Monday, April 29, 2013

Marshall Islander Darlene Keju's Historic Call for a Nuclear-free Pacific & World

In a speech to the World Council of Churches on April 29, 1983, Marshall Islander Darlene Keju described the human consequences of the US nuclear test bombings of the Marshall Islands:
When the US tells us, they are there to protect us, we turn around and ask them, "Protect us from whom? We have no enemies. In fact, our Marshallese does not have a word for 'enemy'.

The Marshallese are dying now...I, too, have 3 tumors in me...And I'm frightened. I don't know whether I should have children or not because I don't know whether I'll have a child which is like a jellyfish baby. I don't know whether I'll have a child which has 6 fingers. A child that has horns on his head.

"We don't know what is going on. All we know is that we must travel throughout the world and share this experience from the bombs so we stop this before it gets to you. Remember, we are the victims of the nuclear age. Don't become a victim."
Darlene's speech motivated establishment of networks of faith-based, nuclear-free, and environmentalist groups in Europe to focus on issues in the Pacific. She received a master's degree in public health and founded Youth to Youth, then was diagnosed with cancer in 1991, which caused her death in 1996, at the age of 45.

You can learn more about why Darlene was speaking at the WCC Assembly in 1983 in the soon-to-be published biography, DON'T EVER WHISPER, by Giff Johnson, which will be released in the summer of 2013.


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