Monday, 8 August 2011

Memorial of 1945 Nuclear Bombing of Japan

People gathered around the world on August 6 to promote nuclear disarmament and non-killing peace.  Friends (Quakers) hosted many events, including the one I attended in Ottawa.

This year the 66th anniversary of the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 underlines the need for a nuclear free world.
On the evening of August 6th, 2011, at Friends House (Quakers) in Ottawa, Ontario, some 50 people met to hear speeches, see short films, participate in singing, and made peace lanterns then walked to a local pond where they floated the lanterns at dusk. This was a symbolic gesture that we must not repeat a nuclear terror again and in fact we should never forget that all wars are terrible.
Ambassador Ishikawa

Featured speaker Japanese Ambassador Kaoru Ishikawa reminded us to cherish our survivors (hibakusha) of Japan's first ever nuclear disaster in 1945. Officially the US attack almost instantly killed 220,000 and led to the death from radiation of many more.

The March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami with the crippling of the Fukushima power plant, he said, has highlighted the need to 'strike a balance with Mother Nature'. Five other nuclear power plants continue to operate and provide nuclear energy to the state, but the question of its future use remains. More and more people are speaking out for the closure of the nuclear plants.

Ambassador Ishikawa especially thanked the Physicians for Global Survival (one of three organizers; along with the Quakers and Project Ploughshares) for playing a leading role in working for nuclear disarmament and for hosting the evening event.  'We need to ensure that a dark part of our history is never repeated,' he emphasized.

Yasir Naqvi, MPP Ontario
Yasir Naqvi (Member of the Legislative Assembly in Ontario) asked the question of 'What have we learned from the experience in Japan?' He noticed that the time is ripe for society to adopt a nonviolence approach to conflict. As a representative for Ottawa Centre since 2007, Yasir said:

'We are a microcosm of society. We must learn to live and trust each other. Any time we hear of negative stereotypes, let's take the time to correct them....There is more in common in us than there are differences. That will help us create a society of peace.'

Debbie Grisdale, formerly Executive Director of PGS, now with Project Ploughshares, said that 'there is no medical response to a nuclear war'. Prevention must be our central goal.  She urged Canadians to drop a note to our politicians to stop nuclear proliferation and ban its use.

Dr. Jason Bailey, Board of Directors, Physicians for Global Survial was Master of Ceremonies for the evening. He pointed out that with the rise of new technologies many times more powerful than the 1945 bombings, 'we must never let this happen today.'

Let's stop the nuclear threat. Let's stop all wars!

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