Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) – Aboriginals do not forget the continuing injustice of Maralinga nuclear bomb tests

The elderly people had talked about the Nullarbor[12] dust storm, not knowing that they had seen the fall-out from Maralinga. I knew about Maralinga and started questioning the amount of cancer deaths…..More and more people were dying of leukemia and thyroid cancer

In terms of measuring radioactivity we are totally cut off from acquiring information because it is illegal to have a Geiger counter! We are particular concerned of the uranium mining industry, exploiting sands found near the former testing site. Plutonium testing took place at the Woomera rocket range site. The place is military territory and we do not know what actually is going on there.


The Australian Nuclear Free Alliance. ANFA (http://anfa.org.au)
. “Our alliance is well connected and once a month the community leaders link up by phone and we talk about what to do next. During meetings, governmental people are absent. We have international visitors from France, Japan and so on. People from all over the world should know that we do exist, that we are humans (laughter).

THE CARETAKER AND THE PLAGUE: BRITISH NUCLEAR WEAPONS TESTING IN AUSTRALIA, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, 30 Jan 15  by Ursula Gelis Ursula Gelis, Executive director of the ‘Global Women’s Association against Nuclear Testing’ works for the rights and needs of victims of nuclear weapons explosions and nuclear testing. Her partners are in Kazakhstan and other states, affected by the long-term effects of nuclear weapons testing. At the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in December 2014[1], she interviewed an anti-nuclear activist and nuclear test victim from Australia.

The Plague column in Vienna convincingly depicts human suffering; in this case – the tragedy of the Black Death epidemic from 1679 in Austria which killed about 30 000 to 75 000 souls. A Black Death does not distinguish between a noble and a beggar, and a nuclear weapon explosion does not either.

In today’s Australia, Aboriginal communities are still suffering from European racism that came in the aftermath of Captain Cook (1770) who looked at the Aborigines as lucky people, even if they did not own many material goods!

The first inhabitants of Australia, the people who were there ab origine, from the beginning, were food-gathering and hunting people. They arrived about 50,000 years ago.[2]

From region to region, Aboriginal tribes have clear cultural distinctions and their ability to co-exist with nature in a sustainable way could serve as a paradigm for human survival.

Western cultures, still proud of their technological achievements, and apparently committed to poison and to destroy the whole Earth, should listen to indigenous civilizations in order to prevent human extinction………

In 1947 the British government decided to develop their own nuclear weapons program. “In August 1954, the Australian Cabinet agreed to the establishment of a permanent testing ground at a site that became named Maralinga, […] in southwestern South Australia.”[5]

The United Kingdom conducted 12 atmospheric tests between 1952 and 1957 on Australian territories at Maralinga, Emu Fields and Monte Bello Islands. […] During the testing period, roughly 16,000 Australian civilians and servicemen involved in the tests and 22,000 British servicemen were exposed to nuclear fallout.[6]

“Aboriginal people living downwind of the tests and other Australians more distant […] came into contact with airborne radioactivity.”[7]

“Plutonium and uranium fallout […] contaminated Aboriginal lands. Although the British government declared the Maralinga site safe following a 1967 cleanup, surveys in the 1980s proved otherwise, prompting a new cleanup project. Conflicts of interest, cost-cutting measures, shallow burials of radioactive waste, and other management “compromises” have left hundreds of square kilometers of Aboriginal lands contaminated and unfit for rehabilitation.”[8]

Civil disobedience

Sue Coleman-Haseldine (64) from the Kokatha-Mula nation is a survivor of British nuclear weapon testing and spoke at the Vienna conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons in December 2014[9]…………..

“The elderly people had talked about the Nullarbor[12] dust storm, not knowing that they had seen the fall-out from Maralinga. I knew about Maralinga and started questioning the amount of cancer deaths. This was at the time when I started my own family.

More and more people were dying of leukemia and thyroid cancer. I had doctors remove my thyroids. My grand-daughter got it as well. The official city doctors offered us a radioactive drink to kill the cancer cells but we refused. My husband has heart problems and his family members died from leukemia too. Sometimes people die from ‘unknown causes’………….

My people are still living on contaminated land, because clean-up operations were not sufficient. Before testing, we had to leave our territories. Officials told us that our displacement is for governmental purposes. We had no idea what really was going on in terms of nuclear explosions.

After testing people were sent back, for instance to a place called ‘Old Valley’ on Maralinga lands but Maralinga village was closed off. The government is now thinking to open it as a tourist site.

In terms of measuring radioactivity we are totally cut off from acquiring information because it is illegal to have a Geiger counter! We are particular concerned of the uranium mining industry, exploiting sands found near the former testing site. Plutonium testing took place at the Woomera rocket range site. The place is military territory and we do not know what actually is going on there.”……………..

The Australian Nuclear Free Alliance. ANFA (http://anfa.org.au).

“Our alliance is well connected and once a month the community leaders link up by phone and we talk about what to do next. During meetings, governmental people are absent. We have international visitors from France, Japan and so on. People from all over the world should know that we do exist, that we are humans (laughter).

We want to stop uranium mining, let us start with banning it for a year first. Then we could probably breathe better…and of course, I do not want any nuclear weapon testing. Nuclear weapons should not exist.

In order to understand our complex societies, it is best to be with us for a while. Our strong connection to the land might be valuable for you to experience. We do not own the land, the land owns us. Come over, a week is plenty of time to convert you into one of us.” http://ht.ly/I9PIj

 

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2 Responses to “Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) – Aboriginals do not forget the continuing injustice of Maralinga nuclear bomb tests”

  1. June Birch Says:

    Please could someone give me further information about it being illegal for people there to have a Geiger counter?

    • Christina MacPherson Says:

      I wish that I could supply information on this.
      This website collects and publishes news items and media releases.Generally I try to avoid republishing facts that sound as if they might not be true. And I too, wondered about that point on Geiger counters

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