26 Jun 2013

Marshallese nuclear test campaigner subject of new book

7:05 am on 26 June 2013

A Marshallese woman who died fighting for justice for the survivors of United States nuclear weapons tests on her country's islands is the subject of a new book, written by her husband.

Darlene Keju was born on the island of Ebeye but grew up on Wotje during the post-war era of nuclear testing.

She was one of thousands of Marshall Islanders exposed to deadly radioactive fallout but it wasn't until she went to Hawaii for university that she learned the truth about the testing and how widespread it was.

Giff Johnson, the editor of the Marshall Islands Journal, was married to Darlene until her death 17 years ago at the age of 45.

He says she countered the tendency to position the people exposed to radiation and displaced from their islands, as victims.

"They're at a loss, they've had their whole life disrupted and you just think, 'victim'. Well, you know, Darlene never put that kind of attitude forth in anything she did and her thinking was always about , 'What can we do to address something?'"

Giff Johnson says the continued operation of Darlene Keju's organisation Youth to Youth In Health is testament to her vision.