Tuesday, April 28, 2015

"Two nuclear weapons hit our country in 1945. It is not necessary."

"Two nuclear weapons hit our country in 1945. It is not necessary."
This note from Oda Ryohei, Kobe City of Technology, was one of hundreds of
personal messages from college students throughout Japan distributed to
participants in the Peace and Planet rally in New York City, April 26, 2015.
by Joe Scarry

I returned from the Peace and Planet events in New York City with a stack of materials to follow up on.

One piece of paper said it all.

It was a half-sheet printed mainly in Japanese. It was handed to me by Japanese students with a backpack. In the backpack were hundreds of these half-sheets, each one with a handwritten message from someone in Japan. The one they handed me said:

Two nuclear weapons hit our country in 1945. It is not necessary.
Oda Ryohei, Kobe City of Technology

Out of the many experiences I had in New York, all relating to the call for the total elimination of nuclear weapons, the one that remains at the front of my mind is the imbalance between the massive outpouring from people in Japan and the general lack of attention from people here in the US.

It was most evident at the rally on Sunday, April 26. There were at least a thousand people who had flown in especially from Japan to demonstrate strenuously for nuclear disarmament. Union Square was filled with their colorful banners, signs, outfits, and costumes. They came bearing eight million (8,000,000!) signatures on a petition to the assembled NPT RevCon participants to act now for the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

Yes, there were local US people present, too. But I thought to myself, "What must these people who came all the way from Japan be thinking? How do they explain to themselves the huge number of US people who simply can't be bothered to think about the nuclear threat?"

How can people in Chicago work to bring US people of conscience out into the open to work for nuclear disarmament?

Taniguchi Sumiteru, nuclear bomb survivor and activist, speaking to the press.
(Japanese media outlets mobbed his appearances and followed him throughout the weekend;
I saw no sign that U.S. outlets grasped the profound nature of his presence in NYC.)

Buddhist monks participating in the Interfaith Convocation at
Tillman Chapel, across from the United Nations, on April 26.
(The organizers encourage us all to use the materials available,
including the 2010 Interfaith Convocation Program and excerpts
from this year’s liturgy, to raise the call for peace in your 
faith communities.")

I posed with this group who had come from Osaka with their colorful 
NO NUKES! banner and their Godzilla costumes. (They were excited to learn
that Chicago and Osaka are sister cities! Perhaps an opportunity for collaboration?)

Japanese attendees at the Peace and Planet rally carry a banner reading
"No more Hiroshima! Nagasaki!" and bearing the image of the A-Bomb
Dome in the Peace Park in Hiroshima.

Representatives of Zenkyo (All-Japan Federation of Teachers’ and Staff Unions)
and Gensuikyo (Japan Council Against the Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs) with
their banners at the Peace and Planet rally in Union Square on April 26.

THIS is what 8 million petition signatures looks like!


Email jtscarry [at] yahoo.com to
get involved in activities of the
Chicago Nuclear Injury Action Group.

Related posts

Hundreds gathered in Chicago on Good Friday 2015 to say to the victims of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, "We can hear you are in pain. We can smell your injuries. We don't have the power to restore your health. But we will NOT forget you."

(See "People Will Find the Way to Eliminate Nuclear Injury")

Sixty-seven years ago tonight, morning in Japan, a single B-29 dropped the first atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima. This incredible blast destroyed most of the city and killed over 60,000 people almost immediately. Another 80,000 more died in subsequent months and years from the deadly radiation.

(See Our Dark Beacon: Prayer Vigil for Hiroshima and Nagasaki (August 5, 2012)

I never quite understood how much of a Chicago story the Bomb and opposition to it really is. I can think of at least three reasons why people right here in Chicago -- today -- need to make themselves heard about nuclear disarmament . . .

(See Unfinished Business in Chicago (Nuclear disarmament, that is) on the Scarry Thoughts blog)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Why Does Chicago Need a "Nuclear Injury Action Group"?

Burns on victim of U.S. nuclear bombing
of Japan in August, 1945, show the way
the print on her kimono was seared into
her flesh. (Image: Wikipedia)
Chicago Nuclear Injury Action Group is an organization formed in 2015. We have identified four needs:

* raise to visibility the abundant facts concerning the harms of nuclear use for weapons and energy production

* reverse the de-sensitization of the public to the reality of nuclear violence

* re-direct the discourse from "nuclear protects us" to "nuclear hurts us"

* from the standpoint of "risk psychology," help the public accurately assess, and appropriately
mitigate, the true risk inherent in nuclear weapons and nuclear power

CNIAG seeks to emphasize the power of multiple disciplines and fields to address these needs. The group sees important opportunities for engagement in the months ahead, including:

We welcome participants! Please contact:

Joe Scarry
jtscarry [at] yahoo.com

Related information

I never quite understood how much of a Chicago story the Bomb and opposition to it really is. I can think of at least three reasons why people right here in Chicago -- today -- need to make themselves heard about nuclear disarmament . . .

(See Unfinished Business in Chicago (Nuclear disarmament, that is) on the Scarry Thoughts blog)

The Atomic Age is an ongoing project that aims to cultivate critical and reflective intervention regarding nuclear power and weapons. We provide daily news updates on the issues of nuclear energy and weapons, primarily though not exclusively in English and Japanese.

(See The Atomic Age website)

Nuclear power represents 48% of the electrical power in Illinois . . . . Our state legislators are considering granting Exelon, the parent company of Commonwealth Edison, a subsidy of about $580 million a year to continue to keep their nuclear plants operating well into the future.

