Tribune. On May 27, 2021, President Emmanuel Macron recognized France’s responsibility for the genocide of the Tutsi, in the “land of a thousand hills”. At the same time, thousands of kilometers from the metropolis, children of the Republic are waiting their turn in the queue of recognition of the past. The hour when the hopes of the Polynesian people will be recognized has finally arrived. This platform is a cry from the heart to recall France’s moral obligation towards her children from all over the world, even the most distant.
From 1966 to 1996, 193 atomic bombs exploded in the Polynesian sky. These nuclear experiments carried out by the French government have led to numerous cancers in the population of the region’s atolls. 170,000 people were exposed to harmful radiation during the Centaur trial, carried out in 1974. Twenty-three cancers were admitted as deriving directly from this trial. Hundreds of other people are exposed with the Aldebaran test, in 1966, or the Enceladus test, in 1971.
The invisibility of these diseases does not allow the blindness of political leaders. Polynesians deserve to be listened to and recognized for their suffering. Remembering the health and environmental impacts left by nuclear radiation is to fight indifference. In recent years, the French Republic has been able to strengthen its duty to remember to recreate bridges between groups fractured by history.
For the recognition of the sufferings of the Polynesians
But we can go further. It is for this reason that July 2, 1966, the date of the first aerial nuclear test on Mururoa atoll, in the Polynesian archipelago, must have a special resonance in the collective memory. The wounds of the Polynesian people were hollowed out not only by disease but also by a fate they had not chosen. Polynesia needs to see its suffering recognized and to regain consideration on the part of our whole society.
The time for healing has come. The present must remember the past in order to be able to build an enlightened and just future. Let us dare to make transparency and truth triumph over ignorance and indifference. We have the choice. Do we want to make this tragedy a fatality or are we ready to revitalize our diversity, by transmitting democratic values and encouraging respect for the human person?
You have 27.65% of this article to read. The rest is for subscribers only.