually are undeniably fortunate to dwell in a useful network with very many brilliant professionals with very helpful tricks. I feel very fortunate to have encountered your web site and look forward to some more pleasurable times reading here. Thank you once more for all the details.
nba jerseys nba jerseys

birkin bag

12:02pm, 02/12/2019

I and also my guys were found to be reviewing the good helpful hints on your web site then quickly came up with a terrible suspicion I had not expressed respect to the blog owner for those secrets. All of the women were definitely for this reason thrilled to read all of them and have now undoubtedly been tapping into these things. Appreciate your actually being quite thoughtful as well as for deciding upon this kind of helpful themes most people are really needing to understand about. My honest regret for not expressing gratitude to you earlier.
birkin bag birkin bag

jordan retro 6

04:26pm, 02/13/2019

I together with my pals appeared to be looking at the nice points on the website while then came up with a horrible feeling I never thanked the web site owner for those tips. Those guys were as a consequence passionate to study them and have sincerely been loving them. Thank you for truly being considerably considerate and also for making a choice on this kind of magnificent things most people are really eager to be informed on. Our own sincere apologies for not expressing appreciation to earlier.
jordan retro 6 jordan retro 6

yeezy boost 350

04:51pm, 02/14/2019

I simply wished to thank you so much once again. I do not know what I might have accomplished in the absence of the entire points contributed by you concerning this problem. It had become a challenging matter in my circumstances, nevertheless witnessing a new expert approach you solved the issue forced me to leap over happiness. I am just happy for your service and then hope that you know what a powerful job you are always getting into training the others via your blog post. I know that you have never met any of us.
yeezy boost 350 yeezy boost 350

outlet golden goose

04:29am, 02/15/2019

I’m also writing to make you understand of the beneficial experience our girl went through visiting your webblog. She figured out so many issues, with the inclusion of what it is like to possess a marvelous teaching nature to make other individuals just learn about chosen complicated subject areas. You undoubtedly did more than our desires. Thanks for supplying such interesting, safe, informative and fun guidance on your topic to Lizeth.
outlet golden goose outlet golden goose

yeezy boost 350 v2

09:59pm, 02/15/2019

I wish to point out my respect for your generosity for men and women that require assistance with the issue. Your real commitment to passing the message around became astonishingly practical and has regularly encouraged girls like me to reach their aims. Your amazing warm and helpful guidelines denotes this much to me and even more to my mates. Regards; from each one of us.
yeezy boost 350 v2 yeezy boost 350 v2

yeezy boost 350

06:56am, 02/16/2019

I as well as my buddies ended up checking the good guidelines found on your site and so at once I got a terrible feeling I had not expressed respect to you for those secrets. My young men are actually for that reason passionate to read through them and have in effect seriously been having fun with these things. Many thanks for actually being indeed considerate and for finding some cool ideas most people are really needing to be informed on. Our honest apologies for not expressing appreciation to you earlier.
yeezy boost 350 yeezy boost 350

goyard wallet

08:30am, 02/17/2019

I simply had to say thanks again. I am not sure the things I would’ve gone through without the tips revealed by you relating to such a subject. It previously was the hard circumstance in my circumstances, but taking a look at a skilled approach you solved it forced me to weep over fulfillment. Extremely happier for this work and wish you really know what a powerful job you’re providing training many people through the use of your blog. I am sure you’ve never come across all of us.
goyard wallet goyard wallet

moncler jacket

09:35am, 02/18/2019

My wife and i have been excited when John managed to do his studies via the precious recommendations he was given from your blog. It is now and again perplexing just to possibly be giving out tactics which usually people today might have been trying to sell. Therefore we do understand we have the blog owner to give thanks to because of that. All of the explanations you made, the easy web site menu, the relationships you help engender - it’s most incredible, and it is aiding our son and the family reckon that the content is cool, which is certainly truly mandatory. Many thanks for the whole lot!
moncler jacket moncler jacket

coach outlet stores

10:10am, 02/19/2019

I simply needed to say thanks again. I’m not certain the things I would’ve achieved without the type of advice revealed by you relating to my theme. It became the challenging dilemma for me, nevertheless viewing the very specialized approach you handled it forced me to cry over gladness. I will be thankful for this service and believe you know what a powerful job you’re carrying out educating others through a blog. Probably you haven’t got to know all of us.
coach outlet stores coach outlet stores

