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Stewie Mudcat Australia/NZ Songbook (993* d) RE: Rise Up Mudcat Songbook - Australia 12 Dec 20


Way out on the ocean, blue Pacific sea
Lay some coral islands
Once were free
Gentle people lived there by lagoon and restless palm
Open hearts and easy smiles
Knew no harm

No long distance liners ever came to call
Once a year, a freighter
If at all
They never knew of Hitler or the world at war outside
Nagasaki, Hiroshima
Or how many, many died

As always in a battle, only the leaders choose
It’s the innocent who suffer
And who really lose
And, for these lovely islands, misfortune cast the die
As spoils of war they fell
Under the Eagle’s eye

But the Eagle was not contented with her victory hour
She coveted, at any cost
The greatest power
So she built another weapon that was bigger than before
Even though she had already
Won the war

And to these hapless islands, the Eagle brought her bomb
And she built an iron tower
To explode it from
And as the wind blew steady, and as the sea shone gold
The sun it burst in unison
A hundredfold

The frightened island people did not understand
That they were all a part
Of the Eagle’s plan
They saw the ashes falling and they thought that it was snow
And they watched their children play
Among its deadly glow

From Paul Metsers 'Fifth Quarter'. Sleeve note:

After the end of the 2nd World War, the Marshall Islands, a remote chain of coral atolls in the north-west Pacific, were part of the territory designated to be held in trust by the United States, presumably until the political climate in the area was considered to have stabilised. By 1954, the USA had developed the largest atomic bomb to date and had decided to use the northern part of this entrusted area as a test site.

On the day set for the test, weather reports advised that the prevailing winds would carry fallout to the inhabited island of Rongelap, in the southern part of the Marshall chain. In spite of this, it was nevertheless decided to continue with the explosion. Meteorologists, present at the time and interviewed later, were among the many who concluded that the Rongelap people were deliberately exposed to determine the effects of fallout on humans.

After the explosion, the ash of the molten coral from the test site rained down on Rongelap for three days and the islanders, who had received no prior warning, soon began to suffer the effects of radiation poisoning and burns. This lamentable state of affairs continued to plague the islanders and for the next thirty years they suffered on their ruined land while their parliamentary representative, Jeton Anjain, tried valiantly but unsuccessfully to elicit aid and compensation from the Americans, who generously built a supermarket on the island and sold the people tinned (uncontaminated) food.

Finally, Anjain turned to Greenpeace and it is a shaft of light in the dark tunnel of the ruthlessness of powerful governments that the last act of Greenpeace’s flagship, the “Rainbow Warrior”, before she was bombed in New Zealand by the French security service,
was to transport these diseased and suffering islanders to a new home, the island of Mejato, some 120 miles away.

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