Why a royal princess from the Pacific is living in Arkansas


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Pacific Media Watch

The US tested 67 nuclear weapons on the Marshall Islands, tricking the people who lived on Bikini Atoll to leave their homeland “for the good of all mankind,” reports Al Jazeera.

But the Bikini Islanders didn’t know the US would contaminate their island and make it uninhabitable.

Now nearly 70 years later, many Marshall Islanders have moved to Springdale, Arkansas, nearly 600 miles (965 km) from the nearest ocean.

But as many Marshall Islanders build new lives there, they know Arkansas is not their permanent home, and their nuclear legacy is something both Americans and the next generation of Marshall Islanders need to remember.

The US forced the 167 islanders living on Bikini Atoll to leave in 1946 to enable American testing of nuclear weapons.

Over the next decade, the US tested 67 nuclear devices — 23 of them on Bikini.

Tabish Talib travelled to the Ozarks to learn how the Marshall Islanders are staying connected to their roots so far from their home and reports here for Al Jazeera.

“I feel like a nomad,” says a sixth generation representative of the Bikini Islanders in Arkansas, Sosylina Jibas-Maddison. “And it’s heartbreaking knowing there that we don’t have a home to go to.”

Marshall islanders mark Bikini Day on July 5, the day that is also remembered for the inaugural design of the swimsuit named by its French designer after the nuclear “bombshell”.

The AJ+ Reports documentary on the Marshall Islands in the US.

Cafe Pacific Publisher
Cafe Pacific Publisher
Café Pacific's duty editor.
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