golden goose sneakers

01:32pm, 02/21/2019

I needed to compose you a little word to say thanks yet again over the beautiful information you have discussed at this time. It’s so seriously generous with people like you to allow extensively precisely what most of us would’ve sold for an e book to make some dough on their own, most notably since you could have done it if you desired. Those tricks as well worked to become great way to know that many people have the identical eagerness like my personal own to find out good deal more when it comes to this condition. I am sure there are lots of more pleasurable instances in the future for those who browse through your site.
golden goose sneakers golden goose sneakers

yeezy boost 350

05:11pm, 02/21/2019

Thank you so much for giving everyone remarkably splendid possiblity to read critical reviews from here. It’s always so lovely and full of a good time for me and my office colleagues to search the blog more than 3 times in a week to find out the new issues you have got. And definitely, I am also at all times pleased for the breathtaking secrets you give. Certain 3 facts on this page are unequivocally the most suitable we have all ever had.
yeezy boost 350 yeezy boost 350

fitflops sale clearance

09:20pm, 02/22/2019

I wanted to create you that very little remark to help say thanks once again just for the great principles you have documented at this time. It’s so shockingly generous with people like you to offer publicly all that a few individuals might have marketed for an e book to make some dough for themselves, chiefly considering the fact that you might have done it if you decided. These solutions likewise worked to become a great way to know that someone else have the identical desire just like my personal own to figure out a great deal more with respect to this issue. I am certain there are some more fun situations ahead for folks who look into your website.
fitflops sale clearance fitflops sale clearance

ultra boost 3.0

06:42pm, 02/23/2019

I am only writing to make you understand of the incredible encounter my wife’s child enjoyed checking the blog. She came to understand so many pieces, which include what it’s like to have an incredible giving spirit to make others without problems know precisely specified hard to do matters. You actually did more than our expected results. Many thanks for giving those invaluable, trustworthy, explanatory and even unique tips on the topic to Lizeth.
ultra boost 3.0 ultra boost 3.0

kyrie 3

12:54am, 02/24/2019

I wanted to send you a bit of note to help say thanks over again on the extraordinary basics you have contributed on this site. This has been certainly pretty open-handed of people like you to present unreservedly just what a lot of folks might have distributed as an ebook to help with making some bucks for themselves, particularly given that you might well have tried it in case you wanted. Those smart ideas also worked as the fantastic way to be certain that some people have the identical desire similar to mine to find out somewhat more concerning this condition. I am sure there are numerous more fun situations in the future for individuals that looked at your website.
kyrie 3 kyrie 3

jordan retro 13

11:57pm, 02/24/2019

Thank you so much for giving everyone a very nice possiblity to read critical reviews from this blog. It is often very terrific plus packed with fun for me personally and my office peers to visit the blog really 3 times every week to read through the fresh secrets you have. Of course, I am also always happy with the unique ideas you give. Certain two ideas in this post are easily the most efficient I have ever had.
jordan retro 13 jordan retro 13

converse outlet

03:27am, 02/26/2019

Thank you so much for giving everyone an extraordinarily superb possiblity to read from here. It is usually very amazing and also full of fun for me personally and my office fellow workers to search your blog on the least 3 times in a week to study the fresh secrets you will have. Not to mention, I’m so at all times astounded with all the excellent methods you serve. Selected two ideas in this posting are undeniably the most impressive we’ve had.
converse outlet converse outlet

nike air max 2019

01:32am, 02/28/2019

I want to show thanks to this writer just for rescuing me from this trouble. Because of looking out throughout the search engines and obtaining basics that were not powerful, I believed my life was gone. Living minus the solutions to the difficulties you have sorted out as a result of this website is a crucial case, and the kind which might have adversely affected my career if I had not encountered the blog. Your personal capability and kindness in playing with all things was excellent. I’m not sure what I would’ve done if I hadn’t come upon such a solution like this. It’s possible to now relish my future. Thanks for your time very much for the expert and results-oriented guide. I won’t think twice to suggest your web blog to anybody who wants and needs guidance on this area.
nike air max 2019 nike air max 2019

nike air max 2018

01:06am, 03/01/2019

I precisely desired to thank you so much yet again. I am not sure the things that I would have accomplished in the absence of the recommendations documented by you over such a field. It became the fearsome scenario in my opinion, however , discovering your expert technique you dealt with the issue made me to leap over fulfillment. I’m just happy for your guidance and hope that you really know what a great job you have been getting into educating others through your web site. I am certain you have never come across all of us.
nike air max 2018 nike air max 2018


Dashboard Menu

  CREATE AN ENTRY   VIEW MY PROFILE   UPDATE MY PROFILE   LOG OUT