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)

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