(See CAPA’s Toolkit for Reducing Carbon Emissions & Increasing Renewable Energy in Illinois on the Chicago Area Peace Action website)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Good Friday 2015: People Will Find the Way to Eliminate Nuclear Injury

Good Friday 2015 Walk for Justice in downtown Chicago:
Remembering the 70th anniversary year of the atomic
bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States.
(Image courtesy FJJ.)

Our new group participated in the April 3, 2015, Good Friday Justice Walk sponsored every year by the 8th Day Center for Justice in Chicago.

This year's theme was "Give Light and People Will Find the Way." We hosted Station 6: "Falling."

Below is our prayer, followed by references about the sources we used.

Reader 1: The 70th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki falls this year. Despite the facts of nuclear injury -- which are undisputed and taught in every school – we allow our government to maintain an arsenal of nuclear weapons on alert, capable of destroying the world at the flip of a switch.

Why do we allow this?

Is it that we don't know? Or that we are unwilling to see?

Response (all): Awaken our hearts. Give us hearts capable of seeing.

from Hiroshima No Pika
Reader 1: The testimony of thousands of people about the reality of atomic bombing is preserved in books, art, and film. These materials are available in every library in the United States. Listen to these words from popular children's books . . . .

Reader 2: "There were crowds of people fleeing the fire. Mii saw children with their clothes burned away, lips and eyelids swollen. They were like ghosts, wandering about, crying in weak voices. Some people, all their strength gone, fell face down on the ground, and others fell on top of them. There were heaps of people everywhere."

[p. 14, Hiroshima No Pika [The Flash of Hiroshima], by Toshi Maruki]

Response (all): We see you have fallen. We don't have the strength to lift you up. But we will not turn our backs on you.

Reader 3: "Every school became a hospital for the badly injured. I heard people screaming and moaning in pain, and there was a horrible smell of burnt skin."

[p. 24, My Hiroshima, by Junko Morimoto]

Response (all): We can hear you are in pain. We can smell your injuries. We don't have the power to restore your health. But we will NOT forget you.

Shin's Tricycle
Reader 4: "I stumbled over our fallen house and found Mother digging in the rubble. There was Shin, pinned under a big beam. He was too weak to talk but his hand still held the red handlebar grip from his tricycle. That night he died, ten days before his fourth birthday."

[p. 15-20, Shin's Tricycle, by Tatsuharu Kodama; Noriyuki Ando, ill. ]

Response (all): We will keep Shin's tricycle. We will remember Shin.

Reader 2: "Mii watched as her mother examined her father. 'He's hurt badly,' she said. She untied the sash from her kimono and wrapped it around her husband's body as a bandage. Then she did something amazing. She lifted him onto her back and, taking Mii by the hand, started running."

Response (people on the right): Who will lift us up?
Response (people on the left): We are living in the dust of the nuclear threat.
Response (all): Help us lift each other up, for we cannot rise alone from the dust.

Response (people on the right): How will we see the way?
Response (people on the left): The truth has been hidden by smoke and ash.
Response (all): Give light and people will find the way.

Reader 4: "Maybe if enough people could see Shin's tricycle, they would remember that the world should be a peaceful place where children can play and laugh."

[p. 30, Shin's Tricycle]

Response (all): Thank you, Tatsuharu Kodama, for giving light. The people will find the way.

Junko Morimoto
Reader 3: "War, the atomic bomb . . . They are the crimes of adults who forget the precious value of life. I believe it is the duty and the responsibility of adults to teach our children the importance of not repeating these mistakes and to give them the heart to care for and value all life on earth."

[afterward, My Hiroshima]

Response (all): Thank you, Junko Morimoto, for giving light. The people will find the way.

Reader 2: "Every year on August 6 the people of Hiroshima inscribe the names of loved ones who died because of the bomb on lanterns. The lanterns are lit and set adrift on the seven rivers that flow through Hiroshima. The rivers flow slowly to the sea, carrying the lanterns in memory of those who died."

Response (all): Thank you, people of Hiroshima, for giving light. The people will find the way.

Annual commemoration of the bombing of Hiroshima.

About Hiroshima No Pika [The Flash of Hiroshima], by Toshi Maruki

Hiroshima No Pika on Amazon

Maruki Toshi (1912-2000) and Maruki Iri (1901-1995)

Maruki Gallery for the Hiroshima Panels

About Shin's Tricycle, by Tatsuharu Kodama (Noriyuki Ando, ill.)

Shin's Tricycle on Amazon

Shin's tricycle in the Hiroshima Peace Museum

About My Hiroshima, by Junko Morimoto

My Hiroshima on Amazon

"80 year old artist paints the horror of atomic bombing live"

Related posts

There are many books proffered to children that provide justifications for the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The discourse on the use of atomic weapons is certainly a worthy topic of study for young people of a certain age. However, there is a distinction between critical reading of atom bombing history and passive receiving of atom bombing dogma. I am wondering about how this can be effectively broken down.

(See Approaching Hiroshima: A Challenge for Children's Literature and Peace Education on Scarry Thoughts)

"Inhumane treatment of young men and boys, arrests under cover of night, unjust torture while in police custody, missing husbands and brothers and sons, children stripped of internationally agreed upon human rights. For these Palestinian boys and men, we weep with the women."

(See Palestine: The Women Weep (34th Annual 8th Day Good Friday Justice Walk) on WGME Chicago)

On Good Friday 2014 (April 18), members of the Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo participated in the 34th annual 8th Day Center Good Friday Justice Walk. The theme for the walk was "We who believe in freedom cannot rest!" and this certainly resonated with the work of the Coalition.

(See "We who believe in freedom cannot rest!" (Shut Down Guantanamo!) on Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo)