‘John is a savage, but a happy, amenable savage.’
–1950’s U.S. newsreel footage of Marshall Islanders and the nuclear tests
Nuclear Savage – The Islands of Secret Project 4.1, is a powerful documentary film produced recently by former Greenpeace activist Adam Jonas Horowitz in collaboration with the American public television network PBS and the Kindle Project. It is a heartbreaking and intimate ethnographic portrait of Pacific Islanders struggling for dignity and survival after decades of intentional radiation poisoning at the hands of the American government.
‘Nuclear Savage opens up one of the hidden horrors of American history – analogous to our history of slavery, lynching and Jim Crow – but perpetrated on the far side of the world with nuclear weapons.’ – Robert Koehler, Chicago Tribune
Nuclear Savage shows the devastating consequences of nuclear weapons on the people of the Marshall Islands – an experience which has led this tiny country to recently take on the powerful nuclear weapon States in the International Court of Justice for their lack of compliance with nuclear disarmament obligations.
The video is receiving rave reviews in media and awards film festivals including Paris-Fife, Chicago POEFF, Cinema Planeta Mexico and Amsterdam IDFA.
Relying on recently declassified U.S. government documents,devastating survivor testimony, and incredible unseen archival footage, this untold and true detective story reveals how U.S. scientists turned a Pacific paradise into a radioactive hell. Marshall islanders were used as human guinea pigs for three decades to study the effects of nuclear fallout on human beings with devastating results.
John, the ‘happy savage’, is actually John Anjain, the former mayor of Rongelap Atoll. In the video John talks about his thyroid cancer, the thyroid cancer of three of his children and the death of another of his children fro leukemia. Rongelap Atoll is now uninhabitable due to residual radiation from the nuclear tests 200 miles away.
Between 1946 and 1958 the United States tested 67 nuclear weapons above ground on or near Bikini and Enewetok atolls. One hydrogen bomb was 1000 times larger than the Hiroshima bomb. Entire islands were vaporized and populated islands were blanketed with fallout. As the film shows, the heavily exposed people of Rongelap were then enrolled as human subjects in the top-secret Project 4.1 and evacuated to a severely contaminated island to study the effects of eating radioactive food for nearly 30 years. Many of the Marshall Islanders developed cancers and had babies that were stillborn or with serious birth defects.
“The term ‘savage’ is used to refer to people from primitive cultures, but this documentary shows how savagery reaches new levels with the advent of advanced technology. …Without incredible archival footage and shocking secret documents, the story would seem unbelievable.”
– Film Society, Lincoln Center
Nuclear Savage is a follow-up to Adam Horowitz’s ground-breaking 1989 documentary ‘Home on the Range’ about nuclear testing and missile testing in the Marshall Islands.
For more information see www.nuclearsavage.com
To purchase the video contact Adam Horowitz, [email protected] Cost US$20 + $12 for international postage
See also: Nuclear Exodus: The Rongelap Evacuation (11 minute video)