Pacific Women Speak Out for Independence and Denuclearisation

Edited by Zohl dé Ishtar


Pacific Women Speak Out is a collection of stories of resistance against incredible odds, stories of survival.

Indigenous women speak to us from Aotearoa (New Zealand), Australia, Belau (Palau), Bougainville, East Timor, Ka Pae'aina (Hawai'i), Marshall Islands, Te Ao Maohi (French Polynesia) and West Papua (Irian Jaya).

They tell of the impacts of invasion and war, nuclear weapons systems, nuclear testing, militarisation, human rights abuses, sexism, tourism, non-Indigenous settlement, mining, industrialisation, imposed economic dependency and all the manifestations of colonisation.

Despite all this violence, Indigenous women have maintained a strength and a compassion that come from their people's ancient connection with the land and water that have sustained them since the beginning of time. These women are sharing their stories here in a bid to break the silence that has concealed the violations. The hope is that as people around the world learn what is happening in the Pacific they will be inspired to stand beside them, to act. As Pacific peoples reclaim their inalienable sovereign rights, and determine to protect their lands and oceans from the myriad forms of racism, they are inviting us to join them.

The task is nothing less than leading the world back from the abyss of nuclear annihilation, environmental destruction, and military domination.

Covering half the Earth's surface, the Pacific is the home of 32 countries, and many more nations. And, although many nations are small, they are united in their determination to recreate an independent and nuclear free Pacific. They are empowered by the knowledge that they walk in the footsteps of their ancestors and are responsible for the future generations.

We hope that you can take up their challenge, not least because one thing is certain - until the Pacific is decolonised it will never be demilitarised; and until the Pacific is demilitarised we are all held to ransom.

This book is a contribution to the Hague Appeal for Peace, a global campaign to de-legitimize war. It arises from our concern that Indigenous Pacific women are rarely heard in the wider international arena and is an attempt to make their wisdom more available.

We hope that it will become a source of information into the new millenium, and that it will, in particular, encourage the younger generations to pick up the struggle. Any profits from the sale of this book will go into a trust fund to help support the work of Pacific women.