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In memory of Rainbow Warrior



A file picture of the Greenpeace flagship SV Rainbow Warrior.

On July 10, 1985, Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior was sunk by two bomb blasts in the heart of Auckland, New Zealand, killing Portuguese photographer Fernando Pereira. The bombing of the Rainbow Warrior, said to be "an act of state-sponsored terrorism," shocked the world.

Twenty years on, Greenpeace activists across the world look back on the bombing of the Greenpeace flagship by French secret service agents. A Karinthalakootam performance will be staged in Kochi from a `changadam' with a formation of traditional Kerala `vanjis' around it. The waterfront near Rainbow Bridge at Marine Drive will be the venue.

"After the 1985 bombing, `You can't sink a Rainbow' became the new Greenpeace slogan. A second Rainbow Warrior was launched in 1989 to replace the bombed boat.

The new sailing vessel sailed to Moruroa in 1992, prompting France to join a moratorium on nuclear tests. It sailed there again in 1995 after newly elected French President Jacques Chirac sparked global outrage by resuming testing," says Ananthapadmanabhan, executive director, Greenpeace India.

Joined by Tahitian protestors and a convoy of protest yachts, the Rainbow Warrior's 1995 protests triggered unprecedented opposition around the world. France finally stopped nuclear testing in early 1996 and closed the test site. The four other nuclear powers also stopped testing and signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) at the United Nations in September 1996.

"Together with our friends, allies and supporters, we invite you to join us as we salute the indomitable spirit of the Rainbow Warrior and pay tribute to Fernando Pereira, our colleague who was killed during the bombing," says Ananthapadmanabhan.

Fernando Pereira was a Portuguese whose father was a senior army officer. He left his country at a time when avoiding the draft was an offence that carried the death penalty in Portugal. Mr. Pereira ended up in Amsterdam where he became an asylum seeker and found work as a freelance photographer.

It was after covering Greenpeace campaigns in Europe that he joined the `Nuclear Free Pacific' tour of the Rainbow Warrior in 1985.

G. Krishnakumar

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