Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Mystery of the 1983 Vanuatu “nuclear free” girl finally solved

June Keitadi (left), now Warigini, with Del Abcede grating coconut at a chance meeting on Aneityum Island
on Christmas Day 2015. Photo by David Robie


So the mystery is finally over. In 1983, I took this photo of a young ni-Vanuatu girl at a nuclear-free Pacific rally in Independence Park, Port Vila. She was aged about five at the time.

June Keitadi with her family's "No nukes" placard
at Independence Park, Port Vila, Vanuatu,1983. 
On the left (yellow tee) is her mother Annie Weitas. 
Photo: David Robie
She was just a delightful happy painted face in the crowd that day. But her message was haunting: “Please don’t spoil my beautiful face” had quite an impact on me. When monochrome and colour versions of this photo were published in various Pacific media and magazines, a question kept tugging at my heart.

“Who is she? Where is she from and what is she doing now?”

Her placard slogan became the inspiration for my 2014 book, Don’t Spoil My Beautiful Face: Media, Mayhem and Human Rights in the Pacific, published by Little Island Press in New Zealand.

I would have loved to have named her in the book with the cover image of her. So this spurred me onto to more determined efforts to discover her identity.

First of all I posted the photo – and a Hawai’ian solidarity video that also showed the little girl, discovered by Alistar Kata – on my blog Café Pacific last October 10. Almost 1100 people viewed the blog item, but no tip-offs.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Jane Kelsey: All pain, no gain – why not a TPP-free zone?

Café Pacific
video of the TPP protest in Auckland this week by Del Abcede/PMC

OPINION: By Professor Jane Kelsey
In New Zealand, we dared to declare ourselves nuclear-free in the 1980s – dire warnings that ditching the Anzus alliance would make us a pariah, isolated and ridiculed never came to pass. Instead, we were celebrated as a small, independent nation with the guts to decide our own future. Why can’t we do the same with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)?

The National government ignored widespread opposition from ordinary New Zealanders when it signed the secretly negotiated deal. Doubtless we’ll continue to be fed the old Anzus line that New Zealand can’t afford to not to be at the table.

National’s glitzy new “TPP fact” page is bad wine repackaged in new bottles. Here’s a few facts they don’t tell you: The projected economic gains of 0.9 per cent of GDP by 2030 are within their own margin of error, even before costs are factored in and disregarding unrealistic modelling.

More than 1600 US companies, the most litigious in the world, will gain new rights they can enforce through private offshore tribunals if/when regulation damages their value or profits.

The agreement guarantees foreign states and corporations a right of input into regulatory decisions, which Maori, trade unions, small businesses and local government would not have.

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