Next Tuesday, Delap Park will be the focus of Nuclear Victims Remembrance Day events.
The annual March 1 national holiday marks the day 68 years ago that the US military tested American’s largest hydrogen bomb — Bravo — at Bikini Atoll, irradiating thousands of Marshallese living downwind of the test site.
Next week’s event will kick off with an official ceremony at 10am at Delap Park. This is scheduled to feature a number of speakers, including US Ambassador Roxanne Cabral, Speaker Kenneth Kedi representing the four atolls, Nitijela Member Maynard Alfred representing the mid-range atolls, and President David Kabua.
Special songs will be offered by the KBE community and Oronia Kinono, former president of CMI’s Nuclear Club.
A student art seminar will be held all afternoon following the official ceremony, tentatively from 12noon to 5pm. For the art seminar, the National Nuclear Commission will be providing canvases/boards, paint, and utensils for the students. There will be a story session where the students will get a chance to learn about the nuclear legacy or ask questions and will then be given a prompt to express themselves through art.
The play The Declassified File will premiere at 7:30pm. The drama focuses on the chronology of events that determined the ill-fated Marshall Islands Nuclear Test Legacy and the Marshallese peoples’ plight for justice.
The Declassified File has been in preparation for the past several weeks with several dozen students and young people engaged in developing the drama. It aims to provide an overview and understanding of the hardships that the displaced communities experienced from the US nuclear weapons testing at Bikini and Enewetak.
It will offer a look into the little known “Project 4.1” by providing Marshallese experiences as test subjects who were monitored for the sole purpose of the “Study of Response of Human Beings Exposed to Significant Fallout Radiation.”
It also zeroes in on little known details from the negotiations of the first Compact and the information that were withheld from the Marshallese negotiators (and not released until the mid-1990s.).
The play also hopes to initiate dialogue among the community about health risks associated with this history and inspire actions towards nuclear justice for the Marshall Islands, according to the organizers of the March 1 event at Delap Park.