Don’t Ever Whisper (Biography of Darlene Keju)

darlene_coverby Giff Johnson, published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (June 17, 2013) via

You may also read more about the book at its website

This biography “tells the powerful story of a woman from a tiny Pacific island who championed the cause of nuclear weapons test survivors when others were silent, and who later implemented unparalleled community health programs and services that gave hope to a generation of troubled youth. Don’t Ever Whisper is the stirring account of Marshall Islander Darlene Keju’s struggle to gain an American education despite disadvantages of language and resources, and to use that education first to expose to the world a United States government cover up of its nuclear weapons testing program in her islands, and later to inspire young Marshall Islanders to make changes in their personal behavior to transform the health of their communities. Darlene remained ignorant for decades about the cancer-causing radioactive fallout that rained down on her and thousands of unsuspecting islanders. But she used her American education to pierce the veil of secrecy shrouding the U.S. government’s hydrogen bomb tests at Bikini and Enewetak atolls in the 1950s.

“Darlene took to a global stage at the World Council of Churches Assembly in Canada to tell the world about the health impact of these nuclear tests, and of the U.S. Army’s discrimination against Marshall Islanders at its missile-testing base at Kwajalein Atoll. A U.S. Ambassador accused her of creating “nauseating propaganda.” But secret U.S. nuclear test-era documents that have come to light in recent years — and are detailed in this biography — document the U.S. government’s deliberate concealment of the true story behind the conduct of its nuclear weapons tests. Don’t Ever Whisper also tells the inspiring story of Darlene’s further transformation to educational innovator, whose community health programs had far-reaching effects in her Pacific nation. Through Youth to Youth in Health, a non-government organization Darlene pioneered, she went to bat for marginalized young people, a largely ignored population with little hope, low self-esteem, and a penchant for expressing their frustrations by suicide and other anti-social behavior. As told in Don’t Ever Whisper, Darlene empowered women, young people, and their communities to take control of their own health and economic well being through work that was praised as a model for the Pacific by the U.S. Public Health Service, the United Nations Population Fund, and other international organizations.”

[Giff Johnson (widower of the late Darlene Keju) lives on Majuro Atoll and is Editor of the Marshall Islands Journal. Some of the documents related to nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands are held (as microfilm) in the collection of the Pacific Manuscripts Bureau at the ANU.]

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