Monday, July 30, 2012

Documentary Nuclear Savage: The Islands of Secret Project 4.1, August 5, and 2012 Shadow Project remembering Hiroshima.

The Melwood Screening Room in Oakland (map) will show the 2011 documentary Nuclear Savage: The Islands of Secret Project 4.1M on Sunday, August 5, at 6:00 pm. A Huffington Post review summarizes:
Nuclear Savage is the story of what we did to the Marshall Islanders throughout the Cold War with our nuclear testing program. Not only did we expose many thousands of them to ghastly -- often lethal -- levels of radiation with 67 nuclear blasts, with glaring evidence that at least some of the exposure was intentional, done for the purpose of studying the effects of radiation on human guinea pigs; not only did we wreck the Marshall Islanders' way of life and pristine paradise, creating a nation of internal refugees confined to a Western-style slum on the island of Ebeye; not only did we cower, as a nation, from any real responsibility for what our fallout did to these people, settling our genocidal debt to them with $150 million "for all claims, past, present and future"; but also, throughout our dealing with them as nuclear conquistadors, we displayed a racism so profound, so cold-blooded, its exposure must forever shatter the myth of American exceptionalism.
The screening, says the website,
will be preceded by shadow-making and followed by live exchange via skype with peace activists from Kobe, Japan.
One of the co-sponsors of the evening is the local Remembering Hiroshima Pittsburgh group, which will organize shadow-making around the city leading up to the August 6th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Not shadow puppets, as I first read it, but chalk outlines to represent the casualties of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings and the effect a nuclear blast has on the people it instantly vaporizes.

Hamilton, ON, 2011, via The Hamilton Spectator.

In previous autumns (2009, 2011) Pittsburgh has held a lot of other pacifist events to mark the bombings, although no details are out yet about 2012 (summers are very slow at local universities). These programs are small but very encouraging, as the US does not currently have a significant peace movement, or an appetite for honest reflection about its fascination with war. More troubling is how unpopular and even dangerous it is to speak out against war, current militaristic attitudes, or banal militarism in "for the troops" marketing and public rhetoric that honor those who continue to shape the world with weapons.