[Civil Beat, The Micronesians] The Odyssey of Jonithen Jackson
This “nuclear nomad” just wants to go home. Except home is a contaminated atoll 2,000 miles away.
OCTOBER 19, 2015 · BY
Jonithen Jackson is running for mayor of a tiny coral atoll that he has not lived on for almost 25 years.
It’s called Enewetak, and it’s in the Marshall Islands in the Central Pacific Ocean. It’s a narrow, circular necklace of about 40 islets located more than 2,000 miles from where Jackson now lives in Hawaii.
But the detonation of 43 nuclear devices there by the United States in the 1940s and 1950s made Enewetak a very dangerous place to live. One explosion — the first hydrogen bomb test in 1952, part of Operation Ivy and code-named Mike — removed one of Enewetak’s islands from the face of the Earth.
As with its better known Marshall Islands neighbor, Bikini, where 23 bombs were detonated, a look at color maps of the island groups today reveals several circles of deep blue — bomb craters — alongside the normally green, brown and white atolls.
Please visit Civil Beat‘s special report, The Micronesians, Chapter 3 on the islanders affected by the nuclear tests.