Since the middle of the 20th century, many countries have enrolled themselves in a race to develop the best, most lethal, and most effective atomic and nuclear weaponry.
It is like a country has to come up with a better weapon before the other country that is trying to come up with a better weapon before the other country, and so on and so forth.
This urge to create such deadly tools has come with different conflicts, social, political, and environmental, and it has even cost the lives of many people. In fact, France once decided to bomb a civilian ship because of that pursuit.
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, And Explosions
It was 1960 when France detonated the “Blue Jerboa”, their first atomic bomb. At the time, they were the fourth nation to do so after the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain. First, they tested their bombs in Algeria, but when the country declared its independence in 1962, they moved their testing ground to French Polynesia.
Since the testing for the atomic bomb generated massive contamination at Moruroa and other islands with Plutonium and other radioactive compounds, environmentalists started to protest the testings with great vehemence.
Governments such as New Zealand – which had a nuclear-free campaign for the south Pacific – also protested heavily against France’s experiments in the area. In the 1970s, Greenpeace was recently formed and took this movement as one of their main flags.
After some pressure, especially from Greenpeace, testing was moved underground in 1975. However, that wasn’t enough for the environmentalists.
The underground blasts caused a significant fracture of the basal and coral foundations of the island and in 1979, there was an accident that ended up with a bomb exploding at only 400 meters underwater, setting of an underwater landslide and tsunami that injured six people.
In 1985, after the French Government refused to stop the nuclear testing, Greenpeace moved a ship towards Moruroa to force them to stop with what they were doing there. The response of France’s Government was to get a group of spies within the people that lived on Greenpeace’s ship. Nine agents participated in the operation that had the objective to plant a couple of mines in the ship’s hull.
On August 10, 19985, the bombs went off. The plan was to just damage the ship, not the people, but they couldn’t prevent the death of some of the crew in the Rainbow Warrior, Greenpeace’s ship.
It first was ruled out as an accident, but it turned out that the spies were very sloppy and left traces everywhere, so they were quickly identified. Only two of the agents involved paid some time in jail. The other seven never faced justice.
The worst part of this was that this event didn’t stop Greenpeace’s protests in the area, but it also didn’t stop France to keep doing tests, like there was no way that they could learn that what they were doing could be wrong in some way.