Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

My Photo
Name:
Location: Bath, Maine, United States

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

WORDS FROM HIROSHIMA

Yesterday I scurried from one event to another in Hiroshima. I first attended another international conference, this one put on by the Social Democrats. There I was given ten minutes to make a presentation to 75 people on the issues of concern to the Global Network. While there I listened to the voices of activists from Japan, South Korea, China, and the US.

Following that four-hour event I made my way across town to a larger event of about 250 people who were from all over Japan. They seemed to be from many different local peace groups in the country, each giving their local reports on their work. After they were finished I heard an impressive presentation on the US history of using, and threatening to use, nuclear weapons from 1945 to the present by Professor Peter Kaznic from American University in Washington DC. He has brought a group of his students to Japan for these days of remembrance. Following his talk I was introduced and asked to say a few words about the Global Network.

Today I gave a five-minute speech at a large indoor rally of about 3,000 during the middle of the day and then in the evening I did a full speech before a about 80 people at the meeting of the Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition (HANWA).

I got to spend a few minutes attending the lantern ceremony in Hiroshima this evening. They say the lanterns are to ease the spirits of those who jumped into the river after the US bombing in order to relieve their burning bodies. It occurred to me that the beautiful ceremony also soothes the souls of us living today in the midst of the nuclear arms race and endless wars.

Early in the morning I take the train for Nagasaki where I will be speaking at the Mayors for Peace Convention.

While I was at the meeting last night a man handed me a leaflet he had written headlined "The 2009 Citizens Peace Declaration." Come to find out he is the same man that translated my talk this evening at the HANWA event. I was so impressed with it that I want to share just a couple of paragraphs from it with you.


By Yuki Tanaka, PhD
Hiroshima City University

Early this year, when President Obama was inaugurated into the White House, there was great anticipation among the American people that positive change may finally be possible. On April 5, in his speech in Prague [Czech Republic], Obama said: "As the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the US has a moral responsibility to act." Many people in the world, in particular in Hiroshima, felt these words gave reason to hope for the abolition of nuclear weapons. We must remember however, that in the same speech Obama also said, "As long as these weapons exist, the US will maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal to deter any adversary." In other words, he intends to reduce the number of nuclear weapons worldwide in order to prevent terrorists from obtaining them, but also wishes to maintain the US's nuclear deterrent against Russia and China.

Regrettably, the Japanese government clearly exposes its self-contradiction on nuclear issues. While it claims that as the only nation that has experienced nuclear attacks, it supports the idea of the "ultimate abolition of nuclear weapons," it contradictorily justifies and supports the US's "expanded deterrence," but strongly condemns China's nuclear policy at the same time. Recently, it was revealed that the Japanese government violated its own Three Non-nuclear Principles by secretly agreeing to allow the US government to bring nuclear weapons into Japanese territory. Yet unashamedly, the Japanese cabinet members as well as high-officials are still denying the existence of such an agreement, despite ample evidence to the contrary.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home