A heart-wrenching poem about radioactive racism and the long quest for peace and justice, written and spoken by ICAN campaigner Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner of the Marshall Islands, where the United States conducted 67 nuclear test explosions. Produced by PREL, written by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner (www.facebook.com/kathyjetnilkijiner) and directed by Dan Lin (www.facebook.com/danlinphotography)
I honour and respect the work of Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, especially in her campaigns for justice in the Pacific Islands. This is a powerful message that needs to be shared. Please share.
Through the postings from Culture-Talk, a newsletter on Pacific cultural affairs, I came across this story from one of Pacific Islands’ great storytellers and poet, Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner. I personally did not attend this year’s Festival of Pacific Arts , but I have in the past participated in several events and share the same belief that it remains one of the most sacred festivals of the Pacific islanders and must be protected at all cost. Some readers here may remember Kathy’s poem on climate change I posted here in September 2014.“Dear Matafele Peinem”, a poem Kathy wrote for her seven month old baby moved world leaders during the UN Climate Summit in New York.
Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, acclaimed poet and activist from the Marshall Islands: “This past May I was one of thousands of islanders who flew into Guåhan for the annual Festival of Pacific Arts, alongside the delegation from the Marshall Islands, which rolled more than a hundred deep with Chiefs, weavers, dancers, dignitaries, Tobolar coconut businessmen, canoe builders, and tourism representatives (amongst others).
The festival was an amazing, transformative experience. There was always an event, performance, demonstration or something to see at any point. And if I wasn’t at one of these, then I hung out at the “Chamorro Village” – the center for FestPac that was surrounded with food stands, a stadium and newly built hut-like concrete booths for all of the different Pacific cultures or countries represented. The Marshallese booth was constantly overcrowded with shoppers. It burst with rainbowed Marshallese earrings, yawning woven flowers, an array of fans and fine mats, fashionable hats and just-woven headbands. Each display overlooked by smiling women undoubtedly weaving, talking story, debating prices, and every once in a while breaking out in a dance to the music floating in from the stadium.”
Marshall Islands Poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner promises to protect her seven-month-old baby and what it means to fight for her heritage in light of sea level rise and the ultimate loss of her cultural identity. Click the link below to watch her presentation to UN and listen to her poem, “Dear Matafele Peinem”.
Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner presents her poem Dear Matafele Peinem to the UN Climate Summit. Vision from UN.
The UN Climate Summit has been graced by the likes of actor Leonardi DiCaprio and US President Barack Obama, but the haunting words of a young mother from a tiny Pacific Island nation have made the most lasting impression.
Spoken-word poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, 26, from the Marshall Islands, was just one of four people chosen from 544 nominees to address the opening of the UN Climate Summit in New York.
In front of an audience of 120 state dignitaries, Jetnil-Kijiner performed a poem she wrote for her seven-month-old daughter, in which she promises to protect the child from the threat of climate change, which she says world leaders are ignoring.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/poet-brings-world-leaders-to-tears-at-un-climate-summit-20140925-10lq5x.html#ixzz3EPnPtJvf