AFSC Hawai’i and ‘Ohana Koa / Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific attended the Hiroshima atomic bombing commemoration in Honolulu on August 6th. The event featured Mayor Mufi Hanneman, representatives of different religious denominations, representatives from Hiroshima and an Hibakusha (nuclear survivor). The speeches talked of the horror of the atomic bombing and celebrated peace and friendship. A student from the Pacific Buddhist Academy spoke clearly to the immorality of using the atomic bomb on Japan.
However, the speeches did not address the ongoing suffering and struggles of the many other nuclear survivors: the Navajo uranium miners; the U.S. downwinders who were intentionally exposed to radiation to study the human effects; the Marshall Islanders suffering from the horrible health effects of the 67 nuclear tests the U.S. conducted in their islands, who are still struggling to win just and adequate compensation from the U.S. for their ongoing suffering and hardship. None of the speakers talked about America’s continuing policy of nuclear terrorism and the failure of the U.S. and the other nuclear powers to adhere to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty provisions calling for steady reductions of nuclear arms as the trade off for non-nuclear powers foreswearing the pursuit of nuclear arms. In May 2010, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference will meet in New York. Activists and nongovernmental organizations from around the world will convene there to push the nations to adhere to the promise of disarmament. Let us remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki and resolve “Never Again”.
The Nagasaki commemoration tomorrow should be a different affair, more grassroots and political. Marsha Joyner of the Martin Luther King Jr. Coalition has organized the Nagasaki commemoration for many years. As you can see from the article below, the tone of the commemoration in Nagasaki speaks much more clearly to the action that is needed today. We need to hold Obama to his hope to make the world nuclear weapons free. The U.S. has the most nukes. The U.S. is the only country to have used its nukes against an enemy. The U.S. must lead nuclear disarmament by example and take the world back from the precipice of nuclear annihilation.
Updated at 8:30 p.m., Saturday, August 8, 2009
Nagasaki mayor urges worldwide nuclear arms ban
TOKYO – The mayor of Nagasaki called for a global ban on nuclear arms at a ceremony marking the 64th anniversary of the devastating U.S. attack on the Japanese city that killed about 80,000 people.
In a speech given just after 11:02 a.m. – the time when a plutonium American bomb flattened Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945 – Mayor Tomihisa Taue said some progress toward eliminating nuclear weaponry had been made but more needed to be done.
He cited a speech by President Obama in April calling on the world to rid itself of atomic weapons, but also noted a nuclear test blast by North Korea in May.
“We, as human beings, now have two paths before us. While one can lead us to a world without nuclear weapons, the other will carry us toward annihilation, bringing us to suffer once again the destruction experienced in Hiroshima and Nagasaki 64 years ago,” he said.
The atomic attack on Nagasaki came three days after one on Hiroshima, in which 140,000 people were killed or died within months. Japan surrendered on Aug. 15, ending World War II.
At Sunday’s ceremony, Nagasaki observed a moment of silence at the moment of detonation 64 years earlier, while a large bell in the city’s Peace Park was rung repeatedly.
Taue invited leaders of countries possessing nuclear arms to come to Nagasaki and speak to survivors of the attack.
Prime Minister Taro Aso and other dignitaries also addressed the crowd of thousands that had assembled for the ceremony.