Flag of Bikini Atoll
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The flag of Bikini Atoll, a member of the Marshall Islands, is a flag closely resembling the flag of the United States and was adopted in 1987. The flag is symbolic of the islanders' belief that a great debt is still owed by the United States to the people of Bikini because in 1954 the United States government detonated the Castle Bravo H-bomb on the island, poisoning islanders and others with nuclear fallout.
The 23 white stars in the canton of the flag represent the 23 islands of Bikini Atoll. The three black stars in the upper right represent the three islands that were disfigured in March 1954 during 15-megaton Bravo test by the United States. The two black stars in the lower right corner represent where the Bikinians live now, Kili Island, 425 miles to the south of Bikini Atoll, and Ejit Island of Majuro Atoll. These two stars are symbolically far away from Bikini's stars on the flag as the islands are in real life (both in distance and quality of life). The Marshallese language words on the bottom of the flag, "MEN OTEMJEJ REJ ILO BEIN ANIJ" (in the new orthography, "MEN WŌTŌMJEJ REJ ILO PEIN ANIJ"), reportedly represent the words spoken in 1946 by the Bikinian leader, Juda, to U.S. Commodore Ben Wyatt when the American went to Bikini to ask the islanders to give up their islands for the 'good of all mankind' for nuclear weapons testing. They translate as "Everything is in the hands of God."
The similarity to the American flag design and the striking isolation of the 3-star group and the 2-star group represent the belief of the islanders that the Government of the United States still has obligations to their people, including reparations for the nuclear testing and resettlement of the Bikinians who were exiled.
- Niedenthal, Jack. "Bikini Atoll Resource Page". Retrieved 2008-04-01.