Pacific bombs, nuclear weapons and the Rongelap evacuation

Southern Cross trio
Author David Robie (from left), Southern Cross producer James Tapp and host Sherryl Zhang with a copy of Eyes of Fire in the 95bFM studios today. Image: 95bfm

Pacific Media Watch Newsdesk

Thirty five years ago this week in another life Pacific Media Centre director Professor David Robie was an environmental journalist on board the original Rainbow Warrior, the Greenpeace flagship that was bombed by French secret agents on 10 July 1985.

He was on board for almost 11 weeks and joined the Greenpeace campaigners in the Marshall Islands to rescue the Rongelap islanders from the legacy of US nuclear tests.

He wrote a book about this “last voyage”, Eyes of Fire, which has been published in several countries.

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Eyes of Fire book

He shared some of his reflections on Southern Cross radio at 95bFM today and also discussed latest happenings around the Pacific – including the massive “march in black” peaceful demonstration in Papua New Guinea last Thursday in memory of the young mother Jenelyn Kennedy and against gender-based violence, and the webinar exchange about the West Papuan media freedom #black hole” between Dr Robie and a senior Indonesian Foreign Affairs official.

Speaking on a webinar organised by the Tabloid Jubi newspaper in Jayapura, Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ director of the European affairs Sade Bimantara said Papua was “much more open” than credited in social media and that it was “easy” for journalists to go there.

But Dr Robie said that little had changed on the ground in Papua since the new access policy had been announced by President Widodo. No New Zealand journalists had been allowed to go there since 2015.

Southern Cross host Sherry Zhang, who is joining The Spinoff next week, and producer James Tapp were also farewelled from the programme today.